Raise Your Fists: Music Meets Activism
Hear how the worlds of music and activism can work together in an inspiring, meaningful and productive way. Experts in the world of non-profit, artists and music industry professionals discuss how they have successfully used their powerful voices to push movements forward, raise awareness and inspire their fans to take action.
Karen is the Vice President of the Artist Action Team at the progressive communications firm FitzGibbon Media. There she connects musicians and artists to the various causes and campaigns the firm is working on. From pushing to end nuclear proliferation to lifting the veil on child sex trafficking in the US – artists are a part of a comprehensive campaign and communication strategy that breaks through and creates change. Prior to her position at FitzGibbon, Karen managed music and entertainment relations for Amnesty International. There she was head liaison on Amnesty’s involvement on the North American leg of the U2 360 Tour as well as the Van's Warped Tour. Karen was also Executive Producer and media spokesperson for the critically acclaimed album, Chimes Of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International.
Karen started her career in management working with Joan Baez, Kyuss and others and subsequently was hired by ICM and worked with such artists as Rod Stewart, Rush, Slayer and Cheap Trick. She then moved forward to VH1 where she coordinated the office of the EVP of Talent and Music Programming and oversaw major events such as: Divas, The Fashion Awards and The Concert Of the Century at The White House. Karen has also spent time managing major label artists.
Mike Mills is a member of R.E.M., a rock band based in Athens, Georgia.
R.E.M. has been one of the most influential rock bands of the past thirty years, having won numerous awards and touring most corners of the world. Despite having occasional hit singles, such as “Everybody Hurts,” “Losing My Religion,” “Man On The Moon,” “Leaving New York” and “Nightswimming,” R.E.M. has steadfastly maintained its artistic edge, and along with it, the band’s fan base and critical support.
Specializing in bass guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals and songwriting, Mills has also acted as the band’s co-producer. After thirty-one years and more than eighty million albums sold, the band retired in 2011.
Hillary has spent the last four years developing WhyHunger’s Artists Against Hunger & Poverty program. Through AAH&P, artists, the music community and the music industry can find unique and impactful ways to raise awareness and funds for WhyHunger and their over 8,000 grassroots partners who are doing essential work on the ground to put an end to hunger and poverty. Since starting at WhyHunger in 2009, Hillary has increased exposure to the cause by opening up the program to new artists including moe., Papa Roach, Brandi Carlile and more and by building up AAH&P’s social networks. She has worked hand in hand with artists and their fans through touring opportunities where grassroots groups are on site at concerts to fundraise and educate the crowd. These connections have been made with artists that include Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Trampled By Turtles, Brandi Carlile, Chicago/Earth, Wind & Fire and Papa Roach. To date, the AAH&P program has raised over 12 million dollars for the cause.
In 1996 Hillary started her career in the music industry assisting Mitch Slater at Delsener/Slater Enterprises. She moved up into the booking department where she worked on concerts at some of the highest earning venues in the country including Jones Beach Theatre, PNC Bank Arts Center, The Beacon Theatre and other area venues. After seven years she moved on to Brick Wall Management where she managed major label artists like Citizen Cope and Marc Broussard. Her final stint in the industry was as Vice President of Operations for Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp where she organized 2 major camps in Las Vegas and Los Angeles and directly oversaw operations for a Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp cross country tour.
Brandon Deroche Brandon managed Download to Donate on behalf of Causecast, a campaign in partnership with Music For Relief that featured exclusive music and giveaways from artists like Linkin Park, Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, Weezer, All-American Rejects, Peter Gabriel, The Glitch Mob and many others. Music For Relief went on to raise over $400k for the Haiti and Japan earthquake relief efforts.
Prior to Download to Donate, Deroche was responsible for The Voluntour - An initiative that offered free concert tickets from Blink 182, Vans Warped Tour, Owl City, Virgin Mobile Festival and much more to those who pledged to volunteer in their community. He forged a partnership with Virgin Mobile, organizing several video projects for their annual FreeFest concert and facilitated the creation of a volunteer rewards platform to better aid their REgeneration program that works to combat youth homelessness.
Brandon currently is the Director of The Make Yourself Foundation for the band Incubus as well as CEO and Co-Founder of a philanthropic startup called The Urgency Network. Prior to this, Brandon was the Director of Digital Marketing at Pearl Group Entertainment where he oversaw online strategies for clents such as Daughtry, Orianthi and Kraddy.
Deroche attributes much of his approach to his background playing guitar and touring internationally in indie-rock band, The Underwater, and describes his focus as creating social change through innovation in music.