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Jerry Mac's News
January / February, 2004 Issue

November/December 2003 Issue

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Music Row's Artist Driven Indie Label

NASHVILLE, TN -- Jeff Huskins, successful artist, producer and entrepreneur has announced the formation of Nashville's newest, innovative, independent record label, Vivaton. Huskins, whose performing career included touring and performing with artists such as Clint Black and Gene Watson, is best known as a member of the multi-platinum country band Little Texas. After Little Texas disbanded, Huskins built and managed several successful businesses outside the entertainment industry. During his eighteen years in the music industry, he has produced, engineered and/or performed on over 160 albums in a cross section of formats and with various artists. Huskins' ultimate goal, however, has been to start and guide a record label based on the business philosophy he developed during his career as an artist. Huskins put together a prominent team of industry execs and has built a strong foundation to establish a full-service, diverse, and viable independent label.

Huskins is the President/CEO of Vivaton and shares the vision for the newly established label. "Our objective is to create an artist-friendly environment as it relates to all aspects of the business. Having been on the other side of the industry as a working artist, I have gained a valuable understanding of what a hopeful artist needs. My experience will allow me to work on the same level with the artist and speak the same language. We don't believe in the "Artist Protection Program." If we sign an artist, that means we believe in the artist and he/she can expect full and immediate support from the label. Contractually, we will have an across the board policy -Artist/Songwriters will be paid the full statutory mechanical rate. Additionally, we will be implementing a digital plan that is mutually beneficial to the artist and the label. Our objective in signing an artist is not to create an artist but to capitalize on his or her talents as they exist. Each person on our team has a strong music background to allow us to accomplish this. Vivaton's mission is to release genuinely talented artists who are making great music."

The diversity of the staff's music business backgrounds, combined with their proven track records, strengthen Huskins' business model and Vivaton's method of conducting good music industry business.

The label's executive team includes: Shelia Shipley Biddy and Amy W. Stevens

Shelia Shipley Biddy
has been named as Executive Vice President National Promotion and Artist Development. "Shelia is a legend in the promotion world. Her successes speak volumes. She was directly responsible for 135 No. 1 singles in a 15-year period, she brings experience and a proven track record to the label and I am honored to have her on our team," Huskins notes.

Shipley Biddy served as the Senior Vice President of National Promotion, MCA Records. During her ten-year tenure at MCA, she was instrumental in the development and successes of Vince Gill, Steve Wariner, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Mark Chesnutt, Tracy Byrd, The Mavericks, Wynonna, and David Lee Murphy. In 1994, Shipley Biddy was named Senior Vice President and General Manager for Decca Records. During the five-year period that the re-activated Decca Records was under her leadership, the label was successful in breaking Lee Ann Womack, Gary Allan, and Rhett Akins. Her team achieved nine No. 1 singles, three gold albums, 2 platinum albums, and a Top 10 Country Label Share. In 1999, she launched her own company Shipley Biddy Entertainment, a personal artist management and consulting firm.

"I am so excited to work with Jeff Huskins and the staff he has assembled at Vivaton. It is a rare opportunity to be on the ground floor of a new company that has such a big vision for the future. Jeff's passion for music and for people will be key ingredients to Vivaton's success. In taking a look at the long-term business plan and the label's objective, I knew this was the next career step for me. I look forward to building a team of people whose passion for artistry will help us write a new page in the music industry history book." Biddy adds.

Amy W. Stevens has been named Vice President of Legal Affairs and International Licensing. Amy comes to Vivaton after practicing entertainment law solo and as an associate of Gladstone, Doherty & Associates, PLLC for a combined total of seven years. During that time, Stevens concentrated her practice in the areas of business formation and transactions, copyright and trademark law as well as the drafting and reviewing of entertainment contracts from songwriting agreements to recording agreements. She also served as general counsel for Kid Pan Alley - a charity organization that concentrates its efforts on raising money for local schools through involving children in the songwriting process. Prior to establishing her law practice, Amy interned in the legal and business affairs department of both Warner/Chappell and Rhino Records in Los Angeles where she specialized in publishing, copyright issues, and music licensing.

Stevens shares her excitement in joining the team: "I am extremely honored to join Vivaton. As an attorney, I have represented Jeff Huskins for nearly six years and I cannot think of a more competent and genuine person to lead a record label."

"Amy and I have a long term working relationship and there is no one I trust more,"
adds Huskins.

Vivaton is proud to announce Chely Wright as its flagship artist. According to Huskins who is co-producing her new project under the Vivaton imprint, Chely is a natural fit to compliment the label's objective in representing its artists and their ultimate goal. "Chely Wright is a renowned name in the households of country music fans and the country music industry. But Chely Wright is an artist who, I believe, has not yet come full circle to be recognized as a career artist. Her day is yet to come. Every day that we work together in the studio, she impresses me. She possesses natural artistry and she has the stardust! I am proud Chely Wright is part of the Vivaton family."

Click on photo to enlarge.
Close photo to return here.

Chely Wright is a familiar name in all genres of music, any glamour magazine, or human-interest story. She's made a name for herself that has become as recognizable as Reba, Marilyn Monroe, and Raquel Welch. In 1994, Chely caught the ear of producer Harold Shedd who signed her to Mercury/Polygram in 1994. Her first album, Woman In The Moon, was released and the industry took immediate notice. Chely was named Top New Female Vocalist by the Academy of Country Music (1995). Chely followed with her second Polygram album entitled Right In The Middle of It; departed Mercury/Polygram; signed on with MCA-Nashville in 1997 and released Let Me In featuring Chely's chart-topper, "Shut Up And Drive."

Her second album under the MCA imprint, Single White Female, achieved notable success (1999). She celebrated her first No. 1 for her single release by the same name. The corresponding video ("Single White Female") was GAC's No. 1 Video of the Year (1999) and No. 1 on CMT's Top 20 Countdown. The album was certified gold.

Chely released her final album under the MCA-Nashville logo (Never Love You Enough) in October 2001 before departing the label.

Chely took the time during this hiatus to concentrate on her strengths and talents as a songwriter-to write from within. She comes to Vivaton confident, independent and mature, and she's brought back her roots. The partnership with Vivaton will allow Chely to continue her artistry and maintain it-highlighting her natural vocal talent, her "voice" as a songwriter and her traditional country music background.

Chely shares her confidence as to her partnership with Vivaton: "I am thrilled to be Vivaton's first release. Jeff Huskins and Shelia Shipley Biddy have assembled an amazingly talented, experienced, and motivated group of people. The ever-changing climate of our industry presents so many positive opportunities for a new team like ours. I have dedicated the last 18 months preparing my music and myself to make this record. I promised myself I'd wait for the optimum situation. I have implicit confidence in Vivaton's business model. Vivaton will not release my single, then simply move on to release 9 other acts to see what sticks. To the contrary, I am with this team because they are knowledgeable and focused. Vivaton is committed to the mission of One Record At A Time."

Chely will release her first single "In The Back of The Bottom Drawer" (co-written with Liz Rose and co-produced by Huskins) on March 22. The album release is scheduled for early August 2004.

Huskins concludes, "The label's main concentration will be Country Music and Chely Wright will lead the way. The Vivaton vision, however, is not limited; Vivaton will embrace good music, period."

Vivaton will officially open its doors with a fully staffed national and regional promotion department the first of February. Announcements as to additional personnel will follow.

The label is located at 702 18th Avenue Sooth, Nashville, TN 37203. Tel. 615.255.5233 * Fax. 615.255.9133 * For info:


Jeff Huskins - President/CEO

Shelia Shipley Biddy - Executive VP, National Promotion & Artist Development

Amy Stevens - Vice President, Legal Affairs & International Licensing

Press Release Submitted By:
Jeff Walker
Kathi Atwood

Update February 2, 2004

Announces Promotion Staff

NASHVILLE, TN - Vivaton Executive Vice President/National Promotion & Artist Development, Shelia Shipley Biddy, has announced the label's promotion staff.

Mandy McCormack joins the Vivaton promotions staff as Director of Regional Promotion, Midwest. McCormack has extensive local and network radio experience. She was the Assistant Program Director and Music Director for KZLA-Los Angeles. In addition, she held a position as After Midnite's Music Director responsible for booking all talent, coordinating and overseeing national promotions, and daily communication with nation-wide radio affiliates. Prior to accepting her position with Vivaton, McCormack was in artist management. She managed Audium recording artist, Rodney Redman (2001-2003). During her tenure with Redman, she was instrumental in developing a nationwide Southwest Airline promotion and twelve-week Wal-Mart Tour in conjunction with Redman's album release.

Trudie Richardson comes on board as Director of Regional Promotion, Southeast. Trudie is the former Executive Producer of Nashville Nights (a syndicated radio show broadcast from WSIX-Nashville). Trudie's primary experience stems from her work as a promotion rep for a number of Nashville labels including Curb/Asylum, Atlantic, Audium, and Decca Records. In 1998 she was named the Gavin Promotion Manager of The Year. A graduate of Belmont University, she initially entered the music entertainment field in 1996 working at Erv Woolsey Company (manager of George Strait, Lee Ann Womack, Clay Walker).

Larry Santiago has been named Vivaton's Director of Regional Promotion, West Coast/ Southwest. With nearly 20 years experience encompassing country radio programming, national syndicated radio networks, radio project consulting, independent radio promotion and as on-air talent. Larry Santiago brings together all aspects of the radio and music industry. As previous Program Director for the Country Division of Premiere Radio Networks and After Midnite, Santiago oversaw all programming aspects of network country programming. Most recently, Santiago was on-air talent for KZLA, Los Angeles.

Brian Thiele is the Director of Regional Promotion, Northeast. Thiele's initial introduction to the music industry was via his affiliation with Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc. Thiele coordinated the on-site registration for the CRB's annual country radio seminar (1999-2000) accommodating 2,400 attendees. For the past three and a half years, Thiele has promoted MCA, Mercury, and Lost Highway releases to secondary country, FMQB, and CMJ reporting stations. In addition to his regular call schedule promoting to country, college, and AAA radio stations, Brian compiled strategic airplay and SoundScan reports specifically designed for and utilized by the label promotion and marketing departments to broaden airplay and heighten sales awareness.

Tracy Long will serve as the department's Manager of Promotion. Before joining Vivaton, Tracy was an integral part of the Austin Universal Entertainment and Leaddog Management Group, Austin, TX. As Event Production & Promotions Manager, Tracy coordinated promotions mutually beneficial to event buyers, the artists and their sponsors. Tracy also worked to advance show dates for the group Cross Canadian Ragweed creating special promotion opportunities and media appearances for the band and the label. For two years, she was Account Executive for Public Strategies Inc, working in promotion and web site development.

Vivaton will go for adds on its first Chely Wright single in mid-March 2004. "In The Back of The Bottom Drawer," is co-written by Chely Wright and Liz Rose. The album is co-produced by Chely Wright and Jeff Huskins under the Vivaton imprint. Wright's album release is scheduled for early August 2004.

In making the staff announcement Shipley Biddy adds: "Vivaton is an aggressive independent label. In putting our promotion team together, we sought individuals with deep-rooted passion for good music, personal integrity, commitment to the artists, and knowledge of the music business from the radio and label perspective. Equally important was to find individuals that bring diversity to the department and compliment the team spirit. I am extremely proud of this group. Our goal is to create a win-win environment for the artist, the label, and radio."

Vivaton officially opened its doors with a fully staffed national and regional promotion department February 2.

Click on photo to enlarge. Close photo to return here.
Top Row from left to right:
Mandy McCormack/Sheila Shipley Biddy/Larry Santiago/Brian Thiele
Bottom Row from left to right: Trudie Richardson/Tracy Long
PHOTO CREDIT: Thomas Petillo

Chely Wright Receives Special Invitation
To Perform In The Netherlands

(February 6, 2004) Chely Wright (Vivaton Records) will perform Tuesday, February 10, at "A Night For The Stars," a special event held to benefit Fulbright Scholars (an exchange program fostering Dutch-American Friendship) at the Steigenberger Kurhaus Hotel, The Hague, Netherlands (just outside of Amsterdam).

Chely received the personal invitation from Barbara Sobel, wife of Ambassador Sobel (Netherlands), to appear at the black-tie affair. Wright will join artists Dominique Van Hulst (stage name "Do" -pronounced doe) and Candy Dulfer who will perform at this posh sold-out event. The Prime Minister of the Netherlands will also be in attendance.

Chely is set to release her first single under the Vivaton imprint in mid-March 2004. "In The Back of The Bottom Drawer," is co-written by Wright and Liz Rose. The upcoming album (co-produced by Chely Wright and Jeff Huskins) is scheduled to hit shelves early August

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