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Pilot project speakers

Larry Batiste

Career building/entrepreneurship

Larry Batiste’s career in the entertainment industry spans over 30 years. He has worked with some of the most successful new, and legendary artists of all time. Whether it is music production, songwriting, recording sessions, performance, education, or musical directing the GRAMMY Awards Pre-Telecast or TEC Awards at NAMM, his talent for understanding and working in all genre’s of music makes him an asset in almost any musical situation.
Batiste’s musical associations read like a “who’s who” of the entertainment industry. His recording career started when he joined the group Bill Summers & Summers Heat. He co- wrote and produced the group’s top ten hit single, “Call It What You Want”. After a few years of recording and touring with Summer’s Heat, he went on to work on various other multi- genre projects. His vocal performance credits include: Michael Bolton, Whitney Houston, Huey Lewis & The News, Puff Johnson, The Tubes, The Magical World of Disney (theme song), Sims (Playstation), Leap Frog Education, NBA Warriors’ Basketball theme, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Stuart Little, Snow Dogs, and Rent (the movie).
Batiste is co-owner of Pure Delite Music, a production, arranging, and publishing company, with business partner, Claytoven Richardson. Batiste and Richardson was commissioned by the Oakland East Bay Symphony to compose and orchestrate two compositions for full orchestra and 200 voices, which premiered in 2013. They also co-produced and arranged horns and strings on Charlie Wilson’s number one Billboard single, “You Are”, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for “R & B Song of The Year” in 2012. Batiste most recently performed and wrote vocal arrangements on Roberto Fonseca’s Latin Jazz CD entitled “Yo”, which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2014. Other arrangements and productions from Batiste include Al Jarreau, Patti Austin, Merl Saunders, The Stylistics, Nicolas Bearde, and E. C. Scott. He has written, performed and recorded on projects such as: Stevie Wonder, Young Jeezy, Ledisi, Keysha Cole, Steve Miller, Dweezil Zappa, Chaka Khan, Lenny Williams, Trombone Shorty, Joe Satriani, Larry Carlton, David Pack, Lalah Hathaway, Pinetop Perkins, Koko Taylor, Chuck Levell (Rolling Stones), Bob Weir, Khia, Orianthi, Steve Vai, Kim Burrell, Kelly Price, Tyrese, Hugh Masekela, and Neil Young. His songs have appeared in various films and TV shows. Batiste has also been the musical director for the theater productions of “Pajama Game”, “Moms” starring Whoopi Goldberg, and “Jukebox” starring Danny Glover. He has recently completed production on Grammy nominated recording artist, John Lee Hooker Jr’s new CD and is writing a book entitled “The Art & Business of Songwriting” for Oxford University Press due in late 2015.
“I want to make life better for creators of music” says Batiste, who is very active in community service as a volunteer, educator, and youth mentor. He has received various accolades for his work in the music and business communities, youth mentorship, music advocacy, and education efforts. Such acknowledgements include proclamations from Member of the Assembly, Barbara Lee, two “Keys to the City” of Oakland, and “Larry Batiste Day” in the City’s of San Francisco and Oakland, California. He is in the process of recording his original composition entitled, “Oakland, You Are My Song” which was proclaimed as an official song for the City of Oakland. Batiste was a recipient of the Bay Area Blues Society “Lifetime Achievement Award” (2005), and the “Outstanding Leadership and Achievement Award” from Melange Productions in 2012. Batiste’s volunteer work also includes: Music In Schools Today (Board Member), Museum of Performance & Design (Board Member), and The Recording Academy (Trustee, Board Member).

Tajai Massey

Beyond the music

Tajai Massey, known by the stage name, Tajai (born April 21, 1975), is an American rapper and producer. He is one of the four founding members of Oakland, California-based underground hip hop group Souls of Mischief, and, with the Souls of Mischief, a part of the eight-person, alternative hip hop collective, the Hieroglyphics.

Elliot Cahn

Contracts/Record label

Elliot Cahn started his music career as a singer and guitarist. While at Columbia University he and some friends started a band called Sha Na Na (named after a scat line in the ’50’s hit “Get A Job”). The band found international fame after playing at the Woodstock Festival, and Elliot toured and recorded with them for 4 album cycles. Elliot left the band and played with ex-Sha Na Na member Henry Gross for another year, before moving to Bay Area and continuing his education at the University of California Berkeley where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree, Law Degree, and a Master’s Degree in Jurisprudence & Social Policy.
After finishing school, Elliot worked as the director of the litigation support program at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI International), where he specialized in advising attorneys on jury selection in high stakes trials, taught at the law school of the University of Santa Clara, and returned to the music business in 1975.
Over the past twenty-three years, Elliot has served as attorney for Primus, Papa Roach, Rancid, Exodus, The Offspring, Luce, Charlie Hunter, Ocean Park Music Group, and producers Mark Needham, Jim Scott, and Bryan Todd, as well as a number of independent record labels, publishing companies, merchandise companies, and film producers. He has managed the careers of Green Day (through the Dookie album which sold fifteen million albums worldwide and won a Grammy for best rock album), Testament, Fisher, guitarist Justin King and R&B songstress Goapele.
Elliot was the CEO of a joint venture label with MCA Records and has music supervised two major studio films: Kevin Smiths’ Mall Rats and Angus. He has appeared on music panels for conferences run by South By Southwest, CMJ, The Austin Music Foundation, California Lawyers for the Arts, Music Tech Summit and the Westcoast Songwriters Association, and is a frequent guest lecturer at colleges and law schools around the Bay Area.

Tracy L. Reed

Founder/Executive Producer TraMaí Entertainment, Inc- event planning

Tracy L. Reed was born with the driven desire to make waves in the music industry. Realizing that knowledge in law and contracts is the essential foundation of the entertainment industry, she pursued a career in law. She attended St. Mary’s College and received a BA in Law Studies, and an American Bar Association Approved Paralegal Certificate in ‘04. She worked in the legal field drafting and negotiating contracts for 4 years before pursuing a Masters Degree in Music Business from Full Sail University. Tracy took her education one step further by becoming an active member in music industry professional organizations such as The Recording Academy (Producers of the Grammy Awards), National Association of Recording Industry Professionals (NARIP) and American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). Making powerful connections and gaining strength and momentum through knowledge, Tracy was ready to take the first step in making her dreams come true.
By retaining the inspiration of such powerful businesswomen as the iconic media mogul Oprah Winfrey and Sylvia Rhone, President/CEO of Universal Records/Motown, she set about starting her own entertainment company, TraMaí Entertainment. Remembering her own experience trying to make it early on in the music business, and unable to due to lack of knowledge, she set out with a passion for helping independent artists arm themselves with information to help them succeed in the industry. Tracy also wanted to do something positive for her hometown of Oakland, CA, by bringing revenue to the city and showing the world what Oakland has to offer in terms of an entertainment scene. With the success of the 2011 California Music Industry Summit, she is determined to come back a second year, and produce the 2012 California Music Industry Summit, which promises to be the best year for the summit yet.

Shawn Granberry

WatchNow Networks team

Mr. Granberry is CEO of Watch Now Networks, Inc. and has worked in the entertainment industry for over 25 years. While still in high school he worked in the A&R department in his uncle’s 2-Tuff-E-Nuff productions where his mother was the CEO. 2-Tuff-E-Nuff productions worked with such artist and companies as Toni, Tone’, Tony, En Vogue, Madonna, Club Nouveau,Con Funk Shun,Timex Social Club, Regina Belle, Alexander O’neal, BET Networks, ABC and Fox networks.
In high school Mr. Granberry also teamed up with Shakir Stewart to produce some of the biggest parties Oakland, CA has ever seen for high school students. While attending UC Berkeley he continued his entertainment career by creating several very popular club nights and concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area. After college Mr. Granberry worked as a close confidant to Shakir Stewart and also continued to produce events like, Def Jam’s “How To Find A Mega Star”. Mr. Granberry also worked very close with famed movie producer Robert Watts at Transformer Entertainment. While working with Stewart and Watts, Mr. Granberry began researching the new broadcast model now known as Over the Top Broadcasting.
After returning to UC Berkeley to fully study this model, Mr. Granberry founded Watch Now Networks, Inc. Mr. Granberry’s passion is working with inner city youth so he also founded The Scholar Athletic Union and Bears Youth Basketball with help from childhood friend Jason Kidd and works very close with Stanford and UC Berkeley faculty to help young people achieve a college education and survive the dangers of the streets.


Professional musician, vocalist, mbira & percussionist & Biotech professional

A Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, a Minor in Chemistry, a Master’s of Science in Analytical Chemistry in the works, an athletic & tennis scholarship round out this diversely talented being. With certain artists, the craft runs so pure in the blood that simply bearing witness to their work has the power to transport you to another time and place. Piwai is such an artist. Her soulful voice and dynamic stage presence command attention while offering a transformational experience. Her passion for song, dance, and community is a gift to the world.
Born in Zimbabwe, Piwai was surrounded by music from an early age. Her first influences include music from the Shona and Ndebele people of Zimbabwe, Suthu and Zulu tribes, and the Zimbabwean Catholic Church. She joined her first choir at the age of 10, wrote her first song at age of 13, and hasn’t stopped since. Piwai went on to study under renowned percussionists Yagbe Onilu and Butch Haynes, trained vocally at the Jazz School of Berkeley, and delved into the mbira – a traditional African instrument associated with profound spiritual union – with maestro Cosmas Magaya.
As an incredibly gifted songwriter, Piwai captures both the delicate and the difficult aspects of life. She fearlessly explores the wide realm of the human condition – rom raising awareness about war to capturing the inner world of children. Her lyrics evoke a powerful healing force. A deep commitment to crossing borders and uniting cultures has broadened Piwai’s musical horizons to vast proportions. She taps into a variety of musical roots, drawing from an eclectic blend of rabi, jazz, blues, traditional folk and reggae. She flows easily from one genre to the next and one language to another, including English, Shona, French, Spanish, Lingala, Zulu, Xhosa, Swahili, Georgian, and Turkish Judeo Spanish.
Empowered by constant expression, Piwai’s creative gifts continue to expand. She began conducting workshops to facilitate dialogue between Christianity and African religions, with a book forthcoming. She also sponsors several orphanages in support of HIV orphans and victims of childhood molestation.
Unquestionably, music is an umbilical cord that connects Piwai’s insightful perspective to the universal pulse. She is inseparable from melody and movement; a vehicle for the healing and inspiring properties of sound. For Piwai, music is all-encompassing: “The sum total of my very existence and every action I make manifests in music – the rhythm of my life.”

Adam Berkowitz

Legal 101

Adam Berkowitz is IBO’s Projects Coordinator. Adam works on business development strategy and project design and implementation for IBO’s social justice initiatives and IBO Institute’s Research and Training programs.
Prior to joining IBO, Adam worked as an independent consultant on rule of law initiatives and international development projects. He received his LL.M. in international law from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School. He has previously worked as a prosecutor in Argentina practicing international commercial law, and as an advocate for low-income clients involved in family, housing, and criminal matters.

Kev Choice

Life of a musician

Pianist. Emcee. Producer. Bandleader. Sideman. Music historian. Kev Choice wears many hats, and all of them fit. Blessed with prodigious talent, plus the skill and dedication to his craft to pull it off, the Oakland-based artist is redefining what it means to be a musician in this day and age. Not too many classically-trained pianists who hold Master’s degrees in jazz can rock microphones with blazing-hot 16s. Yet such versatility comes natural to Choice, whose diverse array of influences ranges from Prince to Rakim to A Tribe Called Quest to Stevie Wonder to McCoy Tyner to Chopin and Ravel.
Choice remembers being “heavily into vinyl” as a young child, which helped him to develop his ear for music. He began playing piano at age 11, and was soon recognized as a prodigy. As a teenager, Choice played in classical and jazz ensembles as part of the UC Berkeley Young Musicians Program, and continued his studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans)–where he graduated with a (BM) in music– and Southern Illinois University (Carbondale)–where he graduated with a (MM) in music. Post-grad school, Choice became an in-demand sideman, recording and touring with the likes of Michael Franti and Spearhead, Lyrics Born, Too $hort, Ledisi and Goapele. In 2007, Lauryn Hill asked him to be her musical director, a gig which took him to 12 countries. Hill, he says, “was very influential in my musical development as an artist ” – exposing him to Ethiopian and world music, rock and reggae.
Working with L-Boogie, Choice reflects, “showed me that I was capable of anything and that I should always be pushing myself musically, never get comfortable in your abilities, and always speak and say what you feel in your music without compromise.” He’s since added to his international resume by touring Europe with The Coup, and has also worked with Dwele, Martin Luther, Amel Larrieux, Omar, Joi, and Souls of Mischief. But Choice isn’t just a sideman. As a solo artist, he’s opened for Robert Glasper, Mos Def, Digable Planets, DJ Quik, and J Davey. He leads a jazz-hip-hop-funk big band, the Kev Choice Ensemble, in addition to producing and performing his own material, which includes original jazz and classical compositions as well as classical- , jazz-, and funk-inspired hip-hop.
Currently based in his hometown of Oakland, Choice has also spent considerable amount of time in the South and Midwest, attending college in Louisiana and Illinois and living for awhile in Atlanta. “I may travel and dip to different places from time to time, but The Town will always be home,” he says. “I grew up in Oakland so I definitely have a strong connection to the city and community.“ Today’s state of black music, particularly mainstream rap, is a concern for many, including Choice, who imparts, “the subject matter is often very offensive, and centered around money, sex, drugs, and other subjects that aren’t positive… I definitely feel we need more of a balance again.” Choice aims to not only return hip-hop to the cultural standards it once had, but surpass the genre’s creative peak by adding new layers of musical nuance into beats, rhymes, and swaggadoccio. His artistic vision, he says, is to be “an artist that combined Hip-Hop with a type of musicality that has never been done” and to “make conscious Hip-Hop music that is also accepted on a mainstream level.”

Ian Brennan

Music production, international projects

Ian Brennan is a GRAMMY-winning record producer and has produced three GRAMMY-nominated records (World Music- 2011, Best Traditional Folk- 2006 and 2007).
In the studio, he has worked with the likes of Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Kyp Malone & Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio, Rain Machine), Flea, Tinariwen, Lucinda Williams, David Hidalgo (Los Lobos), Nels Cline (Wilco), DJ Bonebrake & John Doe (X, the Knitters), Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), Peter Case, Bill Frisell, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Jonathan Richman, Richard Thompson, and more. With live concerts, he has produced shows of up to 15,000 people in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington (DC), Portland (OR), Tucson, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, and Boston with artists as diverse as Green Day, Fugazi, Merle Haggard, film-maker John Waters, Kris Kristofferson, Tammy Faye (Bakker), the Blind Boys of Alabama, Vic Chesnutt, Peaches, and the Vienna Boys Choir. These shows have raised over $100,000 for local charities and political causes.
In the field, some of the artists that he has discovered and produced are The Good Ones (Rwanda), Wayo: Trance Percussion Masters (South Sudan), Acholi Machon, and the Malawi Mouse Boys. Many are the first releases internationally outside of their respective countries in the languages of each band. The Mouse Boys’ debut was named “the year’s best gospel album” by Songlines Magazine. The record General Paolino featuring Mama Celina was named one of the “Top 8 African Releases of 2013” by Renegade Magazine.

Gian Fiero

Empowerment/networking/life coach

Gian is the CEO/founder of Fiero Flair, an empowerment company located in the San Francisco Bay Area providing professional & personal development services and products. Gian’s passion, focus, and expertise is helping people identify and remove barriers to growth that limit success at work, in careers & in life. He is a celebrated media/public speaker offering keen insights on how
to improve one’s career & life success.
SPEAKING CREDENTIALS – 10,000+ Speaking Hours, Top Rated SBA Speaker , Adjunct Professor (SFSU)
SPEAKING TOPICS – Work/Career/Life Challenges, Professional/Personal Development, Success Principles
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND – Coaching/Counseling/Consulting, Management (Personal & HR), Teaching
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND – Psychology (multiple disciplines), Business Administration, Music Business Operations
PUBLICATIONS – So What Do You Do?: A Simple and Effective Guide to Career Planning & Development – better ( A collection of Gian’s articles on how to think, work, and live better) – What It Really Means to Be True To Yourself
BRANDED EVENTS – A Conversation with Gian Fiero, Face the Music!

Colin Gordon


Colin James Gordon is a producer, music director and drummer from San Francisco, CA.
He is the founder of the media company + Music Group (
+ Music Group produces music and events worldwide for a wide host of clientele.

Jessica Hammond

Content/film/music distribution – Enabledware

Jessica Hammond is the Director of Product Development for Enabledware, a software company Headquartered in Santa Cruz, CA. In this role she manages a global development team responsible for the implementation of internal software solutions for organizations such as Cisco, NetApp, and Master Communications. She maintains responsibility for the development and responsiveness of the MediaHUB platform, an Enabledware product. Jessica formally worked as the Executive Director for the National Media Market and Director of Operations for the Video Project.

Noah Hall

Data and music

Noah Hall is a graduate of San Francisco University’s Marketing program and is currently the senior manager of internal systems for Magnif.FM. He has been an avid music lover and passionate studio engineer for over a decade.

Dan Koplowitz


Experienced entrepreneur and music industry professional with a deep rolodex and extensive knowledge of label operations, publishing and synchronization licensing, client management, event planning, marketing/PR, branding and strategy, and the changing digital landscape. Capable of executing multiple simultaneous projects under tight deadlines and working effectively with people both within and without the creative industries. I’m pretty damn good at making awesome things happen.

Justin Maxson

Bandpage and the current state of music tech

Lisa-Felicia Akorli


Lisa-Felicia Akorli is passionate about resolving violent conflict, particularly through multi-stakeholder collaboration and women’s empowerment. In fall 2015, she will begin a Master in Public Policy program at Harvard Kennedy School. There, she will focus on building skills in negotiation, mediation, international diplomacy and public-private partnerships. She graduated from Harvard College in 2012 (BA, Government). After, she spent one year conducting international law research at an NGO in The Hague and the following year doing development work at an inner-city youth development nonprofit in New York. She is half Dutch (born in Amsterdam), half Ghanaian and grew up in Phoenix, AZ. She is an improvisational comedian and loves music. Sometimes she has solo dance parties in her room.

Ashel Seasunz

Music as a tool for social change

AshEL “Seasunz” Eldridge, MA. Transpersonal Psychology, originally from Chicago, now residing in Oakland, is an author, visionary, life coach, educator, public speaker, musician, artist, healer, and consultant. He is the founder of Earth Amplified, a multimedia arts collective and spiritual activist movement dedicated to restoring the balance within the people and with the planet through spiritual liberation. AshEL was a Northern California Education and Media Manager with the Alliance for Climate Education and is still a Green For All Fellow. He is a co-founder of United Roots – Oakland’s Green Youth Arts and Media Center and the founder of SOS Juice. S.O.S (System out of our System) Juice is a non-profit/for profit promoting health equity, social entrepreneurship, and spiritual liberation. Most recently, he is the founder and co-director of Urban Farmacy, a wellness, entrepreneurship, and education organization that builds personalized food production programs for schools and businesses in the Bay Area.

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