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Kingston

The Jamaica Music Conference (JMC) is a four-day event where attendees experience multiple facets of Jamaica’s dynamic music industry. The JMC features a variety of intensive and relevant panel discussions, topic-focused breakout sessions, artist showcase, and networking opportunities with Industry insiders and veterans. 

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2017 Panelists

  Honorable Olivia Grange CD, MP  Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports

Honorable Olivia Grange CD, MP Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports

Ms. Olivia “Babsy’ Grange has had a long, productive and inspiring career as a cultural activist, working at the grassroots level in developing and managing talent. She is an artist, director, event planner and an ardent supporter and promoter of Jamaica’s creative and cultural industries. She is also a pioneer contributor to the development of the Reggae and Dancehall Music Industry in Jamaica, Canada and the United States. As a founding member and Director of the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP), Ms. Grange has been instrumental in introducing policy initiatives in Jamaica to support the development of the cultural industries and advance “brand Jamaica” in the international market.

She has been a member of the Jamaican Parliament since 1997 and was appointed Minister of Information, Youth, Sports & Culture, with responsibility for Women and Gender Affairs, Entertainment, Community Development and Special Projects in 2007. In June 2009, she had the distinction of being appointed as the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) first Champion for Culture, with responsibility for advocating, among other things, capacity building for cultural industries, cultural institutions and individual artists.  

Ms. Grange co-founded Contrast, Canada's first black community newspaper and has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Specs Limited and Spec-Shang Music. She has managed a number of reggae acts such as Carlene Davis and Leroy Sibbles as well as gold & double Grammy selling artists, Shabba Ranks and Lady Patra, and was Damian (Junior Gong) Marley’s first manager in the early years of his career. She has also assisted in the development of the Jamaican Copyright Legislation. 

[Feat. panelist - Marketing to the Diaspora and Emerging Markets - November 10]


  Copeland Forbes, OD  Entertainment Manager  Comar Productions Limited

Copeland Forbes, OD
Entertainment Manager
Comar Productions Limited

Jamaica's most prolific global tour manager, artist manager and reggae historian Copeland Forbes has single handedly put Jamaica on more maps internationally than most Jamaican dignitaries have done since the country gained independence from Britain in 1962. This renders Forbes, to be amongst some of the most powerful and esteemed stature in the reggae industry today and rightly so as the Jamaican government formally recognized and honored Forbes' contributions on October 19, 2017 with the Order of Distinction (Officer rank), its fifth highest civic honor.

On October 19, 2017, Mr. Forbes was honored by the Jamaican government with the Order of Distinction (Officer rank), its fifth highest civic honor.

Mr. Forbes plans to release an autobiography of his travels and experiences with artists, managers and promoters titled, Reggae My Life Is, in 2018.

[See Copeland Forbes at the JMC Beach Day - One on One Interview with Karen Marie Mason - November 12]


 Protoje Recording Artist

Protoje
Recording Artist

There is an exciting resurgence of conscious, organic music in Jamaica and industry experts and observers agree that Protoje is playing an important role in what is becoming known as the "Reggae Revival."

Leading the militant band - The Indiggnation - this powerful songwriter and philosophical thinker articulates the righteous anger of an emerging generation. Protoje reports for duty, re-establishing the standard for the decaying art of socially responsible, mentally stimulating lyricism.

After successfully releasing 2 Albums "The Seven Year Itch" and "The 8 Year Affair" which spawned Rasta Love ft Ky-Mani Marley and Kingston Be Wise; which was featured in Grand Theft Auto; Protoje releases his 3rd Studio Album titled ANCIENT FUTURE.

Protoje has been gaining momentum throughout the world, performing at quality venues to large audiences and will continue to tour consistently with his band The Indiggnation to promote ANCIENT FUTURE especially in Europe where several tours have already been booked as they continue to spread the music to the world. 

[See Protoje at the JMC FiWi Jamaica Music Symposium - One on One Interview with Karen Marie Mason - November 11]


  Nikki Z , VP of Content,  21st Hapilos Digital  Dist.  Radio Personality , Energy JA 102.1FM

Nikki Z,
VP of Content, 21st Hapilos Digital  Dist.
Radio Personality, Energy JA 102.1FM

Nicole Duhaney better known as Nikki Z had always wanted to pursue a career in media. A strong minded and opinionated individual, she kept listeners on the edge of their radio dial in Jamaica, as the host of the weekday Rise and Blaze Morning Show on FAME FM 5:00am to 9:00am.

Prior to joining the Fame FM team, Nikki Z worked at Jamaica’s ZIP 103 FM where she quickly established herself as the maven and diva of morning radio commanding a strong presence and eventually helping to push the station’s ratings in the national all media survey to double digit figures. Nikki Z is the creator of the syndicated radio countdown show Nikki Z Hot 20 Countdown. It is aired in several key markets in the US, the Caribbean, the UK and in Europe.

In 2017, Nikki made the transition to the corporate side, becoming the Vice President of Client Projects and Content for 21st Hapilos Digital, the largest digital distributor of Dancehall, Reggae and Caribbean music.

Nikki recently announced spearheading a new radio station in Jamaica, Energy JA 102.1FM (currently in its testing phase), where she will serve as morning show host. She will maintain her post at Hapilos.

[Featured panelist: Women Behind the Scenes of Jamaica's Music Industry - November 11]


  Brendon "Daddi Barnz" Sharpe  Managing Director  Chronixx Music Group Ltd.

Brendon "Daddi Barnz" Sharpe
Managing Director
Chronixx Music Group Ltd.

Born Brendon Fabion Sharpe on March 23, 1989, grew up in Spanish Town where he was introduced to live music while assisting as an audio technician at community Church services. 

Mr. Sharpe is now a Co-founder of the Chronixx Music Group Ltd and plays the role of business manager for international recording artist Chronixx and the Zincfence Redemption band. For the past 7 years, he has devoted his time to talent and tour management while successfully developing one of the strongest brands in Reggae music history. He has secured musical collaboration, TV appearances and major endorsement deals for members of his band through networking while on tours.

His first experience as a tour manager occurred in 2013 when he toured Europe on a two week promotional Winter tour. He has also embarked on solo tours from the Americas to Oceania region; including New York, London, Japan, Ethiopia, T&T, Australia, Israel and led his team who became the first band to tour Jamaica (Capture Land Tour). Most recently he completed 5 intense weeks as opening acts on Nas and Lauryn Hill co headlined tour of North America.

A manager on a mission to get Reggae music back on track with the other popular genres of the world.
                                                            [Featured panelist: Effective Touring Strategies - November 11]


  Natasha Von Castle  Editor-in-Chief  L3 Magazine

Natasha Von Castle
Editor-in-Chief
L3 Magazine

Natasha Von Castle is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is the Editor-in-Chief forL3 Magazine.  In her role, Natasha oversees a team of writers and music enthusiasts who interview and showcase the talents of the best musicians in the Caribbean, and around the world.  Natasha is also the Communications Director for the Montreal International Reggae Festival, managing the festivals Social Media, and shaping the experience fans of the festival have throughout the year.  In addition to L3 Magazine and the Montreal International Reggae Festival, Natasha promotes new music releases from artists such as Busy Signal, Cham, Duane Stephenson, Exco Levi, Ammoye and more to her network of just over 5,000 radio and live event DJs.
Natasha is your go to source for information about the industry, and will take your music from local to international!

[Featured panelist: Women Behind the Scenes of Jamaica's Music Industry - November 11]


  Paul Barclay  Board of Directors, J ACAP  President,  ACCS

Paul Barclay
Board of Directors, JACAP
President, ACCS

Over the past 25 years, Paul Barclay has gleaned the right experience and exposure as musical director and band leader for renowned talents like Judy Mowatt, Grace Thrillers, Carlene Davis, Papa San, Warrior King and his own Katalys Crew.

Mr. Barclay currently serves in multiple leadership roles including Director of the Creative Production and Training Center (CPTC) and JamVisionTv and Media Training Institute (MTI), Managing Director of Katsjam Digital (formerly Katsjam Records) and Paul B. Publishing, theJamaica Association of Composers Authors and Publishers (JACAP) board of directors, and holds the office of President of the Association of Caribbean Copyright Societies (ACCS).

In addition to his leadership, Mr. Barclay is an accomplished songwriter and producer, working with international acts such as Freddie McGregor, George Nooks, Luciano, Sherwin Gardner, Tessanne Chin, Judy Mowatt, Carlene Davis, DJ Nicholas, Prodigal Son, Kevin Downswell, Kay Morris and more. 

[Featured panelist: Benefiting from Intellectual Property - Music Streaming 101 - November 11]


  Niyah  Event Promoter/Booking Agent  MYC Entertainment

Niyah
Event Promoter/Booking Agent
MYC Entertainment

Niyah of MYC Entertainment is one of the most visible promoters, event organizers and industry go-to person in Toronto.  Her relationships with concert producers in Canada, as well as signature events in the Caribbean puts her in the unique position of working with artists, media and music fans, all within a days’ work.

Based in Toronto and Kingston, Niyah works with the producers of the ‘When Dance Did Nice’ series, YOWRonto Music Festival, Rebel Night Club and The Juice Comedy Festival.  Working with producers of this caliber, Niyah regularly books artists to perform on these prestigious stages, while promoting the events to fans in Toronto.  What started with promotions to 5,000 people in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) has now grown to promotions to 50,000 people not only for concert producers, but for artists who need campaigns developed to build awareness of their brand.

With promotional teams in Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Kingston and South America, and working with the most prestigious concert producers, Niyah of MYC Entertainment is one of the most resourceful people to network with when building an artists’ performance career.

  [Featured panelist: Effective Touring Strategies - November 11]


  Tony Rebel  Recording Artist/Event Producer  Rebel Salute/Flames Productions

Tony Rebel
Recording Artist/Event Producer
Rebel Salute/Flames Productions

 

[Featured panelist: Effective Packaging of Jamaica’s Entertainment Product for the International MarketplaceNovember 10


  Jamar "J Niice" McNeil  Radio Personality/Producer  The J Show, B96 FM Chicago

Jamar "J Niice" McNeil
Radio Personality/Producer
The J Show, B96 FM Chicago

J Niice has been a familiar voice on Top40/Pop radio since 2002. He’s been heard on some of the the United States biggest Top 40 radio stations as well as in the Caribbean.

Since 2008, J Niice has been the the morning show host of The J Show on B96 FM, Chicago’s #1 Hit music Channel, airing weekdays 5:30am - 10am. The J Show has become an integral part of the Chicago media landscape and is known nationwide in the Pop Music industry. His program has hosted interviews for stars like Sean Paul, Shaggy, Bruno Mars, Jason Derulo, Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga and Mariah Carey to name a few.

In addition to the morning show, J is a Pop and Dancehall/Reggae selector playing clubs locally in the US and in the Caribbean.  He has curated a mixtape series called “Trop” The latest in Pop Dancehall Reggae Soca and Caribbean Riddims.  He has also started a production house called RockWeh Records specializing in making Caribbean flavored riddims for various artistes including Wyclef Jean and Gyptian.

[Featured panelist: The Rising Global Impact of Jamaica's Music - November 12]


  Tandra Jhagroo  Audio Engineer Full Range Records

Tandra Jhagroo
Audio Engineer
Full Range Records

Tandra's talents as an audio engineer has led her to engineer sessions with multi-platinum recording musicians. Tandra’s album credits include Drake’s Thank Me Later, Sean Paul’s Tomahawk Technique, the Jolly Boys’  Great Expectations, and  Ammoye’s   @Ammoyemusic, to name a few. Tandra has served as a Jamaica Region consultant for Red Bull Music Academy since 2011.

[Featured panelist: Women Behind the Scenes of Jamaica's Music Industry - November 11]


  Gavin "Gavsborg" Blair  Music Producer/Co-founder  Equiknoxx

Gavin "Gavsborg" Blair
Music Producer/Co-founder
Equiknoxx

Gavin Blair has worked over the past decade to establish his name and brand in the music industry.

As a member and co-founder of music production label Equiknoxx Music, Gavin and his creative partners have made an impression .with their signature unconventional approach to sound in the reggae dancehall space, "Equiknoxx has crafted breakout hits for dancehall artists like Busy Signal (“Step Out”) and Aidonia (“Hundred Stab”), but only one of their riddims—2010’s Jim Screechie—reached that coveted state of dancehall saturation where the beat itself becomes the star of the show and every single artist who touches it can expect repeated spins" - Pitchfork.com/May 2017. Other production credits include Beenie Man, Capleton, Cali P, J.O.E, Shanique Marie, Spice, Vybz Kartel.

[Featured panelist: The Rising Global Impact of Jamaica's Music - November 12]


  Jason Bevan  Music/Video Producer/Co-founder  Synthdicate Music Studio

Jason Bevan
Music/Video Producer/Co-founder
Synthdicate Music Studio

Jason Bevans is based in New York city and is one of the founders of Synthdicate Music studio (Synthdicatemusic.nyc). He went to college for computer engineering and economics and is an accomplished software engineer for the past 15 years. In college he had a sound system and used to DJ throughout Florida and started beat making in 2001. He has been producing music in Jamaica since 2004 and gained experience from other Jamaican producers and artistes about the industry. Originally from Belize, he grew up listening to a lot of Jamaican and Trinidadian music and is passionate about creating timeless masterpieces. His team provides services such as recording, song composition, mixing and mastering, radio promos, videography, photography, graphic and web design.

[Featured panelist: The Rising Global Impact of Jamaica's Music - November 12]


  Michael Harris  Rector  The African Music Institute, Gabon

Michael Harris
Rector
The African Music Institute, Gabon

Since 1991, Michael has been a member of The Little People and Teen Players Club and a founding member of Ashe Caribbean Performing Arts Ensemble (Both are performing arts ensembles in Jamaica).

In 1996 Michael was accepted on scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. There, he studied voice and pursued a dual major in Music Synthesis and Contemporary Writing and Production.

Michael has also become a primary consultant with Digicel Rising Stars, acting as performance coach. Michael can also be seen regularly on television as one of the Judges on the High School Choir competition- TVJ’s All Together Sing.

Michael recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Music Technology Innovation from Berklee College of Music’s Valencia campus.

Michael is presently Executive Director of The African Music Institute in Gabon, set to be opened in 2018.

[Featured panelist: The Role of Education in the Music Industry - November 10]


  Owen "Blakka" Ellis  Writer/Educator/Performer Ellis International Ltd

Owen "Blakka" Ellis
Writer/Educator/Performer
Ellis International Ltd

Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis is a writer, educator and performing artist. Known mostly for his work in comedy, he has written scripts for stage, screen and television, taught English and Drama in high schools and lectured at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts for several years.  

He performed on Reggae Sun Splash and at international music festivals as percussionist/backing vocalist with dub poet Oku Onuora, and established his talent as an actor in two national pantomimes, numerous local plays and several television commercials.

In Canada, Blakka worked as drummer, choreographer and director for the Heritage Singers, director/dramaturge for writer and actress d’bi young, and as actor in the stage productions I Marcus Garvey and Letters from the Dead. His film & television credits include appearances in Warner Brothers’ ‘Club Paradise’, ABC TV’s ‘Going to Extreme, and Jamaican blockbuster ‘Dancehall Queen’. He has also performed at comedy festivals all over Europe, North America and the Caribbean either as a solo comedian or as part of the legendary Bello & Blakka duo.

He has penned two books of poetry, is a columnist for the Jamaican STAR, and has written lyrics for noted Jamaican singers including a song which placed 2nd in the JCDC popular song competition. 

Ellis studied Theatre Arts and Drama Education at the Edna Manley College, and Social Work at UWI. He has a Master in Environmental Studies [M.E.S.] degree from York University and is currently doing studies in pursuit of a PhD in cultural studies.

[Featured panelist: The Role of Education in the Music Industry - November 10]


  Mikki Sellton  Booking Agent/Event & Artist Mgt.  The Reggae Empire

Mikki Sellton
Booking Agent/Event & Artist Mgt.
The Reggae Empire

[Featured panelist: Artist Management 101 - November 12]


  Ronald "Ronnie" Burke, OD  Co-founder  Reggae Sunsplash

Ronald "Ronnie" Burke, OD
Co-founder
Reggae Sunsplash

After years of success as an insurance sales agent, Mr. Burke decided to follow his heart into the business of music, and along with schoolmate and friend formed Micron Music, a small record production and distribution company.

Micron was the first company to distribute only with Jamaican music and quickly boasted a top rated clientele which included the sale of Marley’s “Natty Dread” album which still holds the record for album sales in Jamaica. However Micron closed in 1976 due to lack of access to funds in manufacturing.

The Reggae Sunsplash festival came to fruition from the shared belief among Mr. Burke and co-founders Tony Johnson, Don Green, John Wakeling, and Ed Barclay that the Jamaican society had no idea of the international reach and popularity of Jamaican culture; highlighted by our indigenous music -- Reggae. As fate would have it, Berl Francis approached the group with a proposal from the Jamaica Tourist Board for a summer music festival to be staged during the dormant season. The rest is history.  

In August 2015 Mr. Burke was awarded the Order of Distinction (OD) by the Jamaican government in recognition of his contribution to the development of Jamaican music.

[Featured panelist: Effective Packaging of Jamaica’s Entertainment Product for the International MarketplaceNovember 10


  Andre' Adman  Director of Studies/ Head of Music Education  Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts

Andre' Adman
Director of Studies/
Head of Music Education
Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts

Andre' Adman has been teaching music for over 18 years in the Jamaican education sector. He has taught music at all levels and has a keen interest in the development of music education in the island.  He is currently the Director of Studies and Head of the Music Education Department at the School of Music, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

 He is a composer, singer/songwriter and storyteller who has dedicated his efforts to producing educational and inspirational resources for children and those who facilitate them.  His self-produced children’s album ‘I am Special’ continues to be a favorite among children and educators everywhere.

[Featured panelist: The Role of Education in the Music Industry - November 10]


  Matthew Silpot, M.Ed., B.A.  Music Education Officer  Ministry of Education Youth & Information

Matthew Silpot, M.Ed., B.A.
Music Education Officer
Ministry of Education Youth & Information

Matthew Silpot has been in the Performing Arts for over 20 years, from student competitor to teacher in the Jamaica Development Commission (JCDC) music festivals, member of the Little Theatre Movement’s Pantomime, and facilitator of music workshops in Jamaica and the diaspora.

Matthew has been a facilitator, panelist and director of workshops across the island of Jamaica and in the diaspora offering expertise in curriculum development, best practises and support for music education as well as instrumental and vocal development. He works closely with the Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE), the Caribbean Secondary Education Council (CSEC), and the Edna Manley School of Music, as external examiner; and the National Housing Trust (NHT) as consultant in development of a music program for communities to enhance nation building through music. Mr. Silpot has served as the Education Officer with responsibilities for Music in the Core Curriculum Unit with the Ministry of Education since 2014.

[Featured panelist: The Role of Education in the Music Industry - November 10}


  Nadine Sutherland, M.A.  Recording & Performing Artist

Nadine Sutherland, M.A.
Recording & Performing Artist

There are few artistes whose career intrigues different generations, Nadine Sutherland is one such. An artiste, whose talents are respected and admired in all age groups. Her voice heralded as one of the best in reggae music, her stage performances and hits captivating and breaking boundaries, her wide range of fans waiting to see what is next from this diva who constantly re-invents herself.

 The ‘child-star’ made her stage debut at the age of nine as winner of Jamaica’s popular
“Tastee Talent Contest” in 1979. International Reggae superstar Bob Marley signed her to his Tuff Gong label while she was a pre- adolescent. Nadine went from being known as Reggae’s “Teen Queen”, with hits including “Starvation” and “Until”; to garnering international acclaim as the co-lead on dancehall anthems “Action” and “Anything For You”. Considered by fans and critics alike to be the premier Jamaican female vocalist of her generation, Nadine continued to fulfill the promise she demonstrated as a child.
In today’s overtly sexual and over-produced music market, Nadine Sutherland makes a deliberate effort to portray a sense of style and sophistication. She is a multi -talented female performer, who has been described as “capable, sexy and hauntingly beautiful, with uncompromising flair and intelligence”.  Songs from her are now considered Reggae and Dancehall classics standing the test of time just like her. Her roots are embedded in the very heart of Jamaican culture. Although she has already accomplished so much in her life, Nadine has no intention of slowing down.

[Featured panelist: The Role of Education in the Music Industry - November 10}


  Louis Grant  Executive. Vice President  Irie Jam Media Group NY USA

Louis Grant
Executive. Vice President
Irie Jam Media Group NY USA

Louis Grant has enjoyed close to 20 years in media since he joined the team at Irie Jam Radio as Vice President and Executive Producer.  He has proven to be an integral and essential part of the organization’s directorship, applying his incredible negotiation and strategy skills to significantly contribute to the development and exposure of Caribbean radio particularly in the New York and greater tri-state area market.  The respect and recognition he has earned in the broadcast media and entertainment industries both at home and abroad, have served as testament to his commitment to, and the fulfilment of his personal philosophy – respect hard work, maintain integrity and continuously strive for improvement.

Today, Mr. Grant remains fundamental to the Irie Jam Media team and is jointly at the heart of the success of the numerous sub-products that have been a part of the company’s 20 years evolution, including Irie Jamboree, North America's premier reggae music festival.

{Featured panelist: Marketing to the Diaspora and Emerging Markets - November 10}


  Lorna Bennett  Attorney-at-law/Artiste Manager  Indiggnation Collective

Lorna Bennett
Attorney-at-law/Artiste Manager
Indiggnation Collective

Lorna Bennett is a reggae singer who twice topped the Jamaican singles chart in the early 1970s, and who is best remembered for her reggae version of "Breakfast in Bed".

Bennett began her musical career singing in nightclubs. At one of these performances, she was noticed by Geoffrey Chung of the Now Generation band, who nurtured her early recording career. . Inspired by her performance at the Epiphany nightclub, they recorded a version of ‘Morning Has Broken’. The single impressed producer Harry J., who in 1972 commissioned Chung to record Bennett’s rendition of ‘Breakfast In Bed’. The song was an instant success throughout the West Indies and made a significant impression with both the US and UK audiences.

Bennett has since pursued a successful career as an Attorney at Law, and is currently also Manager of reggae star Protoje, and Director of his label imprint, In.Digg.Nation Collective, which is also home to Jamaican singers Sevana, Lila Iké, and roots reggae selector Yaadcore.

[Featured panelist: Women Behind the Scenes of Jamaica's Music Industry - November 11]


  Sawandi Simon  Producer, DJ  Track 63 Music

Sawandi Simon
Producer, DJ
Track 63 Music

Sawandi spends his days as a General Practitioner and makes electronic music after hours.
He has a bi-monthly show: Interesting Music, Interesting Medicine on Antiguan health radio station, Healthy Choice FM. On it he shares interesting current medical research and interesting music, new or old, that he’s listening to at the time. Sawandi is also an alum of the Red Bull Music Academy and is the Ableton User Group organiser for Jamaica.

[Featured panelist: The Rising Global Impact of Jamaica’s Music - November 12]


  Robert Livingston  CEO  Scikron/Big Yard Music

Robert Livingston
CEO
Scikron/Big Yard Music

[Featured panelist: Artist Management 101 - November 12]