2023 Houston Mentors
Vicky Hamilton is a Grammy Award-Winning music industry executive and personal manager, featured in VH-1s “Behind the Music”, “Driven” and the “Biography Channel” on Guns N’ Roses, Brett Michaels, and Mötley Crüe and the BBC series “Born To Be Wild”, “The Golden Age Of American Rock”. Considered one of the most successful music executives in the industry, Vicky has discovered, developed or managed the careers of Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe, Poison, Faster Pussycat and many others.
Dale’s first hit, while an engineer at the infamous Mushroom Studios, was a track on the Top Gun Soundtrack with Loverboy. Since then countless projects have benefited from Penner’s production/mixing, including; Nickelback’s The State (Roadrunner) certified platinum in America and Canada scoring Two Billboard Top Ten Singles (“Leader of Men” and “Breathe”). Dale received the “Producer of the Year” award at the WCMA’s for his work on Holly McNarland’s (Universal) platinum selling “Stuff”. Other Penner production credits include: The Matthew Good Band, Econoline Crush and Montreal’s Jonas (Certified Gold nominated for “Rock Album of the Year” at 2006 Juno Awards). In 2010 Dale was once again nominated “Producer of the Year” for Western Canada.
Other artists Dale’s been fortunate enough to record are: Shawn Hook, David GoGo, Grimskunk, Sass Jordan, Long John Baldry, Joey Santiago (Pixies), Jamie Walters, KD Lang, Jimmy Barr (Portishead), Helix, Barney Bentall, Valdy.
2016 projects include Rosemary & The Sweet Sound Revival’s Global Music Awards Medal winning CD “Plum Coulee My Home” and emerging Houston artist Sami Murphy.
“I feel very fortunate to have made a living doing what I love for more then 25 years. I continue to meet and work with some of the most talented artists”
Michèle Vice-Maslin is an Emmy Winning, #1 hit music producer/Music Arranger/ Songwriter, Music Publisher who composes (both music & lyrics) and produces- arrangers for artists/ films/television / ads/ promos/ games, etc. She has had numerous hit songs and cuts all over the world as well as over 5000 music placements. Her music can be heard on radio & television every day – 7 days a week/365 days a year.
A professional music industry photographer based in Houston, Texas since 2012.
Specializing in photographing artists live on stage capturing all their energy, personality, and passion. Has consulted on and conducted several photographic mini seminars on studio lighting, concert photography and composition techniques, and even artist performance quality. Recently his contributions to his local music community have been recognized and awarded with Black History Month Artist Diversity Recognition, and Congressional and Senatorial Certificates of Recognition.
He’s photographed many performances, concerts, and events like the Blues Music Awards, and the International Blues Challenge Week in Memphis. Many of those images can be seen on his social media & website gallery pages at www.ronfontenotphotography.com. He currently has an inventory of over 130,000 images of performing artists & musicians that represent over 60,000 individual artists and performers that no longer need to worry about where their images are.
His photography has taken him around the world & across the country; places like Memphis, Las Vegas, Maui, Honolulu, Thailand, Vancouver, Kansas City and New Orleans. His images have been used by artists in 16 countries and published in 5 magazines locally and internationally.
Known by his clients as “THE Musician’s Photographer”.
He’s had the opportunity to photograph artists like:
Roger Fisher (Founding member/composer of HEART)
Josh Dunham (bass player for Prince)
James “Boogaloo” Bolden (music director for BB King)
Shelley Carol (Duke Ellington Band)
Vinnie Colaiuta (drummer for Herbie Hancock)
Kenny Aronoff (Grammy award show band)
Sir Earl Toon (Kool and The Gang)
Timothy B Schmidt (The Eagles)
Jimmi Mayes (drummer for Jimmy Hendrix)
& many more!
“I have NEVER taken the opportunity of photographing these artists for granted. It truly is my greatest privilege to be asked to capture an artist’s performance on stage. Seeing their reactions as they look through the images; and hear “I know what song I was playing there!” The look on their faces at that point is pure magic for me!”
Past Board Member & Photographer of the Houston Blues Society
Is a current member of, and photographic contributor for:
The Houston Blues Society / The Houston Blues Museum / Gulf Coast Blues Association & Jazz Society
The Blues Foundation, Memphis / The Professional Photographers of America
The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (GRAMMY’S)
Robert S. Besser, Esq
Robert S. Besser, Esq. has spent forty years in Civil Trial and Appellate Practice in State and Federal Courts; extensive transactional work in Intellectual Property, Music Publishing, Entertainment and Oil and Gas law. The primary focus within the last 18 years has been Entertainment, Copyright, Trademark and Business Litigation, including general Civil Litigation, Copyright Infringement and audit claims.
Representative Clients have included: Eric Clapton, Waylon Jennings, Robin Williams, George Clinton, Chubby Checker, Art Linkletter, Music & Media International, Inc., Hal Leonard Music, Gusto Records Inc., Verse Music, LLC, Concord Records Group, Union Oil Company of California and Mobil Oil Corporation.
Robert S. Besser, Esq
Barry Coffing has amassed a great deal of credits and awards with over two hundred tracks placed in movies and TV, BMI songwriting awards, multiple #1 hits and an Emmy nomination. He continues to be the voice behind the scenes in movies like “Moulin Rouge”, the Brady Bunch movie, and Winnie the Pooh’s Grand Adventure. He wrote TV themes for California Dreams, The Pyramid starring Donny Osmond and The Heights. His song “How Do You Talk To An Angel” went on to become a #1 hit and selling over 500,000 copies worldwide. Currently he is a music business entrepreneur who represents over 12,000 record labels amd publishers for film and TV licensing. His company places hundreds of songs each year
Ashley Támar, author and powerhouse contemporary vocalist versed in opera, jazz, musical theatre and beyond, is known as the muse & protégé of Prince by gaining notoriety for co-writing their Grammy-nominated duet “Beautiful, Loved, and Blessed” (“3121”/Universal Republic). Ms. Davis’ is currently on tour with the Stewart Copeland Orchestra as well as a featured soloist on the upcoming album (June 2023). Adding to her jaw-dropping career, Ashley’s versatility translates to behind-the-scenes as well as the Music Supervisor, Clearance and Licensing Coordinator for various television/film projects: “Three Ways” (HULU), Ava DuVernay’s “Cherish the Day,” (Season II/OWN), “That Damn Michael Che,” (HBO MAX) and more. Ashley has graced the Walt Disney Hallstage with the LA Philharmonic, performed as Chief Linda in the BET+ sitcom “BRUH” and received raved reviews in the Broadway classic “Ain’t Misbehavin’. Ms. Davis carries the trojan torch as an alum of University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and is the author of an edutainment book and workbook for aspiring artists: “100 Things to Know as an Independent Music Artist.” In August 2021, Ms. Davis released her 4th independent album “My Name is Ashley” featuring Jason Moran, Mark Kelly, Mononeon, Eric Harland, and Jellybean Johnson (just to name a few) as a follow-up to her previously independently released albums: “My Name is Támar” and “I Am the Storm” via her company Syren Music Group, now known as Syren Entertainment + Media Group. With recent performances on NBC’s “The Voice: Season X,” Ashley Támar was recently nominated for Best Featured Actress in the critically acclaimed Broadway film “A Night with Janis Joplin” in which can now be streamed worldwide on BroadwayHD.com.
Ms. Támar is the lead actress of “A Topaz Troop,” a children’s television show circulating in numerous festivals including the Los Angeles International Film Festival. Davis has become a household name as a leading performer in numerous Tyler Perry/LionsGate productions set to DVDs across the globe. Though music is a conduit for reaching people through song, Ashley Támar has successfully initiated various community outreach projects: The Syren Arts Academy, the College, Career, and Empowerment Summit (Co-Founded with her mother, Dr. Carolyn Davis), the Támar Talks Podcast, Next Level Houston, and DocFest. Támar has performed an eleven-city national tour “Támar featuring Prince” as well as on Good Morning America, Saturday Night Live, the NAACP Image Awards, the BRIT Awards as well as having been featured in numerous magazinessuch as Glamour, Billboard, PEOPLE, and VIBE. A seasoned creative curator both on and off-stage, Ms. Támar is building a musical empire independently by securing effective outlets in which to display her sound and the sounds of artists to come. She has recently been named brand ambassador for Atlas Ocean Voyages and continues to develop innovative creative content with collaborators both nationally and internationally.
Recounting Danny Jones’ fascinating half century and still creatively flowing musical journey allows us a glimpse into the improbable, as a small town country boy from Northeast Arkansas with passion for music grows up to become one of those whirlwind forces of nature that changes lives groove by groove and chord by chord. His story as one of those ultimate industry hyphenates – producer, engineer, songwriter, drummer and well-respected educator –not only includes work over the decades with a spirited roll call of some of our country’s greatest superstars, but an endless series of colorful professional and personal anecdotes that illuminate the magic along the way.
As Danny recounts highlights from a career that’s found him vibing with everyone from Allen Toussaint, The Beach Boys and Stevie Ray Vaughan to Michael McDonald, Rufus Thomas and Pitbull, it’s not uncommon to hear him throw in a whimsical tangent out of sequence from the official timeline. When he’s talking about his annual gig mixing the jazz stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, for instance, the ever-evolving musical memory impressionism could roll like this: “I forgot to mention that I worked on and off with Bo Diddley for 20 years, the first time in the 70s when Bobby Vee got me the gig, the last time in the 90’s. And did you know that I was one of the engineers on the soundtrack to the Jerry Lee Lewis film ‘Great Balls of Fire’? Also, I was in 8th grade with one of the guys from Black Oak Arkansas, which came from the same part of the state. My band Montage opened for them during their 70’s heyday and I drummed with them in the 90s when they were on a festival tour with Foghat, Mountain, Iron Butterfly and Grand Funk.”
Chuck Sweeney founded Marathon Music Group with a singular focus: to develop financially sustainable careers for talented artists. His experience in artist management and booking has included support for the following artists: Will Carter Band, Morgan Ashley, Zach Neil, Remi Mae, Davi Jay & The Bourbon Street Experience, HogLeg Band, Oliver Penn, Dusty Neuman, Kate Watson, Gary Kyle, Jody Booth, National Park Radio, The Buffalo Ruckus, The Drugstore Gypsies, Charlie & The Regrets, Briana Adams, John Egan, Grand Old Grizzly, and many others.
A Houston, Texas native, Joshua T. Dada is regarded as a highly motivated, results-driven business professionals with 15 years of experience in leadership, marketing, and management this socially conscience entrepreneur has received national recognition from the United States Congress for being an outstanding business leader in the efforts to develop economical trade between the United States and Africa. Joshua is an Entertainment Entrepreneur. He is the CEO and Founder of Entertainment Connect, LLC an event Production Company and talent-booking agency founded to connect entertainers, athletes, and influencers to career-advancing opportunities.
With a Business Management degree from Prairie View A&M and Certification through Harvard’s Entrepreneurship program, this first-generation Nigerian represents a unique blend of cultural relevance and industry evolution. Joshua also serves as a business consultant who is dedicated to helping individuals and brands grow through strategic planning and implementation.
Joshua T. Dada is committed to the community outreach and development both locally and internationally as the founder of the 4 Charity Brand, board member of the Serenity Performing Arts Academy. He is celebrated for his efforts to ensure that communities with socioeconomic disadvantages globally are given opportunities and resources. He was featured as the “Millennial’s in Business” cover story in the Houston Defender, one of the most prestigious African-American publications in the United States.
Atop his achievements in business, Joshua T. Dada creates an even greater impact in his exceptional ability to convey messages to his clients, constituents, and followers through mentorship and speeches. Joshua is recognized as a speaker, panelist, event host and breakout session leader. This Certified Life Coach has been recognized as a District Area Toast Master’s Champion and uses these talents to drive his passions of helping heal and transcend the world to a better place through the ideals of purpose, freedom, and love.
Sam Bregman, Esq. is best known for building massive social media followings and communities that accelerate his clients’ influence and makes them money.
Sam and his agency have quickly become the go-to social media resource for A-list celebrities, Hall of Fame athletes, and those who’ve won Hollywood’s biggest awards — including Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, and Golden Globes.
Simultaneously, the agency leverages these same skillsets to help hundreds of entrepreneurs, business owners, and aspiring creators and influencers at all stages of their careers.
Labeled a “social media star” by outlets such as the Huffington Post, his work has been featured hundreds of times in major publications such as Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Inc., Fast Company, Yahoo, Bloomberg Radio, Reader’s Digest, MSN, etc.
Sam’s colorful background also includes conducting medical research at Harvard, a stint on Capitol Hill, hosting his own show on 97.5 FM in NYC, and serving as Campus Rabbi at the University of Miami and Columbia University.
A graduate of the Emory University School of Law, he is the Founder of The Law Offices of Samuel M. Bregman and has been practicing Business Law for 20 years.
In a recent interview with the ‘International Business Times,’ Sam explained that the seeds of his involvement in the media industry originated as a 24-year-old Rabbi and newly-licensed attorney who initially struggled to attract students and clients.
Realizing that being “super smart” was not good enough, he began to immerse himself in books about marketing and the topic of communication at-scale.
Along the way, he cracked the code on accessing the mainstream press and also became quite adept at social media, building a following of hundreds of thousands of followers for himself.
In March 2020, Sam became inundated with requests from friends and colleagues for social media and marketing assistance, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic pushing everyone online.
As a result, he launched Alpha Tribe Media, which has become one of the most sought-after and fastest-growing digital agencies in North America.
At his core, Sam regards himself as a “professional developer of human potential,” and he’s obsessed with adding value to people’s lives and seeing them happy, fulfilled, and enjoying the success they’ve always craved.
Darice is the CEO of Synapse Publishing & Entertainment, LLC , an Indie Record Label, Publishing, and Entertainment Company she founded in 2017. Darice is a supporter of the arts and has been a lifelong performer, dancer, innovator, musician, international speaker, educator, marketer, mentor, volunteer, award winning author and serial entrepreneur having founded multiple corporations and developing software over the past 40 years.
Darice has managed multiple local and national tours for performing artists, including a virtual tour during the pandemic, and is a member of the Independent Promoter’s Association. Her expertise is in creating growth for the independent artist both for medial tours, leveraging charitable organizations, and in putting together creative and economic methods for making and sharing musical performance.
She has served on multiple charitable Boards including for a community theatre group, alumni associations, music education charity, and was recently appointed to the Board of the Women Songwriters Hall of Fame. She has been a requested speaker, and contributor to expert panels for film and music festivals including TIFF, Sundance, Springboard, Sync Summit, and others.
Lu Ruenes is a singer songwriter, manager and producer from Mexico. She has a degree in Business from Tecnologico de Monterrey and a degree in Professional Music with a concentration in Music Technology and Contemporary Writing and Production at Berklee College of Music.
In 2020 she founded Inédita Records, a platform that promotes independent artists and creates new opportunities in booking, branding, songwriting, syncing and film scoring, She also had the opportunity to work as an intern at Music Supervisor and learned from the best.
As a notable speaker and LGBTQ inclusion trainer, 2AM Ricky has helped educators, students, business professionals, and community leaders nationwide to define language and best practices for transgender healthcare and education, inclusive branding, wellness for transmen, diversity in marketing, and mental health within the music industry. He currently leads social media and pop culture for Lambda Legal. Ricky has been featured as a keynote for Vanderbilt University, Out In Front Conference, TransTech Social, and more. He continues to educate independent artists and music industry professionals on navigating the industry while making entertainment more inclusive, one song and conversation at a time.
Skip was born in the Mile High City of Denver CO. His father being in the military for some 25 years resulted in the family living abroad for much of his adolescent life. His interest in music was nurtured at an early age, supported by his mother and father. Starting from 7 years old learning to play the accordion, then moving to the piano at 9 years, then on to the guitar at 11 years old and finally landing on the drums at 16. Skip’s professional drumming career landed him with a host of musicians and artists from independents to majors. He has performed with notable artists such as The Platters, Alphonse Mouzon, The Drifters, The Coasters, The Marvelettes, and Buddy Miles to mention a few.
Due to Skip’s love of reading, in 1999 along with his friend Melvin Boone, they developed a children’s reading show called Bigmouth & Knucklehead’s Readertainment. It was seen on a local TV channel and ran for 5 years.
In 2003 Skip retired from drumming and through relationships established with the TV show, the children’s show was moved to Radio Disney Denver. The show lasted a year on that station until Disney shut down their operations in the Denver market. That experience created in Skip a love for radio. Skip went looking for a station that would allow him to broadcast his idea for a Funk n Groove show that would primarily feature the music of independent artists but include majors as well. He was told by two commercially successful radio stations in the Denver market that his idea would never work. That show is called A Funk Above The Rest and it is now internationally syndicated on both terrestrial and digital stations and heard in over 180 countries!
Next came opportunity to host TV Shows. Skip now host’s 3 TV programs, Video Vibez – The Eclectic Side and Skip’s Artist Showcase. Both programs can bee seen on the Sparkx TV channel and BNJ TV on Roku, Amazon Fire and Kodi TV (Germany). Skip serves as a fill in host and producer to the award-winning show broadcast out of Dayton OH, Funk Chronicles, interviewing artists in support of the Funk!
Skip has been featured on the TV show out of Albuquerque NM “The After After Party (seen on The CW Network), was a guest interviewer on Larry Dunn’s (Earth Wind & Fire keyboardist and musical director) life story DVD titled N2 The Journey, has served as a judge for 3 seasons with the Independent Music Awards Program and is a media representative of OMC (Our Movie Club), a production company which produces clean family friendly entertainment. Lastly, he has hosted/emceed numerous charitable fundraisers, and has booked, organized, and promoted
many dignitary events, concerts, and festivals.
In 2021 SMS Novel’s Publishing reached out to Skip about writing his biography. That book is now available under the title “How I Became A Funktologist!”
Henry Turner, Jr.
Musician, vocalist, guitar player, composer, producer, promoter and music business entrepreneur Henry Turner Jr. is an integral part of the Louisiana Music scene. For the past forty years his intricate and syncopated style of music is now referred to as – Louisiana Blues, Soul, Funk and Reggae.
Turner founded the Ultimate Louisiana Party in 2011 which has since grown into the annual Baton Rouge Mardi Gras, Soul Food and Taste of the Deep South festivals.
Henry Turner Jr.’s Listening Room was founded in 2014 and Henry Turner Jr.’s Listening Room Museum Foundation was founded in 2019. Both entities introduce and mentor new talent in the ever changing music industry and give established talent a place to introduce new material.
“Music Dreams…An American Story” a half hour documentary debuted in 2020, focusing on the evolution of his music, from funk to Top 40, reggae to blues. “We’re Going Down the Mardi Gras,” focuses on founding of his festival. Turner also produced “Henry’s Listening Room,” a weekly television series, airing in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Music Ambassador Awards include the Louisiana Office of Tourism, Lt. Governor’s Office, Slim Harpo and receiving Henry Turner Jr. Day Proclamations on October 28, 2015 and 2017.
Henry Turner, Jr.
Eric L. Cager
Eric L. Cager is the Founder and Director of the 26 years old Cutting Edge CE Conferences and Events (formerly Cutting Edge Music Business Conference). Based in New Orleans, Cutting Edge produces a multi-level series of professional seminars, festivals, artists showcases and special events that focus on the history of music in America. Highlighted events include the Cutting Edge Entertainment Law Seminar, CE Music Business Sessions, and the NewWorks Artists Showcase.
An adjunct instructor and consultant, teaching in the Music Industry Program, he co-produced the Delgado Music Festival and the Delgado Songwriting Contest raising awareness and scholarship funds for the college’s music department. A significant consultant on the re-development of the 1950 era Historic Carver Theater re-opened in 2015. He works to redevelop/recognize Chitlin’ Circuit venues for both their historical significance but also as entrepreneur opportunities in minority communities.
Eric L. Cager
Eddie Neam was born in Rockville, MD USA where he grew up under the influence of his father, who was a creative that taught him to become a jack of all trades in the music industry. This lesson instilled a passion in him for music and as early as high school he was passing out mixtapes building his career. This workflow from a young age led him to become one of the most prolific independent music moguls of the modern era. His stage name, Dj Flip is renowned throughout the world for creating independent record labels and breaking independent and major artists into the music industry.
With worldwide recognition, Dj Flip became the face of iHeart Radio in Ft. Myers, FL where he built connections in the industry and gave artists a platform to be discovered. His status grew to the point of being able to break records for superstar singles like Tyga’s “Taste” and Tory Lanez’ “Talk To Me” which received multi-platinum certifications. Accompanying those accolades are his mixshow edits with Def Jam Recordings for Kanye West and other major artist. Dj Flip’s success, however, wasn’t overnight and came at a heavy price, but one that paid off big time. With a dream to become the music sensation he is, he left the radio station, club residency, friends, and artists behind to step into the huge shoes he now fills.
Born and raised in Houston, TX, Sly is an innovative creative & branding therapist in the entertainment industry with over 12 years over experience.
Sly started out as a graphic designer and promoter. Her clever designs and marketing campaigns led her to work with major musical artists and labels, including Warner Music Group, No Limit, Jet Life and The Chopstars. She has also branded artists and done creative work for many such as De’Wayne & NLE Choppa, and others that have gone on to collaborate with Dizzy Wright & Masego, and rock major tours with Jessie J, Willow & Alternative band, Chase Atlantic.
In more recent years, she took a leap of faith and moved to Atlanta, GA where she cultivated her passion for branding. This guided her to creating The Clever Group, a creative branding agency that provides unique branding and marketing for startups, businesses & talent. The Clever Group is also home of Brand Therapy, a practice created by Sly, that helps business owners & talent understand more about their branding is and guides them through their own goals of marketing success. She currently serves on the board of the global organization, Women in Music, the ATL chapter as Assistant Vice Chair of Communications. She is now back in her hometown working on her new start up, Popmantra, a Web 3 ticketing platform that allows users to explore events, purchase admission, receive digital collectibles for attending events while gaining rewards for collecting.
Founder, Brand Therapist, Creative, Sly Roque is using her passion for creativity and branding to build brands and to help others establish, and seek out, their own passion and dreams.
I was born in Goliad, Texas. It’s the 3rd oldest town in Texas and after high school I moved to Corpus Christi, Texas to attend TAMUCC. During my second semester of college I began my radio career. In Corpus Christi, I worked for 102.3 The Planet, 103.7 KOUL, 1440 KEYS and Hot Z95.
In 2010, I moved to San Antonio to work for The New 94.1 KTFM. In 2012, I was named Music Director Of The Year of large market radio stations by S.I.N.
In 2014, I moved to Houston to work for CBS Radio and can currently be heard on 100.3 The Bull. I host afternoon drive from 3-7 Monday through Friday.
I’m an avid reader, golfer, swimmer and writer. I blog everyday and boast over 28 million views. Follow me on Twitter @kingnickrusso and on Snapchat at mrnickrusso
Laura Cervantes is the President/CEO of LACE Agency Group, a Public Relations/Booking and Managing Firm specializing in Hispanic Talents, media relations, marketing communications, and spokesperson training. Laura is known for having an extensive experience as a publicist for celebrities, professional athletes, products, and brands. She has secured coverage in local and national publications.
She books different Latino Artists through Texas and USA. In the past she had managed several Singers.
Laura possesses a high professional level of experience and competence and has demonstrated broad knowledge, expertise, and professional judgment in the Music field.
In addition to her daily job requirements, Laura advocates for music, education, women’s rights, and fine arts.
She serves as a Co-Chair of Women in Music, also she is member of Hispanic Leadership Council of Houston Symphony, Capitan of Scholarship Gala of Houston Livestock and Rodeo, also she is Director of Pan American Round Table of Houston, and Founder of Expo Autism.