Through our Visiting Artist Series, you will receive valuable firsthand career insight from some of the finest performers, songwriters, film composers, music business experts, and music professionals from every sector of the industry.
Past visiting artists include the following:
Lennie Petze is the executive producer for Cyndi Lauper and former vice president of Epic Records A&R. In his session, he discussed the current state of the industry and what it takes to have a sustainable career in music.
Gary Hoey, born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, explodes with his 20th album, Dust & Bones (Mascot Label Group), which is an exuberant fusion of blues that has received great reviews and entered the Billboard Blues chart at No. 5. Hoey has recorded 19 other albums and had five top-20 Billboard hits, and has been called one of the top 100 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone. His biggest hit was his version of the Focus song "Hocus Pocus" in 1993: the cover song rocketed into the Billboard Top 5 and became the most frequently played rock song of that year. In addition to touring as a headline act, Hoey has toured and traded licks with Brian May of Queen, Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa, Ted Nugent, and Foreigner, among many others. As a writer, producer, and guitar player, Hoey's clients have included Lita Ford, Dick Dale, Disney, and ESPN. He has also performed the National Anthem for the New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox.
Taku Hirano '95 is one of the top percussionists on the touring and recording circuit, having toured with Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, Bette Midler, Lionel Richie, and Academy Award-winning composer A. R. Rahman H'14, among others. His live performance credits include Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, John Mayer '98, Usher, and Sean “Diddy” Combs, among many others. In addition, he has recorded with Fleetwood Mac, Dr. Dre, Whitney Houston, Jay-Z, and the Temptations, to name a few; contributed to several scores and soundtracks; acted as a consultant to Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails for the Lights in the Sky tour; and started his own clothing company, 3rd Culture Style.
Hirano served as percussionist and a soloist for Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour; has made televison appearances with Iggy Azalea, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson, and Aretha Franklin; and performed at the White House alongside Patti LaBelle, Melissa Etheridge '80, Jill Scott, and Janelle Monáe. Hirano frequently works with fellow alumni and session players in L.A., including guitarist Tariqh Akoni '91 of Bette Midler's core touring group.
Most musicians now know Ari Herstand as the guy who has helped them fly with their instruments, book national tours, get songs placed on TV, and make more money with their music career without the help of a label. Herstand’s music business advice blog, Ari’s Take, was called "one of the best music blogs in Los Angeles" by LA Weekly and has become a go-to resource for DIY musicians worldwide, and his book, How to Make It in the New Music Business: Practical Tips on Building a Loyal Following and Making a Living as a Musician, debuted at No. 1 in the Music Business, Performing Arts Industry, and Entertainment Industry categories on Amazon in December 2016. A DIY musician, Herstand has played over 600 shows around the country. He has opened for or toured with Ben Folds, Cake, Matt Nathanson, the Milk Carton Kids, and Ron Pope; performed on Ellen; and had his music featured in countless TV shows, commercials, and films. He currently fronts the funk band Brassroots District.
Herstand is a staff writer for Digital Music News and has also written for many top music trade magazines and websites including Music Connection Magazine, American Songwriter, Playback Magazine, CD Baby, and Tunecore, among others. He has been a featured speaker at festivals such as South by Southwest and CD Baby's DIY Musician Conference, and in music business classrooms worldwide. As an actor, he has costarred in TV shows including Transparent, Aquarius, Mad Men, 2 Broke Girls, and Touch.
Will Dailey is an acclaimed independent recording and performing artist. His sound has been described as having a rich vintage vibe while having a firm appreciation of AM rock, pop, and big hooks, leading famed rock journalist Dan Aquilante to call him “the real deal.” Dailey's album, National Throat, has been met with stellar reviews, with over six million spins on Spotify, top 20 on the Billboard Heat Seeker chart, and winning Album of the Year from the 2014 Boston Music Awards, New England Music Awards, and Improper Bostonian Magazine. Dailey, who is already a three-time winner of the Boston Music Award for Best Singer-Songwriter, also won Artist of the Year in 2014 and Male Vocalist in 2015. He has shared the stage with Eddie Vedder, joining him for five songs for the Hot Stove Cool Music Benefit. In June 2013, he was featured on a Stephen King/John Mellencamp project produced by T Bone Burnett called Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. In that same year, he also released an original song inspired by Jack Kerouac's Tristessa. In September 2013, he played his fourth Farm Aid Concert along side Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, and John Mellencamp. Dailey's music has also been featured on over 50 TV programs and films.
Andrew Govatsos started as a bass player in Boston and Maine. He realized there was no concerts in Maine and became a concert promoter at age 24, promoting concerts in northern New England and eastern Canada. He promoted over 300 shows, including Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Bruce Springsteen. He also produced Elvis Presley in Augusta, Maine in 1977 and managed various artists along the way. In 1984, Govatsos became the sponsorship tour director for Daryl Hall & John Oates, working at Live Aid and the first Farm Aid with them.
For the last 25 years, Govatsos has been the Northeast promotion director for Reprise Records, Motown Records, and Athena Promotion and Marketing. In addition to planning major concert events with Green Day, the Barenaked Ladies, and Guster, he was the architect of the album release day concerts at Boston City Hall Plaza and worked with Green Day on the now-famed concert at the Hatch Shell, where over 80,000 people showed up. He has worked in the past with Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Green Day, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Nicks, to name a few. More recently, he has worked on projects with Andy Grammer, Adele, One Direction, Guster, and Hozier, among others.
Hilary Hughes is an editor, critic, and correspondent who covers music, film and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Esquire, USA Today, Fuse, and a number of other national print, digital, radio, and television outlets. A native of the Greater Boston area, Hughes got her start interviewing various artists in the Boston music scene for the Boston Globe, the Boston Phoenix, and DigBoston, where she worked as the arts and entertainment editor from 2010 until 2012.
Mark Kates has been a central figure in the genre of alternative music since before it had a name. He has done A&R, promotion, and marketing; been both a label head and owner; and an artist manager, as he is now. Kates grew up in the Boston area where Mission of Burma's music inspired him to work for their label, Ace of Hearts. He then moved to Big Time Records in Los Angeles and worked with artists such as Love and Rockets, Alex Chilton, and the Hoodoo Gurus before spending 10.5 years at Geffen Records. There, Kates created the alternative promotion department and played a significant role in the development of the alternative radio format. He signed Beck, Jawbreaker, Elastica, Alabama 3, and others; brought Sonic Youth to Geffen and did A&R on their albums as well as albums by Nirvana, Hole, Teenage Fanclub, XTC, Siouxsie and the Banshees; and was co-executive producer for the soundtracks for Beavis and Butt-head Do America and Suburbia.
Kates left Geffen in 1998 to run Grand Royal Records for the Beastie Boys and work with artists like Sean Lennon and Luscious Jackson. In 2001, he returned to Boston and established Fenway Recordings, a music management company. He now works with Mission of Burma again as well as with MGMT, Joywave, the Cribs, White Lung, and the Doves. As DJ Carbo, he is resident and curator of the Fenway Recordings Sessions, a live concert series produced by Crossroads Presents that has brought more than 300 shows to Boston since 2004. In 2012, the series was expanded to include a livestream initiative with MTV Hive that has produced livestreams with Tegan and Sara, Alt-J, and Cloud Nothings. He has spoken at leading academic institutions from Harvard Law School to University of California, Los Angeles, and was recently named to the leadership council of Boston Creates, Mayor Marty Walsh's comprehensive arts planning initiative.
New Orleans, Louisiana, native Karen Waldrup is a musician, songwriter, and recording artist known for her thrilling performances and bold style of country music. She has spent the last few years touring the world, performing everywhere from Memphis, Tennessee, to Dublin, Ireland. She has also become a true viral sensation; her social media videos have more than 125 million views. The video for her 2016 song "I Got That Kind of Time" spent five weeks at No. 1 and 12 weeks in the top five on CMT. Her “Trashy Crashed the Party” video stayed in the top three for five weeks straight.
Waldrup recently won three Nashville Independent Music Awards: Best Live Country Performer, Best Video, and Best Solo Female Country Artist. Her original song will be in the movie Scales: Mermaids Are Real, and she has appeared on Bravo’s Platinum Hit with hosts Jewel and Kara DioGuardi, and had music featured on Bravo’s reality series My Fab 40. She was a Nashville Rising Star finalist in 2015 and was previously named a GAC Top 25 Songwriter. She has also been featured on NASCAR ESPN Live and NFL Experience Superbowl XLVII, among others.
Waldrup's new album, Justified, produced by Garth Fundis, is out in 2018. The first single from the new record, “Warm in Your Sunshine,” charted in the Top 100 on the Billboard Country Chart in September 2017.
Leslie Wu Foley
With a rich and varied 30-year career in the nonprofit sector, Leslie Wu Foley brings significant leadership experience in community arts, higher education, arts administration, and organizational development. Foley recently returned to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where she had previously filled various management roles, as the associate director of audience development. In this capacity, she explores the motivators and barriers to attendance by symphony audiences and creates a variety of engagement opportunities, both in and out of the concert hall and across four different brands (Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Tanglewood, and Symphony Hall). Prior to this appointment, Foley held leadership roles at major cultural and educational institutions in New England, including chief strategy officer and dean of preparatory and continuing education at New England Conservatory, director of the Center for Art and Community Partnerships at the Massachusetts College of Art, managing director of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and associate director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Music Center. Foley began her management career at the New York Philharmonic, followed by the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, where she served as assistant director. Upon her return to Boston, she expanded her nonprofit experience as a writer and administrator for WCRB and WGBH.
Prior to joining Mike Atkins Entertainment (MAE), Camy McArdle worked in the country music industry for more than 15 years. In addition to serving as the day-to-day manager for country artists Brooks & Dunn, Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts, and Terri Clark, she also played an essential role in their tours, records, and sponsorships. It was through these experiences that McArdle discovered her true passion and purpose was to not only work on the day-to-day tasks of managing, but also to work with and guide artists in making their career and creative visions come to life. Soon after, she joined the MAE team and cofounded 256 Entertainment, a subsidiary of MAE. Through 256 Entertainment, McArdle has birthed the career of country music viral sensation Karen Waldrup. Not limited to country artists, McArdle and 256 Entertainment manage artists from various backgrounds, including music, theater, film, and television.
You can find any upcoming visiting artist events listed in the Professional Music Department Events page.