Meet the Advisory Board
Bruce W. Davis, Executive Director, Arts Council Silicon Valley
Davis has been a professional lyricist, award-winning songwriter and performer for over 20 years. His songs have been published by 20th Century Fox/Fanfare Music, included in film and television soundtracks, as well as in commercials and public service announcements.
Edward R. Hearn, Attorney/Author/former President of West Coast Songwriters.
Ned’s practice concentrates on the entertainment, Internet, and computer software businesses. A partial listing of past and present clients include:
Will Ackerman, Starbucks/Hear Music, Joe Satriani, SF Weekly, Klutz Press, Wells Fargo Creative Services and Green Day.
Additionally, Ned has co-authored Musician's Guide to Copyright and Musician's Business & Legal Guide (4th Edition) . Member, Board of Directors, California Lawyers for the Arts and the Former West Coast Songwriters Board President.
Former Program Director of Mountain Winery and Villa Montalvo Performing Arts, Founder/Producer of San Jose Jazz Festival Bruce Labadie has over 30 years of experience in Performing Arts Management and festival production. Hedirected all programs at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga for 18 years, was performing arts director at Montalvo for 12 years, has been director of many festivals in San Jose, including Brew Ha Ha, the San Jose America Festival and has been a founder and the Festival Director of the Comcast San Jose Jazz Festival since 1980.
Andre Pessis – Songwriter, President of NARAS, SF Chapter
Andre has written 16 hit songs with over 20 million records sold. His songs have been recorded by – Tim McGraw, Waylon Jennings, Bonnie Raitt, Mr. Big, Southern PacificHuey Lewis and the News, Bob Weir and RatDog, Journey, Ben E King, Laura Branigan, Tower of Power, Europe, The Stylistics, Pieces of a Dream, Glenn Medeiros, Ann Wilson of Heart, Gregg Rolie, The Storm and many others. His songs have been in major movies like Clint Eastwood’s Pink Cadillac and The Wild Life and TV shows like The Heat of the Night, Melrose Place and Miami Vice. Andre has taught songwriting at the university level as well as for West Coast Songwriters and The SF Recording Academy (Grammies).
Mike Pinder, Founding Member of The Moody Blues
Known as Mellotron Man Mike Pinder was one of the founding members of The Moody Blues in early 1960's. The band had many hits including Go Now, Nights in White Satin, and Tuesday Afternoon, to name only a few. Mike is well known for his ground breaking use of the Mellotron in rock music. Mike introduced the Mellotron to The Beatles. As a Singer Songwriter Mike wrote many of the Moody Blues songs and won The Ivor Novello Award for Social Content for his song A Simple Game
Merl Saunders Jr., Former Executive Director of NARAS, SF Chapter
The namesake of legendary keyboardist Merl Saunders, Merl Jr. grew up at the heart of the vital Bay Area music scene with other well known “music families” like the Grateful Dead and Creedence Clearwater Revival. With the assistance of local musicians, Merl Jr. founded Music In Schools Today, which teaches and encourages at-risk youth to explore music as an outlet, utilizing the Bay Area’s talent pool as instructors.
Steve Seskin, Singer-Songwriter
Steve is a successful songwriter who has written seven number one songs, including Grammy- nominated Grown Men Don't Cry, recorded by Tim McGraw, and winner of NSAI Song of the Year and Music Row Magazine Song of the Year in 1999 as recorded by Mark Wills. His other #1 hits are and , both recorded by Neal McCoy and John Michael Montgomery and If You've Got Love (Remastered LP Version) both recorded by John Michael Montgomery, and Daddy'S Money recorded by Ricochet.
Three-times nominated for the prime time Emmys, Grammy Award-winning songwriters Michael and Patty have built their career writing children’s music. They have had three TV theme songs, four Disney theme park parades, and a national advertising campaign for the Disney Channel. Additionally, they are the main songwriters, producers, arrangers and music supervisors for Pajanimals: Good Night, Pajanimals! , Michael continues to be very active in theatre having recently been commissioned by the Kennedy Center to write the music for Mo Willems, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale Michael and Patty are the co-founders of the West Coast Songwriters.
Howard Thomas, Accountant
Janis Stevenson, Foothill College Music Professor
By the age of 10, Janis was playing Boogie Woogie on the ukulele for Duke Kahanamoku in Waikiki, and singing Duke Ellington’s Mood Indigo. She was inspired to play the guitar after hearing Bola Sete in Monterey, and later studied guitar privately with the great Rey de la Torre. She received her Bachelor’s degree in music at San Jose State University, while studying classical guitar with Fred Thrane. Janis is one of the founding members of West Coast Songwriters and has sat on the board since 1980.
Narada Michael Walden - Producer/Songwriter/Artist
Yet, as impressive a production and songwriting resume as Narada Michael Walden has assembled over the past thirty years and counting, he has earned equal acclaim as a recording and performing artist in his own right. Beginning with his stint as part of the pioneering Mahavishnu Orchestra in the early Seventies, through eleven acclaimed solo albums and numerous appearances at the top of the Pop and R and B charts. There is a powerful spiritual component at the heart of everything this richly gifted artist undertakes. Walden has served as Music Director for the Rain Forest Concert at Carnegie Hall, the high profile conversancy benefit spearheaded by Sting and Trudie Styler. Walden’s prodigious energies have consistently kept him on the cutting edge of today’s, and tomorrow’s, music. Narada Michael Walden is not only one of the most sought-after talents of our era: he is also one of the most admired, emulated and authentic. You can hear it in his music.