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January 7th, 2016

2015 NewSong Music Finals Feature: Meet The Judges

Ahead of the NewSong Music Showcase & Competition Finals, we wanted to introduce the judges of this year’s event. We are honored to have Erik Philbrook (ASCAP), Michael Selverne, Jordana Phokompe (Lincoln Center), and Gar Ragland (NewSong Music) as the judges of this year’s event. Learn more about each judge below:



Erik Philbrook serves as ASCAP’s AVP of Marketing and Communications and Editor in Chief of its Playback magazine. In addition to writing editorial, producing video and managing content for ASCAP’s various media channels, he has interviewed and written about many of today’s leading songwriters and composers from across the musical spectrum, from legendary icons to today’s emerging artists. He has helped lead ASCAP’s advocacy efforts in protecting songwriter rights in the digital age. And he has played an essential role in the success of high-profile ASCAP events such as the Sundance ASCAP Music Café and the ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO, where he has interviewed on stage many top music creators, including Tom Petty, John Mayer, Bon Jovi, ELO’s Jeff Lynne, Ingrid Michaelson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Steve Lillywhite and many others. In addition, Philbrook is a songwriter and musician himself, having recorded three acclaimed albums with his band The Brilliant Mistakes.



Michael Selverne is a 35 year veteran of the music business.   A trained musician, Mr. Selverne has a diverse career as a musician, producer, publisher, manager, attorney and executive. Currently, Mr. Selverne is producing a record for the Asheville NC Symphony Orchestra featuring artists such as the Steep Canyon Rangers and Rising Appalachia.  Among the many gold and platinum artists with whom Mr. Selverne has worked are: Motley Crue, India.Arie, Hootie and the Blowfish, Guns and Roses, Live, the Wu-Tang Clan, the Fugees, Wyclef Jean, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, La Toya Jackson, Donald Fagen/Steely Dan, Hanson.



Jordana Phokompe is the Director of the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center and is responsible for programing its free weekly performance series. Since joining Lincoln Center in 2009, Jordana has developed new programs for the Atrium including Poet-Linc, LCDJ, and AtriumFlix. Previously, she was a consultant for artists and festivals in the U.S., Europe, and Africa and served as the Associate Producer for MAPP International Productions from 2001-2008. During her tenure at MAPP she co-created the Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium.  Jordana received her BA from the New School for Social Research and her MFA from Brooklyn College.



Gar Ragland is a music producer, composer, manager and the president and co-founder of NewSong Music. A native North Carolinian (Winston-Salem), Gar began his music career while an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia, sharing bills with acts that include the Dave Matthews Band, Gov’t Mule and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. After working several years in Washington, DC as an environmental economist for the policy think tank Resources for the Future, Ragland relocated to Boston to study composition and improvisation at the New England Conservatory with MacArthur ‘Genius’ Award winning pianist, composer and educator Ran Blake. He then moved to New York City to open NewSong’s Brooklyn studio and office, and eight years later moved to Asheville, NC with his family in 2012 to set up shop at Echo Mountain Recording Studios. He is a voting member of the Recording Academy (Grammys), and is the current board chair of the Asheville Area Arts Council.