Will Ward
Will Ward

Will Ward

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This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: Will Ward, owner, Fourward.

One thing you quickly learn about veteran American manager Will Ward is that he’s simply more comfortable being improvisational,

Ward, a founding partner in the valued management company Roar, recently exited the company, and launched a new management, production, and investment company named Fourward.

He wanted to create his own thing.

Among those clients that made the jump with him are actors Chris, Liam and Luke Hemsworth; Cobie Smulders, Aisha Tyler, Sharlto Copley, Luke Bracey, Alice Braga, and Austin Stowell; and the recording artists Elliphant, and Hannah Hoberman.

Fourward will also invest in global media opportunities. The Fourward entity Ward Blacket Investments has been set up as a special purpose vehicle to deploy capital in partnership with Amalfi Capital.

From Nashville, Ward attended the College of Charleston in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, receiving a bachelor degree in business administration.

He started his entertainment career in 1994 in the trainee program at the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in Nashville; moving on to CAA in Los Angeles; followed by a high-profile, four year stint (1998-2002) in the feature talent department at Endeavor, since renamed William Morris Endeavor.

Following Endeavor, Ward and several partners launched Roar in 2003.

You walked away with from Roar with 14 employees to start Fourward while your former partners have formed Activist Artists Management. What the hell happened?

Well, I think for me personally is that I got to a place in life. I have changed direction several times in my career. I first started at CAA in the music division. Right when I was being promoted I said, “You know what? I really want to get into the film business.” I was transferring over to CAA in film, and I jumped ship, and I went to work for Endeavour with Ari Emanuel and Adam Venit. I went into the film business and became an agent there (at the agency that Emanuel formed in 1995 with three alums of ICM). After several years of doing that I started to miss music. That was kind of what prompted me to want to start Roar.

How did Roar develop?

I found a couple of partners who came from different backgrounds. They left their careers, and we started Roar and built it up. After doing it for a long time I think that I looked in the mirror, and I said, “I want to do something different now.” Having partners was fun, but I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to take all of the responsibility on my shoulders?” Said with sarcasm. It was just time for me to make a change in life. I had some people I was working closely with there so it wasn’t one of these nasty break-ups where people were taking files, and people are calling clients in the middle of the night. It was pretty obvious it was going where it did, and how it was going to work out. I just felt that for me that it was a time to move.

At the same time, your former partners left taking 11 music managers to launch Activist Artists Management. It may not have been a bitter or acrimonious split but…

Well, I sit in one office, and they have multiple offices and have multiple partners. I am doing something that works better for me because it is leaner here, and it will grow because I also want to create kind of a new culture.

[Roar’s partners, including Bernie Cahill, Greg Suess, Matt Maher, and as well Liz Norris, who ran Roar’s New York office, have formed Activist Artists Management. The quartet was joined by Roar’s full music department of  11 managers. Funding for Activist reportedly comes from business tycoon Tony Khan, and the Shahid Khan family.]

You have brought a number of clients with you including actors Chris Hemsworth, Chris’ brother Liam and Luke, Cobie Smulders, Aisha Tyler, Sharlto Copley, Luke Bracey, Alice Braga, and Austin Stowell. Chris and Cobie have been with you since the beginning of their careers.

They have. Certainly from the beginning of their U.S. careers, and even a little before that. I have never made a point of having contracts with clients so much because we wanted to put forth a sort of culture of honor and trust and hard work so I have always said to clients, “If you want to go, go.” It has tended to work out pretty well. We have been able to keep people for the most part well.

If a client really wants to leave, they will leave contract or no contract.

Yeah, some people will call that (no contract) foolish. Certainly, most of my lawyer friends would, but I really say that it’s an environment where I am not coming back to them (clients) every two years saying, “Are you happy? Will you resign?” So it kind of works for us.

You discovered Cobie in Canada, and you discovered Chris on your third scouting trip to Australia when he was 23. He asked if you wanted to see the TV show he was in, the soap opera “Home and Away,” which is the second-longest drama series in Australian television after “Neighbours.” You didn’t watch it. Afterwards you told him you could make him a $20 million-a-film star you brought him to Los Angeles to meet casting directors, and production executives. By that time, you had met with about 125 wannabe stars. What was the attraction of Chris and Cobie?

You know there is a je ne sais quoi thing (a quality that eludes description) that I think you find in people when you have been doing this (being an agent and manager) long enough. I remember when Cobie walked into the room. She was a model and had done two guest spots on Canadian television that hadn’t aired yet. So there was really nothing to see on her as an actor. But she had this calmness and coolness about her that most women as beautiful as she is just don’t possess. She was confident but wasn’t really caring about her looks. It was just kind of that thing that someone has about them. The thing with Chris too is that I could see the hunger. He is obviously incredibly good looking, but there are plenty of good-looking people in Los Angeles pursuing acting, but there was just something about him. He had a swagger. You looked at him, and you thought, “I could see this guy doing his interview on (David) Letterman one day,” or (Jimmy) Kimmel in this case. You can already see that in someone that early; before they have really built their career that there is something inside of them that is just there.

When you left Endeavour to start Roar, you began at ground zero. You had to find clients. Was Cobie your first Roar client?

Well, she was, and you are right. When I was at Endeavour I was representing a handful of big movie stars like Dustin Hoffman, Adam Sandler, and David Spade, but their managers were Brad Grey and Michal Ovitz and people like that. They weren’t leaving the company to come with me, but I did have my “Jerry Maguire” moment where Aisha Tyler, a beautiful, wonderfully talented and brilliant actress, came with me, and that was big. But then we started to sign, and figure out a strategy at Roar and that is what led to the Canadian visit, and Cobie was one of the first people that I signed, if not the first out there.

About the same time, you were intrigued by the up-and-coming Zac Brown Band, but they already had a manager. When they split with their manager, you were able to sign the band in 2007.

I remember when I first saw Zac play in a little bar in Birmingham (Alabama). I watched the show, and I thought, “I get this. This is a great jam band kind of band.” Then, when I was sitting down with Zac, and after listening to him talk, and hearing his vision and hearing what he wanted to do, I thought, “This guy has got it.” The music was there for sure, but when the drive is there you kind of feel it.

The Zac Brown Band hasn’t come over with you to Fourward. Instead, they have signed with Scooter Braun’s SB Projects with a management roster of Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Dan + Shay, and Vic Mensa as clients. The band had been managed by yourself and Bernie Cahill for a decade. Had the relationship run its course?

Look, Zac is a good friend and we had an incredible amount of success together. I think that he’s pursuing some different things musically. He wanted to take management in-house, and we still work on a handful of endeavors together. I think that Scooter can help him achieve some of the things he wants to do musically, right now. So there’s no animosity. We had a great run.

In 2008, the Zac Brown Band signed a unique joint venture deal with Bob Ezrin and Mike Luba at Live Nation Recordings. Then, reportedly, a boardroom brawl went down with Live Nation’s chairman Michael Cohl and Live Nation’s CEO Michael Rapino differing on how aggressively to pursue acquiring what were then being considered unprecedented artist deals, as well as what kinds of artists to sign.

Suddenly, there was no Live Nation Recordings as it was scrapped, and Ezrin and Luba’s label team eliminated. The band’s single “Chicken Fried” became #1 on Billboard’s country chart without the band having a distribution deal or even a deal with iTunes. All true?


Correct. Well, it was a weird time. It was a time when Live Nation was making these marquee deals with marquee names (including with Madonna, Jay-Z, U2, Shakira, and Nickelback). We looked at it (the Live Nation Recordings deal). We were seeing what kind of offers were on the table. Zac wasn’t getting offers out of Nashville labels which was interesting because they didn’t see him as a country act.

One of the deals being floated was from Lyor Cohen at Warner Brothers.

Yeah, there were a couple of people coming after us from New York and L.A. So we looked at it (the Live Nation Recordings’ offer) and said, “This is really a touring band. Why give up a piece of touring to a record label when, maybe, we could give up a piece of our record to a touring company?” So we started conversations with Live Nation. They wanted to try it (a 360 deal) out with a non-marquee act, which is where Zac was back then. It was an exciting time having this incredible team together with (Bob) Ezrin and Mike Luba and a lot of talented, aggressive, hungry people that all came together to create an “A-Team.” Then that whole fall-out happened at Live Nation. We had a single that was breaking Top 20 and no label partner. We were able to exit which was very fortuitous. I think that we were the least of Live Nation’s worries at the time. We were able to get out of there. It was a pretty sweet situation in the end.

You seem comfortable shifting back-and-forth between film and TV, and music clients.

I’m one of those guys who if you give them one thing to do I will get it done tomorrow. If you give me 10 things to do, I will get them done in 10 minutes. In this case, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with symptoms such as impulsivity, and hyperactivity) is an asset and not a liability.

What’s tougher to represent an actor or a music client?

It really depends on the client, to be honest. Fortunately, I have been able to work with not only talented people but also good people from the Zac Browns of the world to Chris Hemsworth. The one thing that most of our clients have in common is that they are good people. We tend to connect with good people. The other thing is what I really look for with a client is their work ethic There are a lot of incredibly talented people out there, both in music and television who have all of the talent in the world, but they don’t have the work ethic. We need that in a client and they see it. The ones with a work ethic, they see that we have the same. So it usually makes it a good fit.

The Fourward business plan consists of four lines of business: TV/film management, music management, production, and corporate.

Recently, Sony Corporation agreed to purchase a further 60% stake in EMI Music Publishing, Last year saw such sales as SONGS to a Kobalt-managed fund, and Imagem to Concord Music. Now Apple has launched a music publishing division.

Amidst the entertainment consolidations, folks are seeking a seat at the table or a bigger slice of the overall revenue pie. All of which doesn’t leave much for managers.

It does and it doesn’t. Being a smaller company we are able to, I think, navigate and provide services that some of the bigger companies can’t as well. We can take the time to…I mean you hear the word “corporate,” and it sounds like you probably want to roll your eyes. But what it means for us is a division, where we are able to help clients and create income opportunities from a revenue standpoint. For example, we are pretty much down the road with one of the top private equity firms in the world, doing a deal that is gigantic for Chris Hemsworth in the fitness space.  It requires not a significant…it’s a lot less of a commitment than certain endorsement type deals with a way, way, way bigger upside. I don’t think that management companies in the years past really knew how to navigate those type of deals or create, I should say in this case, those kinds of opportunities.

In order to pursue such strategic partnerships they most likely went to a third party like Marcie Allen’s MAC Presents, the sponsorship and fulfillment agency.

Correct.

Only a handful of managers are set up to work in the film and TV sphere as well as in the music sector at the same time. Managers tend to have their footing in one or the other entertainment sectors. Nor are many deep investment savvy. So there’s a potential of significant synergy at Fourward with all of the moving parts.

We try to capitalize on that and help artists take advantage of opportunities that we can create or access for them because of our relationships in other areas.

Recruiting Jon Levin to head Fourward’s film and television production and literary department was most certainly a coup.

It was a huge coup. Jon I have known each other for many years, back from when I was typing letters for John Huie (co-head of CAA’s Nashville office) as an assistant. Jon would come out from the L.A office, and visit us in Nashville. In recent years, we started doing some work together while he was at CAA. Finally, I said, “Are you going to keep putting movies together with other peoples’ names on them or do you want to come over, and put out some with your name on them?” We were fortunate enough to open up that conversation. It became real. He’s just a gem of a person to have.

[Jon Levin heads Fourward’s film and television production and literary department. He was a longtime CAA agent representing and developing a diverse slate of properties. He is credited for packaging such films as "Hook,” "Shrek,” "Midnight Run,” "Ice Age,” "Where the Wild Things Are,” "Glengarry Glen Ross,” "Little Miss Sunshine,” as well as such hot TV properties as the STARZ series "American Gods” and HBO’s "The Leftovers.” Along with Angelina Jolie, Gerry Shirren, and Mimi Polk Gitlin, Levin was executive producer of the 2018 animated film "The Breadwinner,” adapted for the 2000 children’s novel by Deborah Ellis.]

Jon is near closing a first-look television deal with FremantleMedia which is, of course, one of the leading creators, producers, and distributors of television brands in the world?

Correct. That’s exciting. We have a bunch of different movies that we are currently setting up. So it feels right. Jon has been with us for the past year or so. With the rate of production, he’s now really hitting his stride.

Also with Fourward are former Roar staffers Trent Blacket, and Peter Sung. As Head of Ventures at Fourward, Peter will be running the New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul offices. He is the lead in Fourward’s activities with the digital media and broadcasting company VICE Media, and Bloomberg. Trent is Fourward’s corporate head and will oversee offices in Melbourne, San Francisco, and Shanghai.

Yes. Trent had headed up many of the corporate endeavors at Roar along with my former partner Greg (Suess). So Trent coming over just with the Australian connection is fantastic. Trent and I have had a relationship for many years. He was just a great addition. I call him Ray Donovan (the “fixer” for Hollywood’s elite in ShowTime’s’ TV series “Ray Donovan”) because he is of an even keel, and he’s like an assassin. He’s like a quiet assassin. He gets the job done every time, and he’s very calm and cool about it.

Tell me about the Fourward entity Ward Blacket Investments which recently structured a strategic partnership with iHeartMedia and VoiceByte, incorporating their technology into iHeartMedia’s radio, digital, live events and TV programs.

These investments will be going through Ward Blacket very soon. We are in the process of closing that up. We are in sort of our final money-raising stage in wrapping up some of the legal. But that (Ward Blacket) will be a vehicle that will allow us to deploy capital into opportunities that we come across. One of the great things about the business we work in is that you get pretty unique access to many different worlds. In one instance, I have become friends with a lot of the top CEOs and founders of some of the bigger companies in Silicon Valley, and I’ve come across some great opportunities to invest in that we would never know about otherwise. Having the access to be able to do that hopefully will be something that we can do great things with Ward Blacket Investments.

Ward Blacket has been established as a vehicle to deploy capital alongside the firm’s partners at Amalfi Capital, a global technology investment fund. So you already have a partner in Amalfi Capital?

We do.

What role will they be playing?

Well, they are a true investment banker so from a legal standpoint they are our partners that allow us to do this in a way that is all by the books.

Are you seeking further investors?

We are looking for other partners from a strategic standpoint, not necessarily partners, but capital from strategic partners, maybe more individuals than institutions.

Fourward has established an office in Los Angeles?

Yes.

While Trent will oversee offices in Melbourne, San Francisco, and Shanghai, Peter will be running offices in New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul. Surely not fully-staffed offices.

We have just locked our address in Melbourne and were transferring some of the stuff.  Peter came over from Roar so we have had to try and find new office space to house these. They are small satellite offices that will allow us to do business in these other territories where Peter is.

What size staff do you expect to have eventually?

Well, I am growing the music side of the company right now pretty aggressively. I’m about to announce some interesting stuff on that side. There’s one (signing) that you will see that will take a couple of weeks. It is something that will make some noise, and it’s really exciting. Assuming that we can get a deal done right, it will be a pretty big splash. Then I ‘m going to open a Nashville office. I have been interviewing some people there to help run that. We have signed a few music clients. We recently signed Emma Zander who is one of the smartest and savviest artists that I’ve ever met. She has such a vision for who she is, and she truly gets the business and the work ethic along with it. Meanwhile, Elliphant is making a record that is just mind-blowing.

Elliphant is currently in the studio with Mark Rankin who has worked with Adele, Queens of the Stone Age, Foster the People, Florence and the Machine, and Bloc Party?

Yes, she is working with Mark.

With labels reducing staff and pulling back services over the past decade, managers have largely stepped in to oversee production, distribution and marketing, publicity, promotion, and even publishing activities in-house

For the most part, you are right, and you truly have to be full-service. Whenever a business shrinks, like the music business did, people start to look at their commissions as some sort of way to save money. In all actuality, we all know that’s not the truth, but it’s a natural instinct. So the heat is on and people need to perform at a higher level. (Michael) Ovitz (who co-founded CAA) earlier is the guy who shook up the agency business. He brought a new standard of hard work to that business and made it much more competitive. The sort of shrink in the music business, and now this evolution of streaming and what’s it’s doing to the networks, and how the movie business is being affected by the onslaught of the proliferation of television, gaming, social media, and all of these other distractions for kids today, creates challenges, and challenges make people raise their game.

Meanwhile, there’s a trend of artists taking their management in-house. Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Sean Combs, and Jay Z are among those who have their management in-house. The attitude is, “I don’t need to be paying 10% to 15% to a manager. I can have someone in-house for a salary or 5% commission.”

Most likely there are pitfalls being represented by employees who don’t have as much on the line in a negotiation as if they were getting a percentage of the act’s earnings, and had built the act from the bottom up.

I think that there is no doubt about it. I think that if it was just that easy (to do in-house) then everybody would do it at that level. A lot of people have tried it, and it doesn’t seem to work. They usually come out of that. I’ve seen where they (artists) brought management in in-house, and they ended up having a staff of 100 people, and spending a lot more money because they are picking up a lot of costs that the manager was essentially covering.

Even the live music business has significantly been transformed due to agency and promoter consolidations as well as diminished revenues from music sales.

When I first started out all of these concert promoters were working independently. There was a lot of padding of expenses. It just wasn’t just as straight up, and clean as a business as today. I ‘m sure those guys had to do those things just to survive, but it just didn’t feel right. One thing that has been a big value-add to the concert business has been bigger companies taking over. There is a transparency that didn’t exist before.

Managers of both music and film and TV clients today are looking to agencies to help them explore, and exploit other areas of their clients’ careers. A client may be a singer with plans to be an actor or to write a book. An actor might be considering a music career. We live in a multi-media world in which multi-faceted is considered an asset.

It is but, if I am being honest, you typically roll your eyes when you hear that. When they (a client) say that they want a singing career, and they want to act. But you do it (seek opportunities). It is a nice thing to be able to offer the services. If they are serious, there are plenty of examples where those services can be truly put to use, and employed in a way that can help them. Look at a guy like Don Glover and what he’s done. I’m sure when he talked about his singing career to his acting manager, who is probably very different than his music manager because most places don’t have both. But I’m sure that the conversation was, “Oh, okay.” But look at what he’s done. It’s amazing. Truly talented people are talented people.

Justin Timberlake is a good example of someone exploiting two separate careers.

Timberlake is the pinnacle. There’s just no one…that guy, he’s just got it all. It’s really incredible.

Did starting out in the Nashville office of CAA after graduating from the College of Charleston offer you greater access to the industry than if you had been in the L.A. office?

It was great for me. The idea originally was that I was going to work in the L.A. mailing room of C.A.A. I didn’t even know that they had a Nashville office. Before my interview in L.A., I met the guys that ran the Nashville office.

You had read the Business Weekly feature article on Michael Ovitz?

I did. That changed my life. And I met John Huie who is still one of the big dogs in the CAA Nashville office, and one of the great agents in Nashville. John offered me a job in Nashville and I thought, “Well, I don’t know if I want to this, I want to go to L.A.” But it worked out for me. I also thought, “I can’t turn this down, and not get the job in L.A., and after being gone for boarding school for four years of college, I get to re-connect with my roots” because I was born in Nashville. So to have three years of starting off my career reconnecting with friends and family (in Nashville) before I made the permanent move to L.A. was an incredible opportunity.

You had planned on being an investment banker. You had studied business admin at college with Japanese studies as a minor

Yes.

I bet your parents were just ecstatic when you returned to Nashville to work at CAA.

They were a little thrown off. My dad came from the world of finance, and he never really understood it. Then (Michael) Ovitz was negotiating for the job to run Universal (transitioning from MCA in 1995), and the deal fell apart. This was before he took the Disney deal (and forced out as president of the Walt Disney Co. in 1997). But, at one point, he was negotiating to take over Universal, and the deal fell apart, and he was on the cover of the Wall Street Journal and the article said Michael Ovitz was negotiating a deal for between $150 million and $250 million to run Universal. I walked into my dad’s office, and I put the Wall Street Journal down—this was after I had been doing it (being a trainee) for about two years, and my dad always saying, “What is that you do, again?”—and I walked in with the Wall Street Journal that day, and I set it down and I pointed to that article on the front page and I said, “Dad, see this. That’s my boss.” He went, Oh, okay.” And the light bulb went off, and he said, “You are going to be okay.”

Years ago, I read David Rensin’s 2003 insider book “The Mailroom: Hollywood History from the Bottom Up.” It related what it was like to work in the mailroom of the Hollywood offices of CAA, and the William Morris Agency. The book gave accounts of the tasks that mailroom employees had to do to reach agent status. How brutalizing was your experience?

It’s not for the thin-skinned. It was certainly a time when the agencies then, and I don’t know if they do now, but then they certainly did not pay overtime. They certainly didn’t pay much money at all. It was survival of the fittest.

As a trainee and a junior agent, you’d be a golden retriever or sometime gofer burdened with every trashy job possible. You’d be told to organize, to drive to the airport and pick somebody up, or order in lunch.  

You did all that, but that is where you showed what you could do. You could sit around and look in the mailroom and think, “Okay, I am standing around a bunch of people, Ivy League MBAs and JDs (Juris Doctors) and wonder why are we all sitting around copying scripts and putting them in packages. But there’s something to come from seeing this system in place because the hungry ones–obviously it has to come with tact and smarts—but it is really the hungry ones that showed up that started coming out of the mail room faster, and the ones that climbed up the ladder faster. If someone was there at six in the morning. I was there the next days at 5:30 in the morning. Someone left at 10 o’clock at night, I left the next night at 10:30. You just have to be up for it.

I’m sure you recall Jeffrey Katzenberg at Paramount,  Disney,  DreamWorks and DreamWorks Animation as an intense micromanager with a punishing work ethic. Hollywood urban legend quoted him saying: “If you don’t come to work on Saturdays, don’t bother to come in on Sunday.”

It is true. It is definitely a business that you have to be passionate about and you have to want it to succeed. So if you are not going to be in Saturdays, don’t bother coming in on Sundays.

Meanwhile, on the bottom rung, you are able to see how the veteran agents handle clients, and you are able to build a network with relationships with others at the same level. Some of those business relationships being developed will be in play for decades to come.

Correct. Very, very very true. 100%. And, if you really work hard, and if you start to make relationships you get noticed by the senior guys, and as you grow you start to develop real relationships with them too. I was fortunate to have a couple of great mentors, one who passed away recently (May 25th) the great Paul Bloch (co-chairman of Rogers & Cowan who counted John Travolta, Eddie Murphy and Tom Cruise among his clients). He was one of the great publicists of all time. He was very much like a godfather to me; and also Jerry Weintraub (manager of one time of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, the Four Seasons, Neil Diamond, and the Carpenters) years ago. Jerry was also very much like a godfather to me too. It was really fun to bounce ideas off these guys because, even though we live in a different day and time with handheld devices and people being able to work from a mobile basis, at the end of the day, we are still doing kind of the same jobs as they were.

I remember one time we were in conversation to sign a very big artist, let’s say someone who had been around for awhile, and someone who Jerry happened to have a professional relationship with many years earlier. I will leave it at that. I told Jerry, “I’m going to a meeting to sign this guy, and he said, “Let me tell you something. The best thing that could ever happen is that the car breaks down or you run out of gas.” It was his way of saying, “You don’t have time for this guy. You are better than this.” So sometimes getting advice from these guys, it was always so blunt and to the point, but it always came with a lot of wisdom.

Paul Bloch’s run at Rogers & Cowan lasted almost 50 years. He was the grand old man of Hollywood publicity.

He really was. He was one of the kindest great human beings I’ve certainly known in this business. There’s not a person in the business that wouldn’t say anything but the most flattering things about him. He was a fascinating guy because he thought bigger than a publicist. Not taking anything away from publicists, but a lot of times they approach publicity in the same way the head of marketing would attack it or they might say, “let’s talk to the head of distribution about that.” He was really, really involved in playing at a higher level. We had lunch every month until two months ago. It was always fascinating sitting at the tables with him and seeing the kind of people who would come up and say “hi” to him, from the Bob Iger (CEO of The Walt Disney Company) to Barry Diller (chairman and senior executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp and Expedia). There are not many publicists that would have the authority to have those people come by and shake their hand. He was a good man.

You are known as an outstanding family man. Three kids?

I have three kids. Three wonderful kids. I have a son who is 15 who is growing up so fast that it freaks me out. Then I have a 14-year-old son, and then I have a 10-year-old daughter who is about to turn 40.

Larry LeBlanc is widely recognized as one of the leading music industry journalists in the world. Before joining CelebrityAccess in 2008 as senior editor, he was the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard from 1991-2007 and Canadian editor of Record World from 1970-80. He was also a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record. He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, and the London Times. He is co-author of the book “Music From Far And Wide.”

He is the recipient of the 2013 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, recognizing individuals who have made an impact on the Canadian music industry.

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