Music & Culture Ambassador Of Mississippi, Ride Records (MS, US)
Steve is a hit songwriter, recording artist, and music producer. He has released seven critically acclaimed studio albums, a recipient of three coveted BMI Million-Air awards. The hit single "Sunshine" (also a #1 video) and the album Slide On Over Here were featured in the 2011 "Oprah's Favorite Things" edition of OMagazine. The Steve Azar & The Kings Men album titled Down At The Liquor Store is backed by veteran bandmates of B.B.King, Elvis Presley, and other icons of music with a feature documentary, Something in the Water, chronicling the making of the record. His latest, My Mississippi Reunion, winner of the 2021 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters award for best contemporary album, features a collection of past and new songs inspired by Azar's roots.
Steve Azar, Music & Culture Ambassador Of Mississippi, Ride Records (MS, US)
Julia Lennon Baird
Director, Cavern City Tours Ltd. (UK)
Julia was a language teacher, before retraining for school psychology, she worked with EBD adolescents, who no longer attended mainstream school. She retired in 2004 to write 'Imagine This', describing the family that gave birth to my brother, John Lennon. She also became a Director of the Cavern Club, and recently became Honorary President of the newly re-opened Strawberry Field in Liverpool, working with the Salvation Army, who are running a training project with young adults with mild- to- moderate Learning Disabilities.
She will talk to you about these last two roles; the Cavern and its place in the history of music in Liverpool and Strawberry Field, with its ongoing work with vulnerable young people in the city.
Julia Lennon Baird, Director, Cavern City Tours Ltd (UK)
Nan Marchand Beauvois
Senior Vice-President U.S. Travel Association (D.C., US)
Nan Marchand Beauvois is U.S. Travel Association's senior vice president of membership and industry relations, overseeing the National Council of State Tourism Directors, the National Council of Attractions and Experiences, the Destinations Council and the Meetings Mean Business Coalition. She is also general manager for U.S. Travel's Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO). Prior to joining U.S. Travel, Marchand Beauvois was the executive director of the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau, where she worked to brand the city as a year-round business and leisure destination, beyond the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl, in the competitive Los Angeles market. She concurrently led an aggressive sales program for the city's expanding convention center. Marchand Beauvois has lent her skills to industry associations and has served as a member of U.S. Travel's IPW Planning Committee, the California Travel & Tourism Commission International Marketing Advisory Committee, the National Tour Associations Marketing Committee, the TTRA board and the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board Marketing Committee.
Nan Marchand Beauvois, Senior Vice President, U.S. Travel Association (D.C., US)
Dr. Rolando Herts
Director, The Delta Center for Culture and Learning/ Executive Director, Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MS, US)
Herts is the director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning and executive director of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. An award-winning Center of Excellence, The Delta Center manages the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, a partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service for cultural heritage development. He was selected as an Executive Academy Fellow with the Delta Regional Authority's Delta Leadership Institute where he earned a leadership certificate from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He holds a Ph.D. in planning and public policy from Rutgers University with specializations in tourism planning and university-community engagement.
Dr. Rolando Herts, Director, The Delta Center for Culture and Learning/ Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MS, US)
Executive Director, Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture (OK, US)
Abby Kurin is the Executive Director of the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture, a division of Tulsa Regional Tourism housed at the Tulsa Regional Chamber. In her role, she promotes her hometown as a cultural and creative hub, film
destination, and top music city. Abby has produced Oklahoma/Tulsa events at SXSW in Austin, Texas for 11 years, and Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah for 4 years. She's worked with and hosted 85+ film productions in the Tulsa area, and oversees the music recovery program Play Tulsa Music, the Tulsa County Film Recovery Program, the Film Tulsa Fund, and the Tulsa Music Strategy. Abby was recently awarded the "Art Visionary Award" from Living Arts in 2019, and the "Vision Award" from Oklahoma City's Deadcenter Film Festival in 2020.
Abby Kurin, Executive Director, Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture (OK, US)
CEO, UMusic Hotels (FL, US)
UMusic Hotels are a new music-focused experiential hospitality category created by Universal Music Group and Dakia U-Ventures. The companies will create immersive music experiences including premiere hospitality, lifestyle club, live entertainment and next-generation retail. Embodying each location's unique spirit, the hotels will draw inspiration from their respective local culture and serve as creative hubs in communities around the world, promoting positive social change, education and innovation through the power of music. A social entrepreneur at heart, Robert aims to design corporate governance centered around impact investing, seeking to create a positive outcome for the global economy on an environmental, financial, and social level. Robert's background is rooted in the entertainment, theme park, and real estate industries.
Robert Lavia, CEO, UMusic Hotels (FL, US)
Executive Director, Dockery Farms Foundation (MS, US)
The mission of the Dockery Farms Foundation is to preserve the historic property and heritage of Dockery Farms and to develop these for educational purposes and the public interest in music, agriculture, and the history of the Mississippi Delta. The foundation seeks charitable contributions from individuals, government organizations, and other foundations.
William Lester, Executive Director, Dockery Farms Foundation (MS, US)
Grammy Winner / Producer, Engineer, & Chief Manager, Royal Studios (TN, US)
Boo Mitchell is a Grammy Award winning Engineer, Music Producer, and Award winning film Producer. Boo and his sister Oona, own the historic Royal Studios in Memphis TN. He has worked with some of the biggest names in Music: Al Green, Buddy Guy, Melissa Etheridge, John Mayer, Keith Richards, Wu Tang Clan and more. In 2016 Boo won the "Record of the Year" Grammy Grammy Award for his work on the Mark Ronson-Bruno Mars Hit "Uptown Funk."
Boo Mitchell, Grammy Winner / Producer, Engineer, & Chief Manager, Royal Studios (TN, US)
VP & Chief Curator Curatorial Affairs, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (OH, US)
Nwaka Onwusa, Chief Curator & Vice President of Curatorial Affairs at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Prior to the Rock Hall, she specialized in exhibition development and has curated and produced unique and memorial exhibits and programs at the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE including Hip Hop: A Cultural Odyssey, Jim Marshall's 1967, All Eyez on Me: The Writings of Tupac Shakur, Ringo: Peace and Love, and Bruce W. Talamon: Soul, R&B, And Funk Photographs 1972-1982: A Love Letter to the Music and some 25 more.
Nwaka has also curated satellite and traveling exhibits experienced by audiences across the
U.S. and in the UK. Prior to becoming a curator, Nwaka worked in educational programs committed to inspiring students to explore the arts and museum studies.
Nwaka Onwusa, VP & Chief Curator Curatorial Affairs, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (OH, US)
Executive Director, American Jazz Museum (IL, US)
Rashida Phillips joined the American Jazz Museum as Executive Director in January 2020, now leading strategic re-envision and revitalization of the near 25-year signature institution. Phillips spent 16 years at some of Chicago's most impactful organizations, including a previous role organizing turnaround at the Old Town School of Folk Music, the largest community
arts school with acclaimed concert venue in the nation. She is also a jazz vocalist with a M.A. in Jazz History and Research from Rutgers University and has a B.A. in English, minoring in African American Studies from Oberlin College. Her career reflects a commitment to the intersection of arts, culture, community, and education. In New York, she helped launch the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, building support, visibility, and audience while co-producing "Harlem's Song," at the White House, programmed Chicago-area Jazz and Humanities festivals, developed arts integration research and curriculum models for schools, and supported justice-centered work of youth and community.
Rashida Phillips, Executive Director, American Jazz Museum (IL, US)
Executive Director, B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center (MS, US)
Malika Polk-Lee stepped into the role of executive director in 2015. Her strong background in corporate management was beneficial in her role of overseeing daily operations of the museum, which included financial reporting, personnel, purchasing, strategic planning, the development of education and outreach programs, and fundraising and donor development.
She ensures local programming excellence while maintaining the high quality of exhibits that
welcome visitors from all over the world.
She understands that service to the residents of the area is vital, and that it helps build a stronger community as well as offering guests a richer experience in the museum and the Mississippi Delta as a whole. Malika holds a Bachelor of Science in Biological Science from Mississippi State University and a Master of Business Administration from Delta State University.
Malika Polk-Lee, Executive Director, B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center (MS, US)
Group CEO, Sound Diplomacy & Executive Director, Center for Music Ecosystems (UK)
Shain Shapiro, PhD is the Founder and Group CEO of Sound Diplomacy. Sound Diplomacy is the leading global advisor on growing music and night time economies in cities and places. He has defined a new way to think about the value of music in cities and places and through it, influenced over 100 cities and places to invest in music and culture as part of overall growth strategy. He is also the co-founder of Music Cities Convention, the world’s largest event bringing together the music industry with city planners, developers, policy makers and executives, the Music Cities Community, the leading online platform for music and public policy to intersect and the Music Cities Awards. He is also the Founder and Executive Director of the not-for-profit global Center for Music Ecosystems, launching in 2021.
Shain Shapiro, Group CEO, Sound Diplomacy & Executive Director, Center for Music Ecosystems (UK)
CEO, Destination Cape Breton (Canada)
Terry has worked in the Cape Breton Island Tourism Industry for the past 25+ years, mainly in marketing roles. In that time, he has had the opportunity to work on numerous strategies, campaigns and projects for music and cultural clients, including the Celtic Colours International Festival, Granville Green Concert Series, Savoy Theatre and Rock the Dock. Since 2013, he has worked with Destination Cape Breton, first in a senior marketing role and as CEO since February 2019.
Terry and the team at Destination Cape Breton have forged partnerships with many of the Island's touring artists and exclusively license music from local songwriters and composers to use in their promotional videos and TV commercials. As part of pandemic recovery plans, Destination Cape Breton is launching a Year of Music celebration in 2022.
Terry Smith, CEO, Destination Cape Breton (Canada)
Singer/Songwriter, Cleveland Music
Ambassador, Big Front Productions (MS, US)
Award-winning singer/songwriter Tricia Walker spent 25+ years in the music industry in Nashville before returning to her native Mississippi to develop the Delta Music Institute entertainment industry studies program at her alma mater, Delta State University. She retired from that position as Director Emerita in 2019 and is now focusing her creative energies on developing and promoting the Deep Roots music project through a partnership between the City of Cleveland and her company, Big
Front Porch Productions.
Tricia Walker, Singer/Songwriter, Cleveland Music
Ambassador, Big Front Productions (MS, USA)
Director, Aurora Metro (UK)
Cheryl is an award-winning writer, filmmaker and publisher who trained at BBC. Her feature documentary 'Rock n Roll Island' aired on BBC4 in 2020 and was a Sunday Times Critics Choice, Radio Times and the Observer 'Pick' programme. It achieved 750,000+ viewers and won 4 awards. She is currently making 2 more feature-length music docs. As the founder of Aurora Metro Books she has published over 300 British and international authors with many accolades. Music books she has edited include: 50 WOMEN IN THE BLUES, ON THE TRAIL OF AMERICANA, WOMEN MAKE NOISE, THE BRITISH BEAT EXPLOSION.
She is also leading the campaign for the erection of a statue of Virginia Woolf in Richmond-upon-Thames in England.
Cheryl Robson, Director, Aurora Metro (UK)
COO, CORFO - Valparaíso Creativo
Mauricio is a professional with 15 years of experience in entrepreneurship and innovation, specialising in productive development from public institutions that support startups
Today Mauricio is the COO of Valparaíso Creativo's CORFO strategic program.
Mauricio Cifuentes, COO, CORFO - Valparaíso Creativo (Chile)
Artist Manager, Sean Paul / Author / Brand New Machine (Jamaica)
After getting his start at Bob Marley's legendary Tuff Gong record label as a marketing exec, Steve spent 10 years cross training in every imaginable area in the entertainment industry including a stint as studio manager for the GeeJam Studios where he oversaw studio sessions for The Roots, Common, The Gorillaz, No Doubt & The Jungle Brothers amongst others. In 2001, he signed on to help pilot the career of multi-platinum Grammy winner Sean Paul. While honing his role as a reggae ambassador, Wilson simultaneously plotted to bring EDM & house music to his Homebase of Kingston via his Brand New Machine party series that saw DJs like Diplo, Bob Sinclar, Congo Rock & Toddla T spin in Jamaica for the first time. Steve is also partners in FSOR Music (Future Sound Of Reggae) a boutique label.
He was also a local partner of the initial staging of the critically acclaimed Tmrwtday Culture Festival in Jamaica, and has recently published his first book.
Steven Wilson, Artist Manager, Sean Paul / Author / Brand New Machine (Jamaica)
Managing Director, Urban Inclusion Community (UK - Ghana)
Em has worked as a business and economic development consultant for over 20 years in London and Africa, most recently working closely with government institutions across the continent to transform and improve the quality of life for it citizens through advocacy and lobbying, strategic communication, support for innovative business development, and driving diaspora relations to improve the lives of some of the poorest communities in the world. Working with agencies that include the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, UN Women, OXFAM, and the European Union. Music and the Creative Sector is at the heart of economic growth, creating jobs and promoting tourism.
Em Ekong, Managing Director, Urban Inclusion Community (Uk - Ghana)
Lisa La Rocca
Director of Operations, Sonic Unyon Records (Canada)
Lisa is currently the Director of Operations at Canadian independent record label Sonic Unyon Records. Alongside the company's label activities, Sonic Unyon produces Hamilton's largest festival, Supercrawl (an annual weekend-long multi-arts event that draws over 250,000 people to the city's downtown), and many other live music and cultural events. In addition, Sonic Unyon runs two live music venues in Hamilton, and a management division, through which Lisa manages hip-hop artist LTtheMonk. Lisa has helped implement the JUNO Awards' JUNOFest (2015) and JUNO Songwriters' Circle (2019), currently serves as a juror for FACTOR Canada, and is an active member of both the Hamilton Music Advisory Team and the Hamilton Arts Advisory Commission.
Lisa La Rocca, Director of Operations, Sonic Unyon Records (Canada)
Owner, Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art (MS, US)
After 13-year marketing career in Corporate America, he moved to Clarksdale with a mission to organize and promote the blues from within. Clarksdale needed to own its blues history and use music to create a year-round tourism industry, targeting downtown revitalization. He owns Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art, facilitates Clarksdale's now 365-nights-a-year live music, co-organizes multiple annual festivals, contributes to magazines, and serves on the Visit Clarkdale tourism commission. He authored Hidden History of Mississippi Blues and Mississippi Juke Joint Confidential, occasionally hosts blues radio shows, and co-produces films. He has produced blues albums and toured Mississippi bluesmen. Cat Head was Clarksdale's 2019 Small Business of the Year.
Roger Stolle, Owner, Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art (MS, US)
Everything is Music
Everything Is Music is a Location-based digital museum for mobile in Bristol & Bath. The project is a celebration of the people and places that form Bristol & Baths musical heritage. A collaboration between international music publication Crack Magazine and geo-location technology specialist Landmrk, the platform brings stories, music and personalities to life across 250+ location-specific pins that can be unlocked by users via their mobile phones. The platform also provides numerous opportunities to support the artists and the ecosystem that make up Bristol and Bath’s musical heritage.
Everything is Music (UK)
Lisa La Rocca
Director of Operations, Sonic Unyon Records (Canada)