Sixth Annual Business of Hip-Hop/Urban Music Symposium: The Best in the Business

Darcie Nicole
September 28, 2012
Press release
Kevin Liles
Noah "40" Shebib
Rob Lewis
Miss Courtney Harrell
Darcie Nicole

On Monday, October 15, 2012, Berklee College of Music's Music Business/Management Department presents its Sixth Annual Business of Hip-Hop/Urban Music Symposium keynote event at the Berklee Performance Center. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Music Business/Management major. The event will focus on developing the business acumen and artist development skills necessary to keep burgeoning professionals at the top of their game and the best in the business. The symposium will also focus on best practices, challenges, executive development, and more.

The event features appearances by esteemed entertainment executive and entrepreneur Kevin Liles (Big Sean, Trey Songz, Young Jeezy, and D'Angelo); hit producer Noah "40" Shebib (Drake, Alicia Keys, Rick Ross); and Berklee alumni Rob Lewis (Making the Band on VH1), Miss Courtney Harrell (Think Like a Man), and Darcie Nicole (Boston Hip Hop Alliance). A few lucky audience members will be chosen at random to perform in the Show Me What You Got talent showcase.

The Business of Hip-Hop/Urban Music Symposium is open to all ages, $8 in advance, $12 day of show, and begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC), located at 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA. For more information, call 617-747-2261 or visit

A Conversation with Kevin Liles, Founder & CEO of KWL Management, kicks off the evening with the legendary entertainment executive offering the audience insight and advice.

KWL Management is a holistic talent management firm helping artists, athletes, and celebrities reach their potential in a rapidly changing, interconnected marketplace. KWL's roster of talent includes Big Sean, D'Angelo, Darrell Wallace Jr., Estelle, Jahlil Beats, Nelly, Selita Ebanks, Raheem DeVaughn, Shawn Chrys, Trey Songz, and Young Jeezy. Rising from unpaid intern to head of a global record label, Liles has one of the most storied careers in entertainment. His ascent began in 1991 as an unpaid intern for Def Jam, and through a meteoric rise within the organization, by 1998 was named President of the Def Jam Music Group. During his tenure as President, revenues doubled to $400 million through the diversification of the label's brand, artist roster, and channels. Liles became Executive Vice President of Island/Def Jam following their merger in 2002. In this role, Liles was instrumental in the leap of artists from "performer" to "global brand," leading this transformation for many of the biggest names in hip-hop, rock, and R&B including Jay Z, Kanye West, Hoobastank, Ashanti, and Ludacris.

In 2004, Liles joined Warner Music Group as Executive Vice President and served on the executive team that took WMG public. Liles is renowned for his civic engagement in education and community development, as the founder of Kevin Liles for a Better Baltimore, which invests in his hometown, and the Make It Happen Foundation, providing under serviced youth with business training and exposure to higher education. Recently, Liles partnered with, an educational services company, to launch the Kevin Liles Make It Happen Challenge, an initiative giving away one million self-assessments designed to help individuals discover careers and education opportunities based on their talent. He is also the best-selling author of Make It Happen: The Hip Hop Generation's Guide to Success. Copies of Liles' book will be available for purchase at Berklee Books + Music located at 1080 Boylston Street, Boston.

The conversation with Liles is followed by the return of Show Me What You Got, a talent showcase featuring pre-screened Berklee students and members of the general public randomly selected to perform and be critiqued by a panel of the best in the business.

Show Me What You Got Panelists:

Noah "40" Shebib: ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Songwriter of the Year and producer of Drake, Alicia Keys, L'il Wayne, Rick Ross, Jamie Foxx, and JoJo.

Rob Lewis '94: musical director for Diddy's hit VH1 show Making the Band; current musical director for New Kids on the Block. Other credits include Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Rowland, Babyface, Patti Labelle, Vanessa Williams, and more.

Miss Courtney Harrell '01: GRAMMY® Award-winning songwriter and vocalist whose credits include Chris Brown, John Legend, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, Claude Kelly '02, KeKe Palmer, Tweet, JoJo, Angie Stone, Anthony Hamilton, The Cheetah Girls, Kelly Rowland, Kat Deluna, Kevon Edmonds, and Carl Thomas.

Darcie Nicole '01: vocalist/songwriter, founder of "…Ask Darcie" and The Boston Hip-Hop Alliance. Credits include: Jojo Brim, Master P, Medusa, GrandMixer DXT, Dre Robinson, Jesse Jaeo Tolbert '90 (Ms. Lauryn Hill, Ying Yang Twins), Cheo Coker (Vibe), DMX, Chip Fu, Tony Crush, Digable Planets, David Balfour '00 (Anthony Hamilton).

Spots are limited for this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. To receive the application, email or follow and watch for the link.

Guests are also encouraged to follow for additional announcements.

Updates to the program will be announced as the date approaches via the BizHH twitter feed.

For media inquiries, questions, or to learn more about applying to perform in Show Me What You Got and get live industry critique, contact Darcie Nicole, co-producer, at, 617-747-2839.