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Judges

As you’d expect, competition for the Liverpool Music Awards will be fierce! Those shortlisted for the public vote will have proven their ability to raise the bar and will be at the very top of their game. That’s why we take the business of judging seriously, carefully selecting and balancing the panel and doing all that we can to ensure as robust and transparent a process as possible. Any judge that may have a vested interest in a nominee for any category is not permitted to participate in any of the decision-making for that category.

 

MEET THE FULL LINE UP OF JUDGES… 

 

Janice Long – BBC Radio 2 Presenter

BBC Radio 2’s much-loved late night presenter doesn’t shout it from the rooftops, but she’s been first on the scene with countless bands and artists, eager to present them with a national platform. The list of artists she’s championed is distinguished indeed, from Frankie Goes To Hollywood to Amy Winehouse and beyond.

It says a lot about Janice that the only club she’s ever been a member of was Eric’s, the famous Liverpool nightspot that helped launch so many new wave artists. “When I joined Radio Merseyside I suggested they do a programme that covered the scene that was going on. I just wanted to produce it, but they said, “Nobody knows what you’re talking about, so you do it”. That’s when I started doing sessions on radio. I remember going to see Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s first gig at Mr. Pickwick’s in Liverpool. They were just astonishing, everyone was blown away.”

Late in 1982, her own big break arrived. “I got offered the job at Radio 1, because they’d heard about the show, and I was fortunate enough then to be able to start there doing Saturday nights, 7.30 till 10, in Manchester, and they let me do sessions.” A little later, she would host Radio 1’s early evening show four nights a week. With the evangelistic enthusiasm that’s still her trademark, Janice would lobby labels and publishers to sign Frankie. As the Liverpool scene developed, she would also champion the likes of OMD, The Mighty Wah!, China Crisis and Echo & the Bunnymen.

No sooner had she landed one of the biggest jobs in radio than Janice was also appearing on the UK‟s flagship music show. She was a regular presenter on “Top Of The Pops‟ for six years from 1982, and one of the BBC’s backstage interviewers at the global concert to end them all, Live Aid. After working for the BBC’s London station, then called GLR, Janice took a turn at running one of her own, moving back to Liverpool to launch Crash FM. In 1999, she began to appear on BBC Radio 2, where she soon found a new home for her love of new music as the network’s weekday nighttime presenter. The session guests flocked in, from new bands such as the Wombats and White Lies to old friends like Morrissey, Primal Scream and Paul Weller.

The buzz of introducing people to great music has not diminished. “You do get letters from people saying “I’d never heard of Stornoway, or Robinson. My record collection is constantly increasing. Thank you”. That sort of response is what drives Janice Long, always has and always will. “Music is my hobby, my passion, it’s everything,” she says. “And fortunately, it’s my job.”

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Steve Levine – Grammy winning Record Producer

Beginning his career as a trainee tape-op at CBS studios in 1975, Steve soon progressed to in house engineer, working with many now classic new wave & punk acts including The Clash, The Jags, The Vibrators, XTC as well as many of  CBS records pop acts, including Sailor.
Along with his radio and TV work, he is also busy producing exciting new bands for his new label Hubris Records; first release 6 Day Riot. Currently working with Daytona Lights & Natalie McCool.

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Mark Featherstone-Witty – LIPA Founding Principle / CEO

Mark describes himself as an educator and an entrepreneur, although he has produced, acted and written books. He instigated fresh institutions, like The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) and The BRIT School, as well as steering both local and national charitable enterprises. He is currently LIPA’s Founding Principal. The institute encapsulates the collaboration that lies at the heart of a performing arts event. Ex LIPA bands and acts include The Wombats, Sandi Thom, Eugene McGuiness, The Zutons, The Staves, individuals work as a staff composer for Lucas Arts, keyboard players for Kylie Minogue, Clay Aiken, Amy Studt, Rachel Stevens, drummers for KT Tunstall Stephen Fretwell and China Crisis, singer/songwriters whose tracks have been played on The West WingThe OC and Grey’s Anatomy

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Jennifer John – Sense of Sound Artistic Director & Singers’ Manager

Jennifer John was born to sing, create music and perform. Her career as singer, songwriter, vocal arranger, conductor, vocal coach, actress , performer and business woman has been illustrious and definitely unpredictable. From her early beginnings in East London as lead violinist with Newham Academy Junior orchestra right through to her current role as artistic director of Sense of Sound and manager of Sense of Sound Singers, one of the leading contemporary a cappella choirs in the UK. Never one to tow any line or follow other people’s agendas, this approach has been instrumental in her creating the unique company Sense of Sound which has changed the cultural landscape on Merseyside in terms of singing. The company motto is “We create and produce amazing ways to celebrate singing”.

As a singer herself Jennifer John has collaborated with the cream of International pop music including Brian Eno, Damon Albarn, Damien Dempsey, Yael Naim, Thea Gilmore, Chrissie Hynde, OMD, Paloma Faith, Massive Attack, Richard Hawley and many more. She is also lead singer with the band, Killerfernandez.

As a vocal coach she has lectured at LIPA, is currently on the advisory panel for BBC’s Choir of the Year, has been the in-house voice coach for Deltasonic Records (The Coral, The Zutons and Little Flames) as well as for Integral Management (Atomic Kitten’s Natasha Hamilton and Liz McClarnon), is regularly invited to deliver masterclasses at universities nationally and has taught many emerging and successful artists internationally.

Most recently, Jennifer John was responsible for the recruitment and vocal coaching of Youth Music Voices, the National Youth Choir created to be part of the Cultural Olympiad creative programme in 2012. Performances included Trafalgar Square, The Houses of Parliament, WOMAD festival, and the Royal Opera House.

Jennifer John has performed all over the world and has won numerous awards for her work. She continues to forge new paths and set new standards of excellence. She is a pioneer, a visionary, and an inspiration.

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Dave Monks – BBC Radio Merseyside

BBC Introducing in Merseyside is the on air focal point of Merseyside’s vibrant and creative music scene. Every Sunday (2000 – 2200) Dave Monks hosts a two hour trawl through the very best in cutting edge new releases, interviews with bands and movers and shakers plus live performances. Previously, Dave has produced and presented similar types of programmes on various Merseyside radio stations including Crash FM.

Dave says although BBC Introducing in Merseyside focuses on new music there’s something for everyone “On top of new music it’s also a chance to hear some Liverpool classics that never get a dusting off in the city that they were created.

“Each week we have a number of regular features including special guests selecting their favourite rock tracks, featured albums, interviews and sessions served up to provide a much needed contribution to the cities musical structure.”

Dave says his enthusiasm for local music stretches back over many years, “I was an avid listener of ‘Streetlife’ on Radio Merseyside, hosted by Jane Buchanen, during the late 80s and this was the impetus for wanting to become involved in Liverpool’s vibrant music scene.

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Jade Wright – Liverpool Echo Music Editor

Jade Wright is the Liverpool Echo’s music writer. An award winning entertainment writer, she works as part of the paper’s busy features team, as well as writing a weekly opinion column. Jade grew up in the music industry, and previously worked at the BBC as a researcher and assistant producer. She has more than a decade of experience of working in news organisations across the north west. Jade has a passion for all things musical, and particularly for promoting local bands.

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Dr. Mike Jones – Programme Director, MA in Music Industry Studies at the University of Liverpool

Dr. Mike Jones’ first book, ‘The Music Industries: from conception to consumption’ has just been published. 2011 and has been an eventful year for him; his band Latin Quarter (famous for the hit single Radio Africa) reformed and released the album Ocean Head in February. This was followed by a the debut of Where Light Falls: Songs About Joni Mitchell, at the Bluecoat in March,  a show he has co-written with his partner, singer Rosie Brown. Mike is looking forward to the Liverpool Music awards, as he puts it: ‘it’s remarkable that it’s taken almost 50 years since Mersey Beat used to publish its Readers’ Poll for Liverpool to start showing the rest of the world who makes music here and why they’re so good.’

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Billy Butler – BBC Radio Merseyside Weekday Presenter

Multi-award winning broadcaster and former Echo columnist. Billy Butler, has spent over 40 years in show business. Billy has spent nearly 30 years in local and national radio and has become one of the country’s most popular and entertaining presenters. Billy’s current afternoon show on BBC Radio Merseyside includes music from across the board, featuring not just well known artists but local talent too.

During a very successful TV career, he presented several hit TV shows including BBC1′s trivia programme ‘FAX’ and the magazine programme ‘What the Butler Sees’.A former dockworker-turned pop star with the 60s band The Tuxedos, he became a Cavern DJ; he was a friend of the Beatles – and every other Merseysbeat band. He is a UK TV star and radio legend thanks to his best-selling video ‘Hold Your Plums’. Billy’s work for the BBC, whether on national television or BBC Radio Merseyside and on commercial rival Radio City has made him a household name.

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Lee Butler – Radio City 96.7 DJ / Presenter

DJ/Producer Lee Butler is a household name in Liverpool. After making his name on the North West Club circuit, Lee took the leap into radio. Lee’s “Plastic Surgery” show on Radio City 96.7 became the North West’s most listened to Friday Night Dance Show and so Lee’s Saturday night show soon followed. Lee can be heard DJing and presenting every Friday and Saturday night between 10pm – midnight to the masses on Liverpool’s Hit music station Radio city 96.7.

Lee regularly travels all over the world to DJ at the biggest clubs, as well as still having residencies in his beloved Liverpool. He is now also very busy in the Studio working on his own tracks and is responsible for many of the big dance anthems you hear. Also remixing for big labels, Lee is signed to AATW Records and having shot many music videos over the last 12 months Lee is working heavily with many writers and producers.

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Yaw Owusu – Music & Youth Entrepreneur / Music Curator of Liverpool International Music Festival

Yaw runs a number of businesses within the Music and Youth Culture Industries. His first, URBEATZ, is a Liverpool-based Youth Culture Company.
URBEATZ focuses on engaging, educating and upskilling young people and helping other organisations to do so also using music, media and film as the mediums. Yaw leads on Artist Management, Music Promotions and Education & Special Projects and has worked with a number of world leading brands, organisations and artists including Nike, Sony, Universal, The Fader, AATW, VP Records, BBC Radio 1Xtra, Dizzee Rascal, Damian Marley and many more.

Roger Hill – The Alternative Music Show presenter, BBC Radio Merseyside

Roger Hill has presented the alternative music programme on BBC Radio Merseyside since 1982, and overseen most of its developments and changes.
He has also broadcast on architecture and other arts-related subjects for Radio Merseyside and contributed to network BBC on Radios 1,3, 4 and 5.

Whilst his broadcasting commitments have continued Roger has pursued parallel careers in theatre, the arts and performance.

Spike Beecham – CEO, The Vinyl Consortium

As a production manager for some of the biggest music festivals in Europe and America Spike has been perfectly happy working in the background, it took the launch of The Music Consortium to push Spike to the forefront of the Merseyside Music Scene.

The Music Consortium is an organisation that works in all areas of the Live Music/Entertainment Industry with emphasis being placed on high production values in sound, light and video and the managing of the logistics involved in delivering these facilities.