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BJ Griffin, born in Detroit Michigan, is a singer, cellist, and a teacher. Although born in the heart of Motown he grew up in Virginia and is a product of the Virginia Beach city public schools music program then ultimately went on to study music at James Madison University. After college BJ did some freelance gig work in New York City then came back to his hometown to teach strings in Portsmouth public schools. Since then BJ teamed up with long time friend and pianist Jason Brown and has made a career of singing and playing his cello at the same time with performance opportunities nationally and internationally of his original compositions. BJ blends his backgrounds of classical, jazz and pop/funk music and has been the supporting act for artists like Lauryn Hill and Lionel Richie. His other performances have included the International Jazz Festival in Barcelona Spain and a regular performer at the NAMM Show in California. As an educator and performer, BJ lives to expand the boundaries of musicians of all genres to a broader audience and conjure even more possibilities to spread the joy of learning and performing music.
Kristi K. is a pop recording artist from Virginia Beach. Her 2020 EP release “Kings + Queens” with Will Beasley Recording was nominated for a VEER award. She travelled the country playing music during 2020, all while living on a converted school bus with her labradoodle Scout. Recently she was hosted on WKTR-3 “Coast Live” where her music video “Prison” was featured and mental health issues for female veterans was discussed. Her next single will be released in July 2021 “Dead End Roads”!
Jennifer has graced the stages of Hampton Roads for the past 16 years, performing as a vocalist with the Doorway Singers, flautist with Celtica, a soloist with Beach Street USA/Live! on Atlantic, and a regular jazz performer at Gershwin's restaurant. Trained in the classical tradition, Jennifer's journey has taken her through contemporary worship music, singer-songwriter, and jazz, winning the 2019 Veer award in the jazz category for Heart, Soul & Fire, a phenomenal album combining jazz and singer-songwriter sensibilities. Recently she developed her own solo program which incorporates piano, flute, and voice, beatboxing and looping, and she became a member of the renowned Deloreans 80's Band.
Notable venues include Havana Nights Jazz Club, Port Warwick Jazz on the Square series, Winter Blues Jazz Fest, Town Center of Virginia Beach, the Cabin Fever series, as a soloist with the Jae Sinnett Trio, and at Varia in Norfolk and the renovated Cavalier Hotel on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Local breweries where she has performed include The Vanguard, Commonwealth Brewing, and Maker's Craft Brewery.
A resident of Virginia Beach, Jennifer takes care of her three wonderful children and enjoys baking and reading a good fantasy novel.
Currently she performs 60 to 100 shows a year in the mid-Atlantic and Midwest, from coffeehouses to festivals. She had the pleasure of playing a song at the start of the play, “Liberty for Lydia,” featuring BET actress Erica Hubbard, at the prestigious Kimball Theater in Colonial Williamsburg. Also in Williamsburg, she worked as a balladeer – dressed in Colonial costume, she sang in the taverns. She’s shared the stage with many, including Grammy-nominated blues artist Ruthie Foster. In Fulton, Missouri, she did a special show where she sang “Celia”, important because this town annually honors Celia. Narissa is featured in a documentary about her.
Her "Three Words" CD was honored by Hampton Roads for Best Song and CD. She is featured in the book I’ve Got Thunder, a collection of stories about Black female recording artists, including Abbey Lincoln, Chaka Kahn, and Joan Armatrading.
There’s a good reason radio DJ Barry Graham says, “Narissa has set a new standard for the art of singing and songwriting … she is the real thing.” Get the real thing. Listen to Narissa Bond.
Jason Cale is a singer/songwriter and guitarist from South Mississippi. After traveling the world performing all styles of music, he's made his home in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia where he regularly performs as a solo, duo, trio or with The Jason Cale Band (Contemporary Blues Fusion). When he's not performing music, you'll find him teaching at The School of Rock in VA Beach or in his studio where he enjoys writing, recording, and producing all styles of music.
Zach and Megan Moats have been writing songs together since 2009 when they founded the Hampton Roads band The Dharma Initiative. They have written and released two full-length albums and are featured performers and producers on albums by Joey Cook, The Prisoners, Troy Breslow, Roy Ira Moats & The Moats Dogs, Jim Bulleit, and Micah Foxx. Recipients of multiple Veer Local Music Awards, they also won the 2016 ROCKN' to LOCKN' competition and performed on the main stage at the 2016 LOCKN' Festival. Zach and Megan have travelled all across the country performing original music with The Dharma Initiative, Joey Cook and the Partyraddlers, and their side project duo, Lovecats. They currently reside in Hampton with their daughter (and future superstar) Sedona.
Jacob Vanko was born and raised in the Anthracite Coal Region of the Northeast. The blue-collar, hard working town he calls home sits nestled in a valley amid Pennsylvania’s slice of the Appalachian Mountains. Being brought up in an environment where both sides of his family were artistic and musical, the young, impressionable boy was constantly surrounded by an eclectic, creative energy. Jacob would frequently sneak out of bed and peak in on his old man’s blues jams in the basement of his childhood home. His father, a songwriter in his own right, introduced iconic songwriters like John Prine, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan to his burgeoning, songwriter son. Vanko’s musical lineage also includes figures like his grandfather on his mother's side, who was a local jazz drummer and his aunt on his father’s side, who was a nationally prominent classical pianist.
As a teen growing up in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the raw and rebellious artist gravitated towards the furious, dark and heavy sounds of groups like Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Tool. The melodic and unique sounds of grunge in all its glory with the gritty guitar tones, aggressive vocals and well crafted songs were major contributing factors to the evolution and development of Vanko’s writing and live performance energy.
Jacob found himself coming into his own as a songwriter in his 20’s. Migrating from Pennsylvania to land in Southeast Virginia, his life experiences to this point painted a curious picture of the world. Social observations, the ugliness of inner struggle, searching and questioning brought an intense quality to his writing. The early seeds of traditional blues, folk, country and bluegrass have collided with the bold sounds of grunge and rock influences forging a poetic, americana songwriter with a furious live stage presence.
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Born into a family of singers and performers, Kerri has been wholeheartedly singing on stage since the age of 2. She taught Music and Voice at Elementary/Middle schools for 5 years, with a total of 17 years as a Vocal Instructor working with Academies, Dance Studios and Theaters, and eventually opening Kerri Hardwick Voice Studio. Kerri earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Virginia Wesleyan College. She has continued to study music extensively throughout the years, ultimately reaching her most recent goal of becoming a Certified THROGA Instructor. Kerri continues her passion for singing and as a Worship Leader at Warwick Memorial UMC. She has worked with many worship teams and worship leaders all over the East Coast, helping to strengthen their music ministry. Kerri is an adjunct Professor at Regent University, teaching Voice Practicum. She is also a prominent member of Arts for Learning of VA as a performer, inspiring young students in and through the Arts.
Jeannie is a Los Angeles-based songwriter who specializes in Kids and Family Entertainment.
She is currently co-writing songs for Disney Junior’s MIRA, ROYAL DETECTIVE, the first series for the network inspired by the culture and customs of India. The music for season one was nominated for a 2020 Annie Award.
Jeannie’s songs have appeared in some of the most popular Disney Channel original movie franchises and television series, including HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES 1&2, HANNAH MONTANA, DESCENDANTS, TEEN BEACH MOVIE 1&2, LEMONADE MOUTH, CAMP ROCK 2, SHAKE IT UP, GOOD LUCK CHARLIE, AUSTIN AND ALLY and SONNY WITH A CHANCE.
Jeannie is a longtime collaborator on songs for JOJO SIWA, who was voted one of Time Magazine’s top 100 influencers in 2020, and whose videos have amassed hundreds of millions of views. Most recently, Jeannie co-wrote all the songs for JoJo’s upcoming movie, “The J-Team.” She also served as the film’s Co-Executive Music Producer.
Her songs with THE MUPPETS have received an Emmy Award nomination (The MUPPETS’ WIZARD OF OZ) and a Critics’ Choice Nomination (THE MUPPETS).
A fan of television theme songs, Jeannie has 20+ main titles currently airing.
Jeannie is originally from Chicago, IL, and studied English at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Spanish at Middlebury College in Vermont and Madrid.
Beth Champion Mason is a Songwriting Coach backed by 20+ years of songwriting experience and expertise, and the Founder of 5-Star Songwriting. Her songs have been recorded on numerous albums, garnered songwriting excellence awards, and been licensed hundreds of times globally. She has toured the country on the strength of her songs and recordings, shared the stage with the likes of Danny Gokey and Building 429, created and hosted “The Songwriter’s Corner” radio show, and recorded 5 albums of original music. But her passion is teaching. Her goal is to pass along the songwriting knowledge it took her over a decade to learn the hard way, so she can help other songwriters develop their God-given talent and reach their songwriting potential WITHOUT having to go through the school of hard knocks. She lives in coastal Virginia with her husband Lance, their son Jonathan, and a dog and a cat who are way too spoiled.
Michael M. Smith was born in Charleston, SC and is a proud product of the Gullah heritage. After high school he relocated to Atlanta, Georgia where he studied electronics engineering. He also served as Minister of Music and Associate Pastor in the Atlanta area for 16 years. In 1999, Michael relocated to Virginia Beach, VA. For more than 13 years he has served as Minister of Worship & Arts (worship pastor) at Gethsemane Community Fellowship Baptist Church in Norfolk, VA. He has been the director of Ebony Impact Gospel Choir at Old Dominion University for more than 10 years. Michael has been writing and producing music for more than 40 years.
“Intergenerational” is one of the best ways to describe Michael’s music. The influences of growing up in the Low Country of Charleston, SC as a “PK” (preacher’s kid) and spending more than a decade in Atlanta, GA serving in music ministry come across in the rhythmic nature of the songs Michael writes. You see his cultural heritage manifested each time he sings and leads worship with his infectious exuberance. An electrifying performer, Michael has toured in the US, Europe and Africa sharing his brand of passionate Gospel, as well as flavorful Jazz and R&B. You cannot sit still when Michael is on the stage.
Michael has written and produced for a variety of artists with music charting on radio stations across the country. He is constantly mentoring new artists and sharing his wealth of experience. In each of Michael’s solo CD projects, Worship of A Redeemed Man, Bigger Than I Imagined, All Right, A Christmas Note, and All Right you hear the desperate heart of a worshipper beckoning you to join him in pursuit of God’s presence. His music is a powerful yet delicate mix of passionate prayer ballads, intense celebrations and traditional southern-style church — all with plenty of fresh flavoring to make it relevant yet enough substance to make it timeless.
Matthew Tishler is an Emmy-nominated, 20x multi-platinum songwriter and music producer, with a specialty in family entertainment for film and television. His songs have been featured in hit TV shows, movies and on dozens of #1 albums around the world.
Matthew has written and/or produced hundreds of songs for Disney, Nickelodeon, Netflix and Dreamworks, including music for television series HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES, SHAKE IT UP, AUSTIN & ALLY, LIV & MADDIE, A.N.T FARM, THE LODGE, BIZAARDVARK, and the theme song “Take On The World” for GIRL MEETS WORLD.
He produced the platinum-certified, breakout hit “ALL I WANT” by OLIVIA RODRIGO.
His music is featured in successful Disney Channel Original Movies, including DESCENDANTS 3, ZOMBIES, FREAKY FRIDAY, TEEN BEACH 2, LEMONADE MOUTH, RADIO REBEL, and multiple songs performed by Ashley Tisdale in HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL spin-off SHARPAY’S FABULOUS ADVENTURE.
Matthew is producing and co-writing the original songs for Disney Junior’s FANCY NANCY, an animated musical series based on the best-selling books of the same name. As well, Matthew is writing and producing the original songs for Disney Junior’s MIRA, ROYAL DETECTIVE and the MICKEY MORNINGS series of interstitials featuring Mickey Mouse himself!
Matthew’s songs have been recorded by numerous teen stars, including Dove Cameron, Zendaya, Bella Thorne, Olivia Rodrigo, Ross Lynch, Laura Marano, China Anne McClain, Olivia Holt, Jordan Fisher, Sofia Carson, Sabrina Carpenter, Rowan Blanchard and JoJo Siwa.
He also wrote and produced the original songs for Mattel’s animated musical feature BARBIE PRINCESS ADVENTURE on Netflix.
Matthew’s additional credits include: DORA & FRIENDS: INTO THE CITY, HOW TO ROCK, THE FRESH BEAT BAND, MAKE IT POP, TEAM KAYLIE, the theme songs for BUTTERBEAN’S CAFÉ, HOLLYWOOD HEIGHTS, I AM FRANKIE, PUP ACADEMY, and over 20 original songs for the animated pre-school series BLAZE AND THE MONSTER MACHINES, for which the music team was nominated for a 2018 Daytime Emmy Award.
His international songwriting placements are ubiquitous. In Asia, Matthew has worked with a who’s-who group of A-list artists, including BTS, Namie Amuro, Kumi Koda, EXILE Atsushi, Tohoshinki, Happiness, Crystal Kay, EXO, Taeyeon, AOA, Taemin, Seohyun, Red Velvet, TVXQ, SHINee, BoA, Joey Yung, LuHan, Stray Kids, and TWICE.
Standout pop music moments include: “FINALLY,” the title track of J-Pop queen Namie Amuro’s final album, which sold 1.1 million physical units in 6 days (2.6 million to date) – breaking a 13- year sales record in Japan and earning certification as the top-selling album in Japan for 2017 and 2018; EXILE Atsushi’s single “ITSUKA KITTO,” which debuted at #1, enjoying sales of over 1 million units and certification as that year’s #5 biggest-selling album in Japan; and “DIMPLE,” released by world-famous K-Pop group BTS – selling over 5 million copies worldwide.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Matthew now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and 2 dogs.
Daniel Weisman is a Vice President in the Nashville office of Bernstein Private Wealth Management. Prior to joining Bernstein in 2019, Dan spent over a decade as an entrepreneur and trusted advisor in the music industry, most recently as an executive artist manager at Roc Nation; he moved to Nashville in 2016 to run their Nashville office. In 2013, Dan cofounded the luxury shoe company Buscemi (acquired: Lion Capital, 2015), and he sold One Wipe Charlies for cash and equity to the Dollar Shave Club (acquired: Unilever, $1bn, 2016). Dan produced the short film Too Legit starring Zoe Kravitz, selected for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and later acquired by MTV. He is an angel investor and volunteer at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. Dan earned a BA in African-American studies and journalism from Emory University. He is a Grammy voting member, a SAG-AFTRA member, a Billboard 30 Under 30 honoree (2010), a 2011 Grammy Board Governor, and a Grammy nominee. Dan currently serves on the board of The Equity Alliance, the Jewish Federation of Middle Tennessee, Save The Music Foundation Music Industry Board, The Arts and Business Council of Nashville, Friends of Radnor Lake and the American Cancer Society (North Central region). He is also one of Metro Nashville’s Beautification Commissioners. He and his wife are devoted yogis, tennis players and skiers.