Photo by J. Wright (@WhoisJwright)
Atlanta, GA was home to the International Music Conference once again. Atlanta’s richly diverse musical community welcomed back another year of creative collaborations, power networking and talent showcasing at The International Music Conference 2015. Created in 2011 to educate, inspire and present viable opportunities within every aspect of the industry, this year’s conference continued to draw in crowds of international attendees as well as music enthusiasts from all over the nation.
The launch of this exciting 5-day event began with a private industry mixer. Held at Pulse Loft located within the Marriott Marquis Hotel in the heart of the city. The IMC opening night mixer set the tone for the other festivities; showcases held at Harlem Nights Ultra Lounge, a full day of informative panel sessions at the Marriott Marquis and the IMC Farewell "Brunch at Lunch" awards ceremony held at the monumental National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
To segue into the Producer Showcase, attendees were presented with a special addition to the conference lineup entitled “An Evening with… R&B Greats.” Hosted by music journalist Will Lavin, former Destiny’s Child member Latavia Roberson and ‘90s girl group lead singer of 702, Meelah, engaged fans with an insightful discussion about the genre’s evolution and forecasts of its future. Later in the evening, attendees experienced an intense lineup of beat presentations. Archie Utmos from Racine, Wisconcin won a once in a lifetime all expenses paid trip to London, England courtesy of the IMC after defeating some tough competition by impressing guest judges; artist manager, DeShawn Kennedy, CEO of Adella Thomas Management, Rico Brooks, Empire Distribution A&R Serge Durand and 5x Grammy Award Winning Engineer Jeremiah Adkins.
To reach fans and artists of all genres, the IMC 2015 also included a passionate discussion purposed to share knowledge, positive advice about the business, confront morality issues and foster interest among the general public within Gospel and Christian music. To tackle this comprehensive conversation artist Drea hosted a conversation among notable individuals in the genre such as President and CEO of Arrow Records Pastor Taffi Dollar, revolutionary artist Canton Jones and gospel songbird Dorothy McClung Lewis.
Taking the stage by storm in Friday night’s showcase, rap artist Layla Khepri from East Point, GA seized the grand prize package and the favor of the IMC judges. Among her competition were 7 other ambitious rap, R&B, pop, rock, and rap 'n' roll artists also hungry for the opportunity to perform for the coveted prize of IMC 2015's Best New Artists, among other prizes. Critiquing the showcase were experienced judges such as celebrity manager Corey Guevarra, A&R Bobby Jack Pressley, founder of Indiehitmaker Bram Bessoff and again, 5x Grammy Award Winning Engineer Jeremiah Adkins.
Day four consisted of informative networking, panel discussions, workshops and feedback sessions. Attendees enjoyed a number of educational sessions where they could obtain valuable information about the industry. These sessions covered how to properly invest in music careers, technological advancements, social media, marketing for optimal success, and novelty favorites such as Breaking Down the Beat and Five Decades of Hip-Hop. Conference Day also presented opportunities for upcoming artists to have their music heard and critiqued by expert panelists; artist manager David Melhado, Associate Director of ASCAP Atlanta Joncier Rienecker and A&R/manager of Timeless Music Management Charles Conner. The conference also included panelist appearances from; Tirrell Whitley (Liquid Soul Media), Jacob York (Electric Republic), Kawan Prather (Head of Music at iamOTHER), Ian Burke (VP of Live Music at You42), Patrick "Guitar Boy" Hayes (Award Winning Producer) and more. The Five Decades of Hip Hop panel was even moderated by AllHipHop's own Rea Davis and included Kawan Prather, Guitar Boy, and Debra Antney.
Sunday, marked the elegant conclusion of the conference. The IMC Farewell "Brunch at Lunch" Awards Ceremony hosted by popular Atlanta master of ceremonies; Taiye "The Wild Afrikan" Samuel allowed guests to enjoy a delicious brunch catered by Wolfgang Puck while the IMC awarded prominent influencers in the industry. Operations Manager at Radio One Atlanta, Hurricane Dave was awarded the IMC Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his 30 years plus reign in radio and broadcasting, while Atlanta’s Director of Entertainment LaRonda Sutton walked away with the most prestigious award of the afternoon, The Odyssey Award for the Progressive Development of Entertainment.
The IMC proudly partnered with You42, The City of Atlanta Entertainment Office, Indiehitmaker, Songsplits, Patchwerk, ASCAP, The Growth Group, Connectid-ATL and Meak Productions. After another amazing turnout and overwhelmingly positive feedback, the IMC has yet again, cemented its place as one of the most ground-breaking music conference’s in the country!
Check out more photos from the event below. Photo Credit: Pinkie Webster