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Menu 05 Board Members

The Liverpool City Region Music Board is made up of 22 members and 8 observers from across the music industry. Our members are listed below.

Members

Michael Eakin

Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

Michael Eakin has been Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic since 2008. The organisation includes the award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and associated ensembles and choirs, a substantial music learning and education programme, and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

Michael joined Liverpool Philharmonic from Arts Council England, with whom he had been Executive Director North West since 2001. Previously, he was Director of Arts and Leisure for Reading Borough Council, with a portfolio including the arts and theatre, libraries, museums and archives, sport and leisure, and tourism.

His initial career was in theatre and concert hall management, including several years as Director of the presenting theatre and concert hall, The Hexagon, Reading. Here he programmed across several art forms including orchestral and popular music, theatre, opera, and dance. He also led the establishment in Reading of the UK's major annual world music festival, the WOMAD Festival, in partnership with the WOMAD organisation; and the renovation and re-opening of the 19th Century Reading Concert Hall.

He is a former Chair of the Association of British Orchestras and a former Vice President of the Theatrical Management Association (now UK Theatre).

Rebecca Ayres

Managing Director of Sound City

Rebecca Ayres is Managing Director of Sound City, which is the UK's leading independent festival for new music. Hosting hundreds of artists performing to an audience of over 20,000 music fans and 2,000 industry professionals from 37 different countries, it offers controversial debate, unparalleled networking, amazing music, outstanding art, throughout three inspirational days and hedonistic nights, in the world’s most legendary music city. Other Sound City events include New York Sound City, Sound City Korea, Off the Record - Manchester, Sounds of the Xity: China (in partnership with Modern Sky Entertainment). In 2016 Sound City received investment from Modern Sky, China's largest entertainment company which led to the set-up of a sister company, Modern Sky UK. Modern Sky UK works with artists including Slow Readers Club, The Blinders, Calva Louise, No Hot Ashes, SPINN, Beyond Average, Red Rum Club, and Catholic Action. Rebecca is passionate about emerging talent succeeding and one of the favourite parts of her role is overseeing the international and emerging artist programme. She also runs the Sound City Entrepreneur Training Programmes which are aimed at anyone who has a burning desire to work in the music industry and board member of the UK Association of Independent Festivals.

Cath Hurley

Artist Manager at Mostdeffo

Mostdeffo is a brand new music management company in Liverpool. Ultimately, Mostdeffo was created by Cath Hurley to manage artists but is also an additional resource and positive voice providing industry support to the existing music organisations based in the region.

For a number of years Cath worked in Online PR, Digital Marketing and Social Media Management for an extremely varied roster from brand new acts through to established artists, such as Ellie Goulding and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Her work with new bands and artists often focused on helping them get the attention of labels and to build their fan base. She would often be the first industry professional working with the band and would build their release strategy.

She then moved on to become Product Manager at Rough Trade Records, leading on the releases for the likes of Parquet Courts, SOAK and Girl Band. This involved overseeing all elements of album releases and working closely with acts to realise their vision.
She has spent the last couple of years leading on the marketing for a number of organisations in the wider arts here in Liverpool. Alongside this she continues to rack up many hours lecturing at LIPA, helping the students to ready themselves for a professional life in music.

Craig Pennington

Editor of Bido Lito!

Craig is the founder of Liverpool music institution Bido Lito! Since it first emerged in May 2010, Bido Lito!’s monthly magazine has established itself at the forefront of new music on Merseyside, providing a vital platform for the region’s new music and creative culture. The magazine also runs a vibrant and successful creative agency, working with a range of local, national and international brands. In addition to this, Craig is a co-founder of Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia; a genre-defining festival which led The Guardian to name Liverpool the ‘Great Psychedelic Capital of Europe’. The festival was named the UK’s ‘Best Small Festival’ at the 2015 NME Awards.

In 2018, Craig collaborated with Liverpool John Moores University, co-authoring ‘Liverpool, Music City?’, a report into the current state of the Liverpool music sector. The report calls for a sector-led and bottom up approach to music policy in the city, developing a new collaborative model and allowing Liverpool to achieve its potential as an international exemplar of a dynamic global music city.

Mathew Flynn

Lecturer at the University of Liverpool

Dr Mathew Flynn is a lecturer at the University of Liverpool (UoL) and teaches mainly on the MA in Music Industry Studies programme. Before joining the Institute of Popular Music at UoL, he taught music business and professional development on the BA Music degree at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA). Prior to teaching in higher education, Mat worked as a mentor on the New Deal for Musicians programme, and before and during that time was also a self-employed practitioner in the music industries, owning rehearsal rooms and an independent record label. In 2020 he was awarded a PhD for research that explored how UK based musicians make creative and career based decisions. His research on the music industries has been published by Bloomsbury in books on music entrepreneurship and music futures. In addition to his writing, in 2017 Mat coordinated the Liverpool section of the UK Live Music Census project, the world's first national survey of live music. Previously he has worked on educational, outreach and employment projects for the BBC, Sound City and the European Social Fund. Most recently, in collaboration with Bido Lito, Mat has been the lead researcher on the Playing In project, which has analysed the impact of the pandemic on the LCR’s Music sector.

Paul Gallagher

Deputy Director of The Museum of Liverpool (National Museums Liverpool)

Paul joined National Museums Liverpool (NML) in 1986 and has enjoyed a wide and varied career across the museum sector.

His first museum role was in film and sound production within exhibitions across NML. In 2004, he became Concept Developer for the Museum of Liverpool (MoL) before becoming NML's first Curator of Contemporary Collecting in 2005; specialising in music, sport and popular cultures.

Paul was a key member of the team that delivered The Beat Goes On in 2008; the first major exhibition and exploration of the city's musical heritage and reputation. He was lead curator and co-Ordinator of the Wondrous Place gallery in the Museum of Liverpool, which opened in 2011. This gallery celebrated the city's creative identity and, with a major focus on music, included The Beatles immersive experience, In the Town Where I Was Born.

He has continued to lead and contribute to many music related exhibitions and projects within NML; collaborating with music industry creatives to deliver live music events in the museums, the exhibition Double Fantasy - John & Yoko and the recent Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band - immersive experience.

Paul is currently Deputy Director of Museums at NML. He is also a member of the city's Beatles Legacy Group.

Jennifer John

Creative Director and Music Manager of Sense of Sound Singers

Jennifer John is an award winning choral composer, vocal coach (specialising in artistic development) and music mentor. With a long a varied international history of working within the commercial music sector and strategist and performer and having worked intensively within community education, diversity and equality are at the heart of all of of her work. This has impacted local and national infrastructure around multiculturalism and gender equality.

As a vocal coach on ITV's The Voice and The Voice Kids, Jennifer has an outstanding career working with 1000s of young, emerging and successful artists within schools, specialist performance colleges and internationally renowned institutions and conservatoires.

As the Creative Director and Manager of the vocal ensemble Sense of Sound Singers, she has ensured that they been the choir of choice to perform with: Damon Albarn, Take That, Jo Bon Jovi, Cream Classical, Yoko Ono, Roger Waters, Russell Watson, Seal, Paloma Faith, NIle Rodgers & Chic, Natalie McCool, Blossoms, Shlomo, Brian Eno, Massive Attack, Space, The Christians, Cast, Michael Head and The Red Elastic Band and so many more....

Her biggest achievement to date was receiving a Pioneer for The Nation award in acknowledgement for her contribution to community choir development on Merseyside.

Chris Meehan

Chief Executive of Sentric Music

Chris Meehan founded Sentric Music whilst at university in 2006, developing the powerful technology at the core of the indie publisher’s operations. Today, that software drives an administration system which handles more than 1m copyrights across the world.

In the 12 years since its formation, Meehan has built Sentric into an award-winning publisher that represents more than 150,000 songwriters and licenses music directly in over 100 countries. The company employs more than 75 people across its Liverpool headquarters and offices in London, Amsterdam, Hamburg and New York and LA.

Meehan has personally struck deals with a range of leading music companies all over the globe and currently sits on the boards of a number of influential advisory groups in the music publishing world. Meehan has raised in excess of £5m for companies and fuelled growth via international expansion and acquisitions.

He has appeared in Music Week’s 30 Under 30 and Music Business Worldwide’s Young Executive list for 2015.

Alok Nayak

CEO & Artistic Director of Milap

Alok is currently CEO & Artistic Director of Milap, an international Indian Arts and Culture Company, based in Liverpool. He is responsible for the leadership, strategic and artistic direction of the organisation, delivering a long-term plan for Indian arts. Alok is an experienced professional and cultural leader, with specialist skills in artist development and mentoring, production and curation, and is currently in the final stages of PhD research on Indian music in Britain. His Milap role focuses on creating pathways for young artists, producing new music performances and events, and in creating projects and programmes that help people of all backgrounds understand, enjoy and appreciate Indian arts.

Following university qualifications in languages, literature, politics and public administration, Alok began a career in the arts, a creative industry in which he could pursue his passion to help make a difference to people's lives.

Founded in 1985, Milap’s mission is to Inspire, educate and entertain people of all backgrounds. Milap’s ethos is expressed best through these words ‘Uniting Hearts Through Arts’, as they use performances, events and projects to try to bring people together, give them amazing experiences, and send them away happy. Milap runs a varied national performance programme, an academy for emerging artists, and various strategic programmes to develop Indian arts. It is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and a registered charity.

Yaw Owusu

Executive Manager of The Playmaker Group

After completing University, Yaw launched URBEATZ - a music and media organisation, which soon became known throughout the UK for its unique brand of music, film and youth culture engagement, resulting in several awards for creativity, innovation and enterprise.

In 2011, Yaw joined ex-BBC executive Ray Paul at music consultancy, media and events company THE PLAYMAKER GROUP (PMG). Under the PMG, Yaw has worked with a number of world leading brands, organisations and artists including Nike, AEG, Sony, Universal Records, The Fader, AATW, VP Records / Greensleeves, BBC Radio 1Xtra, MTV, Dizzee Rascal, Damian Marley and many more.

Yaw is also the Creative Director of Nothin But The Music (NBTM) which launched in 2012. Under NBTM, Yaw has programmed and curated a number of key music events and projects working with and for clients such as MTV, BET, Liverpool International Music Festival, BBC Radio 1 Academy, MOBO, Jockey Club Live, Boiler Room, Sound City, The Brit School, Laces Out! Festival and the Competitor Group. In addition, NBTM have released a number of singles and projects that have earned acclaim, major syncs and national and international radio support. More recently NBTM have established themselves as key talent developers; heading up the award-winning LIMF Academy, scouting and consulting for major labels as well as A&Ring for and developing the likes of XamVolo and Sub Blue. In 2018, NBTM and THE PLAYMAKER GROUP merged - establishing a formidable multi-strand creative solutions organisation.

In 2017, Yaw, alongside partners Seani B and Ray Paul, founded BrukOut Entertainment and launched a joint venture Record Label with Universal, BrukOut Records, where Yaw is the Label and Business Director. So far, BrukOut have released records that have received playlist positions on key radio and streaming platforms as well as impacting national club charts.

Barbara Phillips

Artist Manager at Positive Impact

Barbara Phillips became a professional singer at the age of 16 in Liverpool female vocal harmony band Distinction. She has written and composed 2 original musicals – ‘Misunderstood?’ performed at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool and Contact Theatre Manchester – and ‘Brand New World’ which was staged at the Edinburgh Festival. Barbara also spent two years as a Television Scriptwriter for Brookside.

Barbara is currently the Artist Manager of Positive Impact - a community training and development organisation for young people wishing to get involved in the performing arts. Developing local young talent is a passion – Positive Impact helps to recognise, develop and support talented young people and emerging musicians providing a springboard for young emerging talent from the local community. Through strategic planning and by developing partnerships with mainstream music organisations, Positive Impact has been able to open doors and influence in the support of musical development.

A number of young people who trained at Positive Impact have gone on to forge successful careers in the mainstream music industry signing publishing and record deals with Universal and Atlantic Records whilst also touring nationally and internationally - two of whom, local singer Esco Williams and Vocal Harmony group MiC LOWRY who Barbara co-manages have gone on to win MOBO Awards as Emerging Artists.

Catherine Tackley

Head of the Department of Music at the University of Liverpool

Professor Catherine Tackley is Head of the Department of Music at the University of Liverpool, having held posts at Leeds College of Music and The Open University.

A jazz specialist, she has written two books – ‘The Evolution of Jazz in Britain: c. 1880-1935’ (Ashgate, 2005) and ‘Benny Goodman’s Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert’ (OUP, 2012) - and co-edited ‘Black British Jazz: Routes, Ownership and Performance’ (Ashgate, 2014).

In 2018, Catherine curated ‘Rhythm and Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain’, an acclaimed exhibition in London based on her research.

She is a Trustee of the National Jazz Archive (UK) and Musical Director of Dr Jazz and the Cheshire Cats Big Band.

Ian Thomas

Chair of LCR Music Education Alliance

With over 20 years' experience within music education, Ian is currently the global Head of Evaluation for Arts for the British Council working with international partners overseeing the evaluation of the British Council's global arts programmes and the current chair of the Merseyside Music Education Hub Alliance working across 6 local authorities to develop their music education opportunities for young people from across Merseyside.

Previous to his work with the British Council, Ian worked for Telford & Wrekin Council as their lead for Music Education, leading the award winning Telford & Wrekin Music Education Hub, the development of their In Harmony programme with the CBSO and Manchester Camerata, Creative Employment Programme, their Musical Communities programme working across 4 local authorities in the West Midlands and building an international partnership with other music education programmes in Europe and Canada. Ian has served on previous boards such as Make Some Noise, Arts Connect and Disability Arts Shropshire. and has published articles on music education and arts and soft power. Ian is a graduate of both Liverpool and Durham Universities.

Ben Williams

Commercial Director at The ACC Liverpool Group

Ben Williams is Commercial Director at The ACC Liverpool Group, operators of Destination Venue ACC Liverpool, home to BT Convention Centre, M&S Bank Arena and Exhibition Centre Liverpool and ticketing agency Ticket Quarter.

As commercial director, Ben's role includes developing the overall commercial strategy for The ACC Liverpool Group. He oversees the commercial and sponsorship, marketing, sales and ticketing teams across all markets in which the company operates.

Ben joined from SMG Europe where, as general manager, he led the team that launched the first direct Arena in Leeds five years ago. Prior to this, he was commercial and marketing director at Manchester Arena and previously a head of sponsorship and promotions for Capital Radio Group.

Ben has worked within the music industry and across both small and large scale venues for many years and has knowledge and experience of working with many local and national promoters, agents and managers.

Yousef

Yousef, International DJ and founder of Circus Music

Regarded as one of the world’s foremost electronic music artists, Yousef first stepped up to the decks over 20 years ago, becoming an iconic industry figure, dance music leader and visionary.

His commitment to house and techno has seen him criss-cross the globe, playing standout sets at an exhaustive list of the world’s most influential clubs, including; Fabric (London), Space, DC-10 and Amnesia (Ibiza) and Watergate (Berlin).

Yousef, and business partner Richard, are the brains behind Liverpool’s well-known event, Circus, (est 2002), which is known for bringing in the world’s biggest DJs, such as; Carl Cox, Adam Beyer and Loco Dice to name a few. They have since set up the Circus Recordings label.

In October 2020 Yousef was personally requested for a private audience with ‘HRH Prince William’, and later the cross party MP’s, as a representative to relay the difficulties dance music is facing as a result of Covid-19; collaboratively finding solutions to support the industry.

Yousef's Circus event recently hosted ‘The First Dance’; the UK’s first club event since Covid struck, which captured the attention of the entire world and has been cited as ‘the most significant global news story since electronic music begun’.

Jennifer Johnston

Mezzo Soprano

A former BBC New Generation Artist, with “one of the most generous and beautiful voices in the business” (Prospect Magazine). Jennifer has sung leading roles at the Bayerische Staatsoper, La Scala and the Salzburg Festival, and appeared with many of the world’s most distinguished orchestras and conductors.

Featuring the iTunes No.1 hit single ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir, for whom she was their Artist In Residence, her debut solo album ‘A Love Letter To Liverpool’ (Rubicon Classics) is a deeply personal and affectionate tribute to her native city and the place she calls home.

She is the producer of Bitesize Proms; the creator of Notes From Musicians’ Kitchens Cookbook and presenter of its associated podcast; Artistic Advisor to the Park Lane Group Music Trust; a contributing writer for publications including the Guardian and London Book Review; and a commentator on the arts for BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 3, Classic FM and Times Radio.

A former barrister, she is a passionate advocate for music education and is singing teacher to the Choristers and Choral Scholars at Liverpool Cathedral.

Andy Dockerty

Managing Director of Adlib

Having worked with bands since the age of 16, Andy formed Adlib 7 years later, with the assistance of the government backed Enterprise Allowance Scheme in 1984. By the end of the '80s Andy was regularly touring the UK, mixing front of house sound for many Liverpool bands of the time including; The Real People, 35 Summers, 16 Tambourines and a plethora of other local artists.

In the '90s and early '00s Andy’s reputation as a FOH sound engineer grew, as did the reputation of Adlib as an audio rental company. Throughout this period Andy toured the world mixing sound for bands such as; Texas, Del Amitri, Scissor Sisters and Kaiser Chiefs. Simultaneously, Adlib secured contracts for worldwide artists, with the ultimate recognition coming in 2003 when Adlib supplied the audio systems and technicians across the UK and Europe for David Bowie’s Reality Tour.

Since 2010, Andy has spent more time in Liverpool working with the teams at Adlib to develop the sales, installations, video, lighting and rigging departments, with Adlib now being the largest independent audio rental house in the UK, as well as a leading full production supplier. In recent years Andy has overseen the development of the internal Adlib Training programme that has become world renowned.

Andy is also a founding member of the #wemakeevents campaign which aims to gain recognition and support for the live events sector.

Les Spaine

Chief Executive of Spaine Music Company

Les Spaine was one of the most important British club DJ’s of the 70s and is well known for having made a considerable contribution to the black music scene in the country.

Les has gone on to found and lead Spaine Music; one of Europe’s leading live agency and management companies representing major artists.

In the 70s he had DJ residencies at iconic venues including; The Pun Club and the legendary Timepiece Club in Liverpool, before moving onto a career in the music industry working for EMI, Motown and Capital Records.

In the 70’s and 80’s he worked with legends such as Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Ritchie, The Commodores, Rick James, Jermaine Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Billy Preston, Syreeta and many more before transitioning to Capital Records.

Here he continued working with industry leaders such as Melba Moore, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Frankie Beverley as well as Maze, Dr Hook, Kraftwork, Bob Segar & The Silver Bullet Band, and Ashford & Simpson to name a few.

Louise Nulty

Project Manager at The Studio

Louise has been the Project Manager at The Studio for LOOSE since 2012.

The aim of the charity is to remove barriers to the arts in Halton, and The Studio itself is a community venue with 300 capacity performance space, 3 rehearsal rooms and a recording studio.

Louise believes that emerging artists should be able to have a career in the place they grew up in, whilst knowing they are good enough to be successful anywhere. She has managed numerous arts projects and attracted funding from The Big Lottery, Reaching Communities, European Social Fund and Peoples Health Lottery.

A professional actor and director, Louise has been involved with community arts in the North West for over 25 years and is also chair of Halton Housing Customer Forum, Secretary of Victoria Park Environment Team, Mentor for Arts Emergency and is working with March For The Arts on the Freelance Working Agreement committee.

Nina Kehagia

Radio Broadcaster and Music Industry Lecturer

A radio broadcaster for award-winning radio station Resonance 104.4 FM, as well as a researcher, writer, producer, and host of cultural/educational events.

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Sonic Arts and a Masters in Music Industry Studies, Nina often lectures on topics such as; music management, music careers, how to run an independent record label, and popular music history. Since September 2018 she has also been employed as a mentor and coach to early-career music professionals, and is the education manager for Shesaid.so UK North.

Nina’s work includes various residencies and partnerships as a DJ, curator, and industry speaker, with high-profile guest speakers and collaborators including; Matthew Herbert, Daniel Miller, Kate Simko, Dr. Susan Rogers, Laurent Garnier, Richie Hawtin and Georgia Taglietti (Sonar.es).

Nina has had long-lasting professional collaborations with high-profile festivals and organisations such as Sonar/Sonar+, CTM Festival, Primavera Sound, Mute Records, and Kings Place, Fabric.

She has hosted panels and events supporting the LGBTQ community, involving various acclaimed promoters such as Dan Beaumont, musicians such Toya Delazi, and collectives such as Horse Meat Disco.

Saad Shaffi

Managing Director of 24 Kitchen Street

Managing Director and owner of 24 Kitchen Street, founded in 2013. Saad, along with partners including a childhood and University friend, founded 24 Kitchen Street by delivering a programme of music generally unrepresented in Liverpool including; UK Bass, Garage, Drum and Bass, Rap and Grime. Accessibility for all is a key component of 24 Kitchen St’s door policy, which does not discriminate entry based on attire or race.

24 Kitchen Street has worked with Redbull Music, Sound City, LIMF, Resident Advisor and Africa Oye; international collectives such as Critical Music, Discwoman and Ilian Tape; as well as local record labels and promoters including Meine Nacht, M62 and many more.

Saad has played a significant role in the development of ‘The Baltic Weekender’, which is now in its 5th year, with partners Abandon Silence. The Festival has hosted internationally acclaimed artists, such as Stefflon Don, Ghetts, Aitch, Goldie, Egyptian Lover.

Saad is also an advisor on the PRS Foundation's Power Up initiative, and has started a new event with local media platform Culture Deck, reviving the Merseyside Caribbean Carnival for the first time in decades.

Mike Walsh

Music Consultant and Artist Manager

Music Consultant and Artist Manager, with decades of experience in broadcast, digital, and music businesses. Mike has been a Mercury Prize judge for the past four years, he is a member of War Child UK Music Board and Help Musicians Creative Advisory Board, and in his last full-time role he contributed to record results for Radio X (previously XFM), where he was part of the management team from 2005.

Mike’s current clients include; artists, managers, record labels, tech and festival companies, venues, charities, D2C, music start-ups, professional coaching, apparel brands and book publishers.

At Radio X, Mike hired and managed some of the biggest names in UK radio and provided first airplay or playlists to artists including; Adele, The xx, Mumford & Sons, Lana Del Rey, Biffy Clyro, Courteeners, The 1975, Catfish & The Bottlemen and Gerry Cinnamon.

Mike has also staged award-winning live events with household names like Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher, Florence and The Machine, Ed Sheeran, Kings of Leon, Muse, George Ezra, Kasabian, Richard Ashcroft, Snow Patrol, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Paul Weller.

Mike worked in TV and radio promotions at Parlophone Records in the late '90s where his roster included Coldplay, Radiohead, Paul McCartney, Supergrass, The Beastie Boys, Queen, Pet Shop Boys and Blur.