2015 Conference Speakers

Victoria Banks

Artist


Victoria’s list of accolades as an artist is long. She was 2009’s most nominated female artist in Canadian country music, the 2010 CCMA Female Artist of the Year & toured with superstars Reba McEntire, Wynonna Judd, Lonestar, Randy Travis & Johnny Reid. But songwriting is her first love.

Now a staff songwriter at Nashville’s RareSpark Media Group, Victoria has penned ASCAP, SOCAN, CCMA and Covenant-award-winning songs for over 50 artists.

Amber Bell

Dale Speaking Ltd.


Amber Bell has been a part of the Dale Speaking team since 2007. As the Promotions Manager, Amber handles and oversees all things promotions at Dale Speaking including, but not limited to, commercial, CBC and satellite radio promotion. She also assists in co-coordinating radio tours, interviews, campaign strategies and more. Working to help musicians, new and established, increase and sustain an audience is her passion.

Born in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Amber made her way to Ontario and attended Durham College’s Music Business Management program. After graduating, she started an internship with Dale Speaking and was soon brought on full-time.

At Dale Speaking, Amber has been able to assist in breaking artists on Canadian radio including award-winning country artist Chad Brownlee. She also was able to help Dale Speaking attain their first #1 single with Bush’s The Sound of Winter in 2011. This was also Bush‘s first #1 single on the Canadian radio charts. In addition to these, Amber has worked with artists such as Alexisonfire, City and Colour, Rival Sons, Jimmy Rankin, Tokyo Police Club, The Trews, Paul Brandt, Danko Jones and more.

Chad Brownlee

Artist


A testament to his drive and talent, Chad Brownlee (MDM Recordings Inc. / Universal Music Canada) is an extraordinary example of what one person can achieve. Although he may focus on living in the moment and absorbing every treasured second with his fans while performing on stage, Brownlee has already lived a life many would argue could fill multiple lifetimes. An award-winning singer, songwriter, philanthropist and former NHL draft pick, country music artist Brownlee is by definition a renaissance man, who lives by the credence that “opportunity lies along the path created by the choices you make.”

Carmen Choney

Tour Manager


Carmen Choney’s events career has spanned more than a decade as Tour Manager, Publicist and Management professional, to name a few. Her knowledge, work ethic and industry contacts have proved invaluable in pushing the MDM Recordings brand out to the masses. As Tour Manager for Chad Brownlee and Co-Manager of Jess Moskaluke, she has had the great fortune of traveling this country working not only with directly the artist/band, but also promoters, buyers, media and the fans themselves. Her point of view of the business takes into account the overall well being of the artist, both on stage and off and provides a fair assessment through experience of what the audience is hoping for in the show. She not only works on the business side of the music but is still a fan of great music, both on record and live.

Holding a diploma in Management Studies from Grant MacEwan College and a Bachelor of Management from the University of Lethbridge, Carmen has worked on, and volunteered for some of North America’s largest events and music festivals including the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver for NBC and a yearly position as stage manager for the Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, AB.

Holly Cybulski

HC Consulting


As owner of Toronto based communications business HC Consulting, Holly Cybulski has been thinking outside the box to find new solutions since the tender age of four, when she convinced her mother she solved the Rubik’s Cube (in actuality, she took the stickers off and put them in order, missing only one that was slightly crooked)! Characteristically fueled with persistent determination to succeed and honest to a fault, she confessed it was not her intention to deceive, this was merely her creative solution to the given task at hand when all other avenues had failed. Having worked for over a decade in the communications field, this creative outlook to the task at hand and ‘never say die’ attitude have been an invaluable driving force throughout her career as both a Professor (at Seneca@York University) and as a Communications Consultant, specializing with expertise in the written and spoken word.
Throughout her vast career she has worked with some of the world’s most famous names and brands from Charlize Theron, Brian Mulroney, Scarlett Johansson, Gilad Sharon (son of Israel’s 11th Prime Minister Ariel Sharon), Twilight’s Taylor Lautner, The Black Eyed Peas’ drummer Keith Harris, and David Cronenberg; to overseeing public relations campaigns for such clients as Second Cup Canada, University Health Network, hmv Canada, MDM Recordings Inc./EMI Music Canada, Berkshire Media Distribution, HarperCollins Canada Ltd., the Blue Man Group MEGASTAR Tour, the list goes on… A graduate of both Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto, she is currently a Masters candidate, enrolled at the University of Central Lancashire Business School in the United Kingdom studying Strategic Communications. She is a member of many (Canadian and international) professional associations and is passionately involved with numerous charitable organizations including Dixon Hall and volunteering abroad in Romania with Habitat for Humanity.
A belief founded vis-à-vis lessons from the greatest songs of all time through the magic of lyrical storytelling (a devout Stevie Nicks fan herself!), Holly believes the golden ticket to campaign success is defined through the precise choice of each (written or spoken) word; a fervent practice evident in both her client service/executive training programs or through challenging the budding minds of her students.

Member (in good standing):
  • International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)
  • Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS)
  • Board of Directors of the Love Lana Foundation
  • Chartered Institute of Public Relations (United Kingdom- based CIPR)
  • Canadian Association for Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS)
  • Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA)

Sari Delmar

AB Co.


Sari founded AB at the age of 18. Before AB came into fruition, she worked for record labels (Wind-Up Records Canada, Nevado Records), a PR company (Rebel Music), a merch company, travelled North America in a tour van, and did freelance writing for a number of top music publications. Now, after six years, Sari’s time is spent handling business development and strategic partnerships for the company while travelling the world. Sari has been invited to speak at international conferences, sit on the Toronto Music Advisory Council and the Toronto Austin Alliance Council, and in 2014 was awarded with an International Women Achievers’ Award in the Entertainment category. Her blog is a hotbed for emerging artist and entrepreneur advice. A huge fan of adorable cats, great books, pop punk, and chasing your passions, Sari leads Team AB with an intense-as-hell work ethic and ever-evolving vision for the future. - See more at: http://cmao.r3media.ca/sari-delmar/#sthash.laPdpvBq.dpuf

Mike Denney

MDM Recordings


Mike Denney, President of Toronto-based MDM Recordings Inc. believes in his artists and is prepared to invest whatever it takes, as long as it takes. A 25+ year veteran, Denney’s core business mantra is work hard-play hard, and he aspires to work with and represent talent who are willing to give 110% of their efforts to their musical craft. He in turn meets this with the same level of commitment to his MDM “road family”. Most recently, Denney championed MDM’s operational expansion to both the Australian & American territories. - See more at: http://cmao.r3media.ca/mike-denney/#sthash.NrXsmf2o.dpuf

Jodie Ferneyhough

Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA)


Has established the CCS Rights Management Company based in Toronto. The globally minded company is rooted in the stability and business discipline of music rights management while extending those skills into non-music IP, brand development and strategic management for content creators. CCS’ unique combination of music and non-music rights management, together with additional specific services, delivers tailor made strategy and attentive service to its partners and clients.

Before founding CCS Rights Management, Jodie was Managing Director for Universal Music Publishing Group where he was instrumental in the careers of Sam Roberts, K-OS, Mobile, Hedley, Stephan Moccio and Alex Cuba and established Canadian superstars Tom Cochrane, Jann Arden, Shania Twain, Daniel Lavoie and Avril Lavigne. His artists have been nominated for or were awarded accolades from the Juno Awards, East Coast Music Awards, SOCAN Awards, Country Music Awards, Much Music Video Awards, Grammy Awards and Latin Grammy Awards.

Before joining UMPG Jodie was the General Manager for peermusic Canada.

Jodie is President of the Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA), where he is active in lobbying, copyright reform and media relations. He sits on the Board of Directors of SOCAN and the CMRRA. He was named Canadian Music Publisher of the Year three out of four years at the annual CCMA awards, as well as Publisher of the Year at the annual CMW Industry Awards. He is a founding patron to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and is the co-founder of the Unison Benevolent Fund.

Angela Fex

FACTOR


Angela Fex is a graduate of Fanshawe’s Music Industry Arts program. She joined FACTOR in April 2014 as Manager of Client Services, drawing upon her extensive management and administrative experience from her years at CMRRA, CSI (CMRRA Sodrac Inc.), and ole Media Management. Having started her career in music publishing and licensing independent Canadian recording artists, joining the FACTOR team has brought her full circle in proudly assisting and supporting homegrown Canadian musical talent.

Steve Kassay

Durham Radio Inc.


Following a few years on the road chasing the rock star dream, Steve moved from playing music to playing records. His radio career has taken him through stations and various broadcasting companies in Toronto, Central and Southern Ontario, and nationally syndicated live shows – in production, programming, on-air, Music Director and Program Director capacities. Now Vice-President, Programming for Durham Radio Inc., Steve manages operations for KX-96, KX-947, 94.9 The Rock, CKDO and wave.fm. From Country to Rock to AC formats, the common denominators for Steve are a passion for radio, music and the performers whose style make it all happen.

Beverley Mahood

Artist


A successful singer-songwriter, actress, model, and television host, Beverley Mahood is a dynamic entertainer, highly recognized, musically, for several solo albums, and also for the, David Foster produced, trio, “Lace”. TV shows (Pick A Puppy), movie roles (Changing Seasons), songwriting credits (Celine Dion), exclusive performances (G8 World Leaders, CDN Troops, Royals), and a commitment to community (2014 Slaight Music Humanitarian Award) all add to Beverley’s unique entertainment package. Born in Belfast, Beverley is a proud Canadian … “I can’t wink, I can’t whistle … but I love my hockey”

Allan Mamaril

HMV Digital Canada Ltd.


Allan Mamaril is a business development and new media strategist with market specialties in music, entertainment, digital content distribution and social media. His experience over the course of two decades within the music industry has given him an innate ability to scope consumer trends and build customer-based communities, both at retail and in online and mobile applications. He is currently at hmv where he oversees the Canadian hmv digital business.

Nick Meinema

The Agency Group (Nashville)


Nick Meinema moved to The Agency Group’s Toronto office in 2007 and has since expanded his office to Nashville, Tennessee. Nick is the Senior Vice President of The Agency Group Nashville and the Head of the Fairs and Festivals Department for North America.

In 2011, he was nominated as ‘Agent of the Year’ by The International Entertainment Buyers Association. Furthermore, has had several nominations and won Agency of the Year from the CCMA.

Jess Moskaluke

Artist


With a record-breaking single, a new lip gloss line, and multiple accolades and awards including her first JUNO nominations for Country Album of the Year and Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Jess Moskaluke (MDM Recordings Inc./Universal Music Canada) is dazzling the country music world.

Fans can look forward to Jess’ first national tour, as she opens for Chad Brownlee during the 2015 When The Lights Go Down Canadian tour.

Jess primarily splits her time between her home-base in Saskatchewan and writing in Nashville.

Ralph Murphy

Murphy Music Consulting


Ralph Murphy, songwriter, has been successful for five decades. Consistently charting songs in an ever-changing musical environment makes him a member of that very small group of professionals who make a living doing what they love to do. Add to that the platinum records as a producer, his success as the publisher and co-owner of the extremely successful Picalic Group of Companies and you see a pattern of achievement based on more than luck. The widely acclaimed Murphy’s Laws of Songwriting articles used as part of curriculum at colleges, universities, and by songwriter organizations has led to the recently published “Murphy’s Laws of Songwriting “The Book” being an instant industry success.

Passion driven, with a desire to know how, what, when, where and who have him a formidable insider force. He is in worldwide demand as a lecturer on songwriting and has “guested” at universities, colleges, and professional songwriter organizations around the globe. Murphy has served as President of The Nashville Chapter of the Recording Academy; and has been a NARAS National Trustee and President of the Nashville Songwriters Association International. As well as serving as Vice President for the International and Domestic Membership Group of the American Society of Composers Authors an Publishers, he also has served on the Southern Regional Writers Advisory Board of ASCAP, the Songwriters Guild of America regional advisory board, is a member of NSAI, NARAS, CMA, CCMA, SAC, SGA, and ASCAP. Ralph was inducted into the North American Country Music Association International (NACMAI) Hall of Fame as a songwriter and recently received CMA’s prestigious Jo Walker –Meador International Award which recognizes outstanding achievement by an individual in advocating and supporting Country music’s marketing development in territories outside of North America. In September of 2012, Ralph was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Michael Murray

Ontario Arts Council


Michael Murray is OAC’s Popular & World Music and Arts Service Organizations Officer since. He has led the OAC’s outreach and support work, and has seen a four-fold increase in the number of applications from popular and world music artists and arts organizations. He has a special interest in Aboriginal hip hop. Michael also led the development of ArtsLinkups, an ongoing initiative to support collaborations between the arts and other sectors for the benefit of artists and arts organizations. Prior to working at the OAC, Michael served as the Executive Director of UrbanArts and is the creator of the Youth Challenge Fund-supported beats. mind.movement and was an accompanying delegate on then governor general Michaëlle Jean’s state visit to Brazil in 2007.

He is a former member of the advisory board for Jane’s Walk, as well as for the ArtReach Executive Committee and ArtReach Grant Review Team. Michael is a Certified Management Account and holds a bachelor of music in music technology from McGill University and an MBA and diploma in arts and media management from the Schulich School of Business at York University. Michael also plays trumpet and live electronics and is currently composing an original musical for use in social enterprise spaces.

Steve Parker

Canadian Country Spotlight


Steve Parker is the President of Media BemBem Inc. and Executive Producer of Canadian Country Spotlight. Prior to starting Media BemBem Inc. in 2009, Steve spent 24 years at the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission working as a radio analyst and as a senior operations and policy analyst. During this time Steve also produced radio content for local Ottawa FM station CHEZ-FM. “Canadian Country Spotlight” now ranks as Canada’s #1 independently produced and syndicated Canadian country music show heard on 42 stations across Canada each week.

Dale Peters

Dale Speaking Ltd.


Dale Richard Peters is owner, HR, payroll, tax collector, manager, talent approver and voice of reason at Dale Speaking Ltd. He also works with radio stations, personal managers and label artists, as well as seeks out business opportunities that make sense. By all means, he is Dale Speaking.

Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan but now splitting his time between the Niagara South Shores and Toronto, Dale Peters began as a mohawk-coiffed punk in Calgary, an art student and electrician but found his true calling at a record store. From there, he shared his enthusiasm for music which led him down a long road with sales, marketing and promotions in the majors (RCA and BMG to be exact) before founding Dale Speaking in 2004.

Dale introduced Canadian icons past and present to radio (from Feist to The Sheepdogs), gave bands their first #1 (including UK rockers Bush and California act Rival Sons), but is happiest building an artist from the ground up. He travels the country at least twice a year to visit clients and radio family and is also embarking on a new venture with two companies in the publishing field.

Dale’s goal for the company is to educate the industry and to break new Canadian artists. He knows how to do this and want to share it with Canada and the world. Working with great artists and managers through solid marketing strategies, online and personal contact is his approach to building a career in the music industry.

Samantha Pickard

Strut Entertainment


Samantha Pickard brings an international outlook to Strut Entertainment and a vast understanding of the Canadian and Australian music industries. A twenty-four year industry veteran Samantha has executed hundreds of public relations campaigns including the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Dean Brody, Dolly Parton, HMV, Deric Ruttan and a variety of music labels and film companies.

Since Strut was founded in 2006, it has become one of Canada’s premier, boutique public relations and event firms. Boasting a diverse array of clients ranging from country, rock and pop acts, lifestyle brands, to actors and celebrity tastemakers including Perez Hilton.

A former board member of CARAS and guest speaker at Toronto’s Centennial College, Canadian Public Relations Society and for the Urban Music Association, she was recently invited to participate in the CCMA Discovery Program as a mentor and industry professional.

Ted Roop

Larche Communications


Ted Roop is the Director of Programming for Larche Communications Inc. and is also the host of the Canadian Country Spotlight. Ted has been named the Canadian Country Music Association’s Music Director Of The Year and has also won the CCMA’s Personality Of The Year Award. Ted has been in the radio business since 1998. He is very happily married with 2 children and lives just outside of Orillia, Ontario.

Derrick Ross

Slaight Music


Derrick has been involved in many different sectors of the music industry. First as a musician in the internationally acclaimed band The Spoons, before moving to the record industry side in 1984 when he took on the role of General Manager of Enigma Records Canada (Poison, Stryper, Smithereens). In 1989, Derrick struck out on his own, starting DMD Entertainment, an independent radio promotion and marketing company that is reputed as one of Canada’s strongest in its field and operating still today. At the same time, he also started his own label, FRE Records, signing and managing bands such as April Wine, The Skydiggers and Jim Witter. In 2002, Derrick was appointed Vice President of National Promotions and Media Relations at EMI Music Canada. He moved to the Feldman Agency in 2007 as Vice President of Contemporary Music where he developed successful new strategies in sales, marketing and corporate partnerships for the agency. In 2010 Derrick joined Slaight Music as President. Slaight Music is a music company incubator started by Gary Slaight and Derrick with the mandate to support the Canadian music community through various initiatives, and to develop Canadian talent via strategic partnerships with industry peers. Go to www.slaightmusic.com for further info.

Deric Ruttan

Artist


Deric Ruttan was raised just outside Bracebridge, Ontario, on land where his great grandfather made moonshine in the 1930’s. It was the perfect backdrop for the singer/songwriter, who grew up listening to everything from CCR to Gordon Lightfoot to Johnny Cash. After touring with several country bar bands, Deric moved to Nashville, where his unique outlook and delivery attracted the attention and praise of songwriters Don Schlitz, Steve Earle, and Steve Bogard. Deric has had over four-dozen songs recorded, including cuts by Tim McGraw, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker, and Gary Allan to name a new. Bentley’s chart-toppers “What Was I Thinkin’”, (Billboard #1), and “Lot Of Leavin’ Left To Do” (Radio & Records #2) are Ruttan co-writes, as are the Eric Church hits, “Guys Like Me” and “Hell On The Heart” (Mediabase #8). Since signing with THiS Music/Warner Chappell, Deric’s songwriting star has continued to rise. In November 2013, he celebrated a multi-week #1 song when “Mine Would Be You”, recorded by country superstar and The Voice judge Blake Shelton, was a three-week number one (Billboard) for the artist. “Mine Would Be You” was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song, and an ACM Award for Song Of The Year. An ASCAP (6x), SOCAN (10x), and CCMA (Canadian Country Music Association) (2x) award winner, Deric regularly tours in Canada, where he has had 11 Top 10 singles as an artist, and 2 #1 videos on CMT Canada. His current, self-produced album (his fifth as an artist) Take The Week Off is his strongest collection of songs to date. The album was released on Oct. 15, 2013 on Deric’s own independent label, Black T Records. He lives just outside Nashville, TN with his wife Margaret and their five children.

Ashley Sperling

Maple Music Recordings


Ashley is a music, technology and marketing enthusiast. She’s currently Marketing Manager at MapleMusic Recordings | Fontana North, and also teaches digital marketing classes at The Harris Institute for the Arts. Ashley was previously manager of partnerships, merchandising and marketing for BlackBerry’s North American music and video e-commerce storefronts, where she led global music and video campaigns. She also has experience as a digital marketing manager for Universal Music Canada, an artist management company and Luminato Festival.  Ashley has managed campaigns and projects for numerous artists including Hedley, Justin Bieber, Keshia Chanté, Drake, Jann Arden, Florence & The Machine, The Bros. Landreth, Royal Wood and more. Follow her on Twitter @ashsperls

Mark Watts

OMDC


Mark is currently a program consultant for the Ontario Music Fund (Ontario Media Development Corporation), a program that is aimed at strengthening and stimulating growth in Ontario’s music sector. Previous roles at OMDC over the past 6 years include administering various tax credit programs including the Ontario Film & Television Tax Credit (OFTTC) and the Ontario Sound Recording Tax Credit (OSRTC) and also serving as the Team Lead for the Intellectual Property Development Fund; a pilot program targeted at IP development. Prior to joining the OMDC, Mark played a pivotal role at FACTOR as General Manager, where he led a team of 14 staff and handled the day-to-day operations of the Foundation. Mark is also a member of the 2015 JUNO Awards Host Committee.

Michelle Wright

Artist


Since 1990, Michelle Wright has sold nearly two million albums, including two Double Platinum-certified and Gold albums. Michelle has twenty-five Top Ten radio hits, forty major music awards, including five Canadian Country Music Female Artist of the Year honors, and America’s Academy of Country Music Award for Top New Female Artist. Michelle is a member of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and is currently enjoying the release of her new single “Laugh A Little”.