Our mission is to offer accessible professional development resources to the Michigan Music Community.
Michigan Music Alliance was created in 2019 as a direct response to the needs expressed by West Michigan artists. In July 2019, Executive Director Elle Lively hosted a Music Business Roundtable at Third Coast Recording Co. in Grand Haven, Michigan. The event was attended by 200+ local artists, engineers, promoters, booking agents, venues owners and other industry professionals. We asked the artists in our community what they needed to continue to build their music businesses into sustainable careers. This birthed the B-Side Sessions, a series of free music business education sessions focusing on specific topics anywhere from social media to publishing. The sessions run once a month, September thru April, featuring a panel of industry experts. In 2019, the events were held in studios and venues around West Michigan, but due to COVID-19, they occupied the virtual space in 2020 and 2021. Going fully virtual has allowed MMA to bring free programming to more Michigan artists, all over the state -- increasing our reach.
In addition to free educational music business sessions and DIY resources, we are creating opportunities to help artists connect on a personal level. It is our hope these events will facilitate lasting collaborations and support systems leading to a sustainable music community that focuses on what we all have in common: the love of music.
We also recognize the need to connect artists to local mental health resources and are working with professionals to create new programming that focuses on mental health as an artist.
In March 2020, due to our own cancelled events and many local artists losing their primary source of income for an undefined amount of time, we launched the Michigan Artist Relief Fund and began to disburse funds raised to local artists. We were the second COVID-19 response fund launched in the nation specifically for self-employed artists. To raise funds and awareness, we hosted Spread the Music, a four-day fully virtual music festival that featured volunteer artists from all over the state. We raised $40,000 which was disbursed to Michigan artists who applied and qualified for funding. The Michigan Artist Relief Fund is reopened applications in May 2021, after the second annual Spread the Music Festival in March 2021.
We believe in "collaboration over competition" and the power of coming together. Diversity fuels the spirit of the Michigan Music Community and Michigan Music Alliance. Our commitment to inclusion across genre, race, gender, age, religion, identity and experience drives us forward every day. Our goal is to bridge the gaps and create a flow of community, opportunity and knowledge throughout the entire state. Michigan Music Alliance is proud to be a fully volunteer-powered organization, with an incredible advisory board, team of volunteers and supporting partners. If you would like to get involved, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
John Sinkevics, President
John Sinkevics is a lifelong journalist who started the Local Spins website covering West Michigan's music scene in 2012. After serving as a lead music critic and entertainment writer for The Grand Rapids Press for 10 years, he now serves as editor and publisher of Local Spins, providing news updates on Grand Rapids-area musical happenings, band features, photo galleries, concert and album reviews, podcasts and guest columns, as well as hosting the weekly Local Spins on WYCE radio show at 11 a.m. Fridays on WYCE (88.1 FM) spotlighting local and regional music and interviews with Michigan artists. He holds an honors degree in journalism from the University of Michigan and is co-founder of The Honeytones, once described as “the deans of Grand Rapids’ pop-rock scene” and a band that stages an annual Feedback concert to benefit Access of West Michigan’s food pantries for the needy -- an event that's featured dozens of other West Michigan artists for the past two decades.
Assistant Professor Kwant is the Director of the Music and Entertainment Business program. In addition to teaching, Paul leads the Music and Entertainment Business Association (MEBA) Registered Student Organization as the primary faculty advisor. Assistant Professor Kwant’s teaching style is learner-centered and involves practical application of classroom theory and instruction. He focuses on individual student strength development and provides mentoring to increase student success. Paul encourages innovative thinking, and promotes team-based leadership to enhance relationships, and promote overall value. Paul is actively involved with the Ferris State University Annual Program Review Committee, and previously served as the Past-President of the Society for Experiential Education. Paul is a Big Rapids native and has been employed at Ferris since 2003. When he isn’t involved with music or the music business, he enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, reading, and watching hockey.
Courses Taught: FSUS 100 - Ferris State University Seminar, MEBM 101 - Industry Fundamentals, MEBM 192 - Music and Entertainment Business Management Internship, MEBM 292 - Music and Entertainment Business Management Internship 2, MEBM 351 - The Music and Entertainment Business and MEBM 358 - Survey of Music Technology.
Chris Newberg is an attorney and partner at Rodenhouse Law Group. He helps individuals and businesses in civil litigation, business, cannabis, intellectual property, and entertainment matters. While much of his litigation experience comes from working on large-scale, complex lawsuits, there is no case too big or too small for Chris as he takes a great deal of pride in providing his services to individuals and businesses traditionally underserved by the legal community. Chris is one of Michigan’s few entertainment attorneys with actual, first-hand experience in the entertainment industry. Chris knows that to properly represent entertainers, you must not only know the law, but also the business. That’s where he starts to separate from the pack. For over the past decade, Chris has traveled the country as the lead guitarist for Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys, which has given him invaluable perspective and experience concerning the operations of all sides of the music industry. Whether it’s helping a new artist get started in business, working through complex intellectual property licensing issues, or negotiating publishing and record deals, Chris is more than qualified to help. Chris grew up in Rockford, Michigan, and is now raising a family with his wife on the west side of Grand Rapids. He is a graduate and devoted fan of Michigan State University. After attending MSU, he received his law degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. When he’s not working, Chris enjoys playing music, playing with his rambunctious little boys, traveling, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors.
Music producer/DJ, entrepreneur and technologist, Andrea Wallace (best known as Dre) has passion for building business and empowering those who are part of the creative economy. Dre has invested in projects across industries, including music/entertainment, technology and most recently, consumer products. A west Michigan native, Dre has spent the last 13 years strategizing innovative technology solutions for some of the largest companies in the country, but what Dre is most known for is being "Super". Dre has been an accomplished music producer and DJ for nearly 15 years under the moniker SuperDre, performing at venues around the world and producing music for other artists, TV shows and documentaries. With that strong passion for music and technology, Dre founded Fourtifeye, a music-tech startup focused on using data to drive more meaningful connections between musicians, fans and brands. In 2021, Fourtifeye was acquired by another music-tech company called Opnr and Dre was appointed the new CEO of Opnr.
Follow Dre's adventures on social at @superdrizzy
Nicholas James Thomasma
Earthwork Music singer songwriter Nicholas James Thomasma has over 20 years of industry experience as a performer, organizer, promoter and radio DJ. A board member at Folk Alliance Region Midwest, he is also the curator of the Songtellers, Stories and Songs songwriter series at the Listening Room in Grand Rapids, MI and hosts several songwriting retreat weekends.
John Bommarito’s adventure in the music industry began in 1985 as the first ever paid employee of an independent record store in East Detroit (now Eastpointe), MI called Record Time. After nearly 10 years serving as the store’s manager and head buyer, John moved to Miami to be the head buyer for a supplier of import CDs that sold to stores across the USA. An opportunity arose to run a company doing the same thing, but specializing only in CDs manufactured in Canada. John did that for five years until the bottom fell out on the independent record stores (in many ways due to Napster changing how music buyers no longer valued owning the music legally).
All of this exposure to music came in handy when he stumbled into the opportunity to do something he wanted to do since 10th grade – be on the radio! WHFR in Dearborn at Henry Ford College was the real start of John’s radio career back in 2002, where he began serving as the station’s Folk Music Director and remained in that position for nearly ten years. In 2005, John had the opportunity to join the staff at ann arbor’s 107one (WQKL-FM), where he remained for nearly 15 years. While there, he got to host a Sunday morning show called Acoustic Brunch (which later became the Sunday Brunch). It was heard both in Ann Arbor and, for a period of time before the pandemic, Grand Rapids on WKQL-FM. During his time with WQKL, John got to interview artists ranging from up and coming local artists to future stars like Ed Sheeran. In 2021, John returned to WHFR to serve as the station’s Operations Manager until the opportunity to join the staff at WEMU arose. John loves live music in listening rooms like The Ark, Trinity House, 20 Front Street and house concerts and cherishes his CD collection. After watching the demise of vinyl when he worked in record retail, he can’t wait for the big CD revival to take place. Otherwise, he’s got a room full of music that has no value to anyone but him.
Lori Stratton is a music journalist, artist champion and live music aficionado based in Whitmore Lake, Michigan. Her musical journey started while working as a corporate communications writer by day and attending live shows at night and on weekends. That growing love of music later blossomed into The Stratton Setlist, a music blog that spotlights independent artists and musicians inside and outside of Michigan. Lori also writes about local music and artists for Current Magazine, Local Spins and the Ann Arbor District Library’s Pulp blog. Today, Lori volunteers as a communications coordinator for Ypsilanti’s Grove Studios, hosts The Stratton Setlist podcast and works as a library technician – writer/editor for the Ann Arbor District Library.
Elle Lively, Executive Director
Elle Lively is a facilitator for collaboration in the Michigan music scene and freelance consultant focusing on artist development. With a background in tour management, Elle toured through 8 countries and 30+ states with various acts spanning metal to folk. Most recently, Elle was the tour manager for the Michigan indie-folk-rock phenomenon, The Accidentals. She also has a background in nonprofit management, focusing on education and empowerment through service learning. This led Elle to found Michigan Music Alliance in 2019, a nonprofit focused on providing Michigan musicians with accessible music business education programming and rich community building experiences that create lasting connection and collaboration opportunities. As an active member of the Music Managers Forum, Elle hosted the Music Industry Roundtable in West Michigan, has been a judge for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s High School Rock Off, a juror for KDL Vibes, and a judge for The Stray's Battle of the Bands. She has also been a source on music for NPR, The Grand Rapids Business Journal, MLive, and more. Elle was featured in MNSTRM magazine for International Women's Day in 2020. In addition to being the founder and Executive Director of Michigan Music Alliance, Elle is the Events Assistant General Manager at Studio Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan and music curator for Humm Productions. She's also a volunteer programmer at Grand Rapid's WYCE 88.1 FM.
EMMY award-winning composer Sheridan Tongue is internationally acclaimed for his dramatic soundtracks for TV drama, films, and documentaries worldwide.
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sheridan has scored some of UK television’s most prestigious drama series including 12 series of Silent Witness, 5 series of DCI Banks as well as Spooks and Sea of Souls.
In 2021 he picked up a prestigious Emmy for his work on the quirky film The Last Artifact that featured scientists from all over the planet searching for a new way to redefine the Kilogram, for Montana PBS.
Sheridan’s documentary scores are also highly memorable for work such as the BAFTA winner Wounded (BBC), the lavish natural history series Atlas 4D and Stephen Hawking’s Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking (Discovery) and Steven Hawking’s Favourite Places (Curiosity Stream), as well as Wonders of the Universe (BBC) and most recently his edgy visceral score for Narco Wars (National Geographic) and his dramatic new soundtrack for the 13 part Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty for AMC+ and BBC America.
Bill Chrysler has had the ears of some of the world’s top musicians for more than three decades. His desire to give artists everything they need to make their best music enabled him to assemble all the tools necessary to build a world class recording facility that caters to every whim of artists interested in capturing their true sound. As one of the most respected monitor engineers in the business, Bill earned the trust of musicians of all stripes, from Paul McCartney, Madonna, and Bob Dylan to Maroon 5, John Mayer, and Christina Aguilera. Years on the road gave him the talent to listen to what they wanted and he built Third Coast Recording Company with the same devotion and same attention to detail to create the perfect space to make music happen.
Binnie shares a life long passion for music, community, and helping others with her husband, Bill. She runs Third Coast Recording Company in Grand Haven, MI and has extensive touring experience. Her love of music and passion for helping others is an asset to Michigan Music Alliance as she helps us explore new opportunities for community involvement.
Binnie resides in Grand Haven with her husband Bill, their fur baby Ruby, and keeps tabs on their two children, who are also in the music industry.