For nearly five years, Sara Anwar has worked under the wing of one of the entertainment industry’s most prolific pop culture icons: Sean Diddy Combs. As the right hand to the President of Bad Boy Entertainment, she was able to turn her devotion to all things Hip Hop into a career. While working at Bad Boy, Sara has helped seek new talent, work closely on events, promotions, handling Combs’ personal affairs and assist in building brands, including Ciroc and MTV’s “Making The Band.” However she earned her stripes prior to Bad Boy. In 2004 her career began in Chicago allowing her to coordinate and execute successful events for Kanye West, T.I., Trey Songz, Danity Kane and Lupe Fiasco. Upon graduating Columbia College Chicago in 2006, she moved to NYC to further her career. Working in various roles in street/radio promotions, marketing, A&R, publicity and beyond for Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group, Sony Music, iStandard Producers, and currently Bad Boy/ Interscope Records, she has had the opportunity to work alongside the industry elite. Learning first hand from moguls such as Diddy, Jimmy Iovine, Clive Davis, Jay-Z, Russell Simmons and Kevin Liles, she has taught herself to master the definition of the phrase “finding a needle in a haystack” and never taking “NO” for an answer. Sara’s passion and love for the art and business of music is what keeps her motivated, focused and determined. She also finds her experiences as a part-time professor at Columbia College Chicago just as motivating and inspiring.
Chicago’s production duo Da Internz (Ernest “Tuo” Clark and Marcos “Kosine” Palacios) have produced for many of hip-hop/R&B’s heavy hitters such as John Legend, Chris Brown, Greyson Chance, Nas, Ludacris, Rihanna and Big Sean. Their songs include Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake,” Sean Kingston & Justin Bieber’s “Eenie Meenie,” Big Sean “Dance (A$$),” Greyson Chance “Waiting Outside The Lines,” and Mims’ “Move (If You Wanna),” among others.
Andrew Barber is the founder of Fake Shore Drive, a top rated Chicago-based urban music website, founded in 2007. Andrew is a personality on 107.5 WGCI’s Tony Sculfield & The Morning Riot, and the Midwest correspondant for MTV2’s new program The Week In Jams. Andrew also contributes as a writer for Complex Magazine and other notable publications. He’s been featured in the Chicago Tribune and New York Times, and guested on MTV, NPR and BET.
Based in New York, press and publicity veteran Melissa Victor is the Vice President of Media and Artist Relations at Island Def Jam Music Group, handling press and media initiatives for designated artists on IDJMG’s all-star roster of multi-platinum, award-winning artists including Justin Bieber, The Wanted, Ludacris, Q-Tip, Jhene Aiko, and more. Ms. Victor works closely with the East Coast and West Coast staffs on behalf of the artists and executives of Island Records, Def Jam Recordings and Mercury Records. These duties include exposure on television, the Internet, and in print media.
Prior to joining IDJ, Ms. Victor spent four years as Director, Publicity and Artist Relations, for Virgin Records, where she handled campaigns on behalf of Lenny Kravitz, Joss Stone, Big Boi (of OutKast), Janet Jackson, and others. She began her career in music in 2001, as a Publicity Assistant for Interscope Records. After two years, she moved to Arista Records in the same capacity. With the change at Arista in 2004, she was appointed Publicity Coordinator for the J Records / Jive Records division of Sony BMG Music. Ms. Victor attended Spelman College in Atlanta, where she graduated in 2001, with a major in Political Science and a minor in English Literature.
As Senior Director of Creative Affairs for ASCAP’s (American Society of Composers and Producers) Rhythm & Soul Creative Team, Jay Sloan has established himself as a talented, well-rounded music industry professional. He began honing his skills in the Urban A&R Department at Warner Chappell. After a successful four-year term at Warner/Chappell, Sloan developed a vast knowledge of music publishing and gained working relationships with musical talents such as Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Bryan Michael Cox, Jazzy Phae, India Arie and Mack 10. His artistic background also includes notable credits in other entertainment driven areas including Marketing, Promotions, and Artist Management.
In his current position as Senior Director of Creative Affairs, Sloan assist overseeing ASCAP’s Rhythm & Soul Creative Team and handles affiliate ASCAP members, he coordinates several events, showcases, local and national educational panels and conferences. In conjunction with these duties, Jay Sloan is also known for creating strategic alliances between ASCAP members and A&R and publishing executives, many of which have resulted in profitable collaborations to date. Not only has Sloan worked with chart toppers such as Ne-Yo, Usher, Jermaine Dupri, Timbaland, Outkast, Miguel, Keyshia Cole and Johnta Austin, to name a few, but he continually boosts ASCAP’s roster by signing songwriters and producers like songwriter James Fauntleroy (“No Air” Jordan Sparks), songwriter Andre Merritt (“Disturbia” Rihanna), producer Brian “BK” Kennedy (“Forever” Chris Brown) , producers Da Internz (“Ass” Big Sean & “Birthday Cake” Rihanna) and Erika Nuri (“When I See You” Fantasia).
Among his many noteworthy mentions, Jay Sloan is truly recognized for his true passion for the art of music. He is an advocate of music education and enrichment, through board memberships with some of the most esteemed music organizations in existence. He is currently on the Board for the Los Angeles Chapter of The Recording Academy. He has also served on the National Board of Directors for AIMP (Association of Independent Music Publishers) from 2005 until 2007, he’s currently a member of NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts & Science) and member of NARIP (National Association of Record Industry Professionals). Jay Sloan continues to raise the bar with many contributions and endeavors in the industry. He is well on his way to the forefront of the music business world.
A homegrown Chicagoan whose been playing music for most of his life, William Saad first learned about the wonderfully intricate world of Music Licensing while studying music business at Columbia College. During his junior year of college, Will dove head first into the even more complex world of Music Rights Management as an intern at global music licensing company, Music Dealers. In less than a year’s time Will was brought on board at Music Dealers to lead the Rights Management department, a position he still maintains today. In this role Will works closely with PROs worldwide, aids in the creation of music rights management solutions for top brands such as Coca-Cola, helping recoup unclaimed and missed royalty payments for both the clients and Music Dealers’ artist community of over 15,000 independent artists around the world.