IVAN BERRY – FOUNDER
Berry is currently CEO of C2W Music Limited, the top Caribbean music publishing company. C2W is publicly traded on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, and is the first start-up company on the JSE (Junior Market).
As Head of A&R and International for Sony BMG Canada from 2000-2004, Berry was responsible for the development, recording and international marketing of Sony BMG Canada’s domestic roster, including artists such as Keshia Chanté, Wyclef, Shawn Desman, Sloan, Rascalz, Treble Charger, Gino Vannelli, In Essence, The Guess Who, Ryan Malcolm (Canadian Idol), Kalan Porter (Canadian Idol) and many more.
In summer 2006, he began blazing a new trail in the world of music publishing when he launched his co-venture with ole, a global destination for world-class songwriters, composers and management talent. In this partnership, Berry acquires urban song catalogues and develops urban songwriters, which is an evolution of the role that he played as ole’s Senior Partner International since late-2004.
Berry was also partner in one of Canada’s top management / publishing company, tanjola, with partner Daniel Mekinda. Berry counted pop International superstar singers/songwriters Keshia Chante, Shiloh and Massari, world-class superstar songwriter Rupert Gayle, world-class songwriter/producer/remixer Alex “South Rakkas” Greggs, vibrant R&B songwriter Dru (In Essence), pop songwriter Haydain Neale (Jacksoul), pop/rock singer/songwriter Alonzo, pop/rock songwriter/producer Justin Forsley, Caribbean diva singer/songwriter Shazelle and pioneering Hip-Hop group Dream Warriors among his roster of artists.
“He believed in me and has been fighting for me since the beginning. He has a strong intellect and a great personality. Anybody is blessed when they have Ivan Berry on their side. He’s guided me down this path and I will cherish him forever.”– Keshia Chanté (BET’s 106 & Park / Universal Music / Sony Music Recording Star)
A proud native of St. Kitts, Berry is actively involved in the development of the music business infrastructure across the Caribbean. Berry is co-creator of the annual St. Kitts Music Festival, which takes place each June and has attracted international superstars such as Kool & The Gang, Chaka Khan, Ludacris, DMX, Hugh Masekela, Boyz II Men and many more.
Berry formally began his career in the music industry in 1982 when he started the BeatFactory brand with his partner, Rupert Gayle. Berry signed the first Canadian Rap artist to an international record deal (Michie Mee) and has signed more Hip-Hop and R&B artists to record and publishing deals than any other music manager in Canada. His efforts have also resulted in more international releases for Canadian Hip-Hop and R&B artists and more Hip-Hop and R&B record sales worldwide than any other Canadian artist manager.
The BeatFactory record label, which Berry launched in 1996, provided a home for many of Canada’s hottest urban artists, who previously lacked a solid infrastructure through which to share their music with a mass audience. BeatFactory’s RapEssentials and GroovEssentials compilations (distributed through EMI Music and BMG Music) set the example for collaborative efforts in Canada’s urban music industry.
Many of today’s top urban music industry executives, major label representatives and artist managers will tell you that their first job was with BeatFactory and that Berry taught them what they know about the music business. Berry has also been an instructor at well-respected post-secondary music institutions including Harris Institute of the Arts and Durham College, and is in high-demand as a guest speaker/lecturer at various corporate/government events and industry conferences around the world.
“Ivan is one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry from all aspects of the game, from the label side to management to publishing, and he’s been someone I’ve looked to as a mentor. We’ve worked along parallel paths for more than 20 years, and now to be able to work together with him on a number of joint ventures is an honour for me.”
– Farley Flex (FevaTV, Former Canadian Idol judge, Artist Manager and Label Owner)
The community-at-large has recognized Berry for his many achievements. In 2000, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Urban Music Association of Canada (UMAC). In 2004, he received the Bob Marley Day Award for his continued success and for his on-going role in the community and the projection of a positive image for youth, and in 2005, Berry was honoured with the Music, Arts & Entertainment Award from the St. Kitts Canadian Association.
Berry is truly an industry visionary, and lives by his favourite mantra: “To take advantage of an opportunity, you must first recognize it.”