Rise Above the Noise
At the top of their game!
Intercept Brand Ambassadors
They help us understand what the artists for each genre really need to succeed in the music business.
We are proud to have them as part of our team, and their expertise helps us provide better services to you.
Thom RussoLatin, Pop, Rock
Thom Russo’s career as a producer, mixer, songwriter and composer has been so successful, he holds the record for awards. Specifically, 16 total Grammy® Awards, 13 of them being Latin Grammys. Working with the world’s biggest artists across genres and in film and television, Thom’s skill and versatility made him one of the most accomplished professionals in the industry.more...
Born in Cleveland, Ohio (the Rock ‘n Roll Capital of the World), he graduated from Northwestern University’s Conservatory of Music with a degree in music theory and composition. With that solid background, he jumped into professional music working in the advertising business in Chicago, while learning record production from top artists.
Later, Thom relocated to Los Angeles and began working on recordings for the world’s biggest artists including Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Prince, Diana Ross and Babyface. His skills in remixing helped win a Grammy Award in 1997 for the Eric Clapton/Babyface song “Change the World” as both Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Thom’s next position with Rick Rubin and American Recordings included work on some of the most notable records of their time, including Johnny Cash’s final recording, “The Man Comes Around” with its legendary cover of “Hurt.” In this prolific and productive period, he also contributed to the “99 Problems” record by Jay-Z and recordings by Audioslave, Macy Gray, System of a Down and many others.
In the 2000s Thom focused on Latin music, bringing his skills and sensibility to projects by international superstars. Artists he has mixed and produced include Juanes (of Colombia), the rock legends Mana (Mexico), Alejandro Sanz (Spain), indie critic favorites Kinky (Mexico), and cutting edge flamenco-hardcore artist, Huecco (Spain). In 2010, he completed the sophomore release for the Mexican/American superstars Jesse and Joy, who took best new artist Grammy in 2007.
He holds the record for Latin Grammy wins (13) under the Engineering and Production category, plus three other Grammy awards.
In addition to his recording work, Thom has also been part of many film and television projects, from scoring assignments to song placements. He participated in the music for Alejandro Inarratu’s first film, “Amorres Perros,” as well as films including “Collateral” (directed by Michael Mann), “Man on Fire,” and “Spider-Man” I and II.
Celebrating 20 years as the DJ Host of Reggae Runnins on HOT 105 FM, Tanto Irie (‘The Irie One’) hosts the #1 reggae show on South Florida's #1 radio station for three hours every Saturday night from 10pm to 1am. HOT105fm is a 3 time Marconi award winner 2014, 2017 and 2019. Tanto’s listeners look forward to tuning in as he updates them on the latest music featuring interviews with the hottest artists and legendary veterans the likes of Beres Hammond, Buju Banton, Sanchez, Morgan Heritage, the Marley Brothers, Cocoa Tea, Taurus Riley, Mikey Spice, Shaggy, Gyptian, Beenie Man and many others who create reggae music that continues to inspire and entertain people from all walks of life.
By 1986 Tanto migrated to the United States by way of Texas where he hosted a weekly jazz program on the local jazz station, KXCR. As fate would have it, KXCR became ground zero for Reggae Runnins, it was here that Tanto introduced his growing fan-base to the smooth rhythmic sounds of reggae music every Saturday night. Tanto spent the next 17 years hosting and producing concerts throughout the southwestern United States introducing many famous reggae artists to the dedicated fans he discovered throughout Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. Many of these fans were regular listeners to the early days of Reggae Runnins, which was heard throughout the Four Corners of the Southwest on Santa Fe, New Mexico’s, Coyote Radio, 102.5fm.
It wasn’t long before Tanto was drawn to the Big Apple where he hosted his show on WNWK. Before long, the warmer shores of South Florida beckoned the island son to return to the tropics. Tanto moved to South Florida in 1997 where he produced and hosted monthly beach concerts. He soon found his way back into the studio, where he revived his ever-popular Reggae Runnins Show. Today, Tanto can be heard on HOT105fm every Saturday from 10pm to 1am. Reggae Runnins remains the number 1 show on the number 1 Urban Radio Station in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale DMA.
Reggae Runnins and Tanto Irie were honored to be the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 International Reggae & World Music Awards Show; he is also the recipient of the 2017 People Profile Awards. less...
Laffite Benitez is one of the Latin music industry's most successful marketing and promotion executives. With more than 20 years of experience, Laffite has some of the most executed innovative and successful promotional, radio and marketing initiatives the industry has seen. He has worked on delivering number-one hit singles and chart-topping sales debuts for such artists as Enrique Iglesias, Juanes, Paulina Rubio, Jenni Rivera, Alejandro Sanz, Jaguares, Cafe Tacvba and Don Omar amongst others.more...
Laffite has been the head radio promotions executive in the West Coast/Central region for Universal Music for the past 10 years. Previously, Laffite also directed radio and marketing promotions for EMI, Crescent Moon (under Emilio Estefan) and BMG, where he began his career and worked for more than 13 years. Laffite has had a broad range of experience on the management side as product manager and radio promoter, creating, planning and executing marketing plans, radio strategies and promotional visits by multiple artists. He has developed strong relationships with key national radio program directors, influential television producers and leading reporters and journalists throughout the U.S.less...
Scott EmersonPop, Rock
Scott Emerson is a veteran music-industry visionary. With a long track record of experience with the biggest acts in the world, he focuses on marketing and exposure for all musicians, whether signed or unsigned.more...
Scott was head of Hot AC and AC Promotion for more than a decade at A&M Records, later taking on the same role for Interscope and Geffen as well, when the labels merged. During his tenure, Emerson was instrumental in developing and executing successful campaigns for artists such as Sting, U2, Bryan Adams, Elton John, Janet Jackson, No Doubt, Sheryl Crow, One Republic, Snow Patrol, Fergie, Amy Grant, Blues Traveler, Smash Mouth and countless others.
Following his tenure at A&M, Geffen and Interscope, Scott established Emerdood Promotion, an independent promotion and marketing company. During his work at Emerdood, he developed the concept for what later became What’s In-Store Music in 2014: to create a platform for independent acts, not just those on major labels, to have in-store airplay. What’s In-Store Music promotes priority music from major labels on down to independent artists. Now, decision makers can choose from the very best music available, from signed and independent artists.less...
As an A&R professional who has helped shape the careers of country superstars worldwide, Renee Bell brings to Intercept Music an unbeatable combination of hit-making sensibility, an open personality and sensitivity to artists and the creative process.more...
For almost three decades, Renee has been involved with some of the most important and influential recordings in country music. Her career to date has encompassed more than 100 number-one songs; nearly 100 Country Music Association Awards and 100 Academy of Country Music Awards; and album sales of more than 100 million units. A few of the artists Renee has worked with through the years are such legends as Brooks & Dunn, Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Pat Green, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Wynona Judd, Miranda Lambert, Jim Lauderdale, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Conway Twitty, Carrie Underwood, and Trisha Yearwood, among many others.
Renee started her career in the music business in the Atlanta, Georgia distribution center for MCA Records. Her passion and knowledge of country music caught the attention of legendary producer Tony Brown, who moved her to MCA’s Nashville A&R department. At MCA, she was responsible for signing artists David Lee Murphy and The Mavericks, and began her work in A&R for world-renowned country artists.
Her reputation for having an eye for talent and ear for hit songs led her to the RCA Nashville Label Group, where she rose to Executive Vice President of A&R for what is now Sony Music Nashville – the first woman to hold that role at the label. Highlights of her work include landmark song selections for Kenny Chesney (“She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” “When the Sun Goes Down,” “There Goes My Life”); Carrie Underwood (“Jesus Take the Wheel,” “Wasted,” “Before He Cheats,” “Don’t Forget to Remember Me”); Brooks & Dunn (“Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You”); Martina McBride (“This One’s for the Girls,”); Jake Owen (“Barefoot Blue Jean Night”); and Sara Evans (“Stronger”) – and many more.
Always a champion for artists and their music, Renee’s expertise and success help Intercept Music to authentically address the creative needs of artists and musicians.less...
Dave SholinCountry, Pop
In his career spanning four decades, broadcaster Dave Sholin has cemented a place as one of the most innovative and award-winning on-air hosts and producers in the country. Starting out as a program director and on-air host, he has also served as a music director and promoter on the recorded music side, bringing his passion, depth of experience and musical knowledge to projects with some of the biggest artists in the world.
Sholin received his first Program Director of the Year award while he was a student and PD of San Francisco State University’s campus radio station. Shortly after graduation he began his professional career at KLIV/San Jose. Sholin helped develop a new format, and within six months it became one of Silicon Valley’s highest rated stations. He then joined station KFRC in San Francisco, winning the award for Major Market Music Director of the Year at the Gavin Report Convention in Kansas City. Under Dave's leadership, KFRC won Billboard’s Major Market Station of the Year award seven years in a row.
Following his success at KFRC, RKO Radio promoted Dave to National Music Director, overseeing the playlists and music libraries for stations around the country. Dave also produced a string of radio specials and conducted interviews with Rod Stewart, Bob Seger, Paul Simon, The Doobie Brothers and Paul McCartney. He oversaw production of the in-depth Beatles documentary “From Liverpool To Legend.”
On December 8th, 1980, Dave and his production team spent the afternoon with John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their apartment in New York City. It was the first radio interview Lennon had granted in five years. Five hours later, the famous Beatle was tragically shot and killed.
Sholin returned to San Francisco to join The Gavin Report and later revamped it into the Gavin magazine. In addition to serving as on-air personality and program director of KFRC, he also hosted weekly syndicated radio shows including “Countdown USA” for Westwood One and “The Insider” for Premiere Radio.
In his next role, Dave became Vice President of Promotion for Island Records and later served the same role at Capitol Records. When CBS Radio decided to relaunch San Francisco’s KFRC, Dave was the first person they contacted; he became the station’s morning drive radio host.
Today, Dave is a regular guest on KGO San Francisco on the Ronn Owens’ show. In 1995 Sholin was named a charter member of the radio section at the Rock ‘N Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland. He was the Rockwell Award recipient at the Conclave, a national radio and record convention. In October 2008 Dave was inducted into The Bay Area Radio Hall Of Fame.
One of the true living legends of the music business across multiple genres, Butch Waugh contributes his expertise, enthusiasm and leadership to Intercept Music’s team of ambassadors.more...
For nearly 40 years, Butch worked for the biggest music labels in the world, starting in record sales and promotion and winding up as Sony Music Nashville’s Executive Vice President. Under his leadership, the Nashville label earned the Country Music Association’s “best label” award seven out of eight years.
During the course of his career, he made landmark, hit albums such as Frampton Comes Alive! and the 11X platinum Dirty Dancing soundtrack, and turned superstars like Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews into names known around the world. His leadership and expertise has resulted in nearly 100 Country Music Association Awards and 100 Academy of Country Music Awards.
A former chairman of the Academy of Country Music, Waugh has made a huge impact not only in country but also in pop and urban genres. He began his career with London Records in the early 1970s, and later moving to sales and radio promotion roles with A&M, Motown and Capitol Records before joining RCA and later becoming an executive at that label. The artists touched by Butch’s passion and positivity make a virtually complete list of superstars from the 1970s to the 21st century, and spanning the range of genres: Peter Frampton, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Hall & Oates, Dr. Hook, Bruce Hornsby, Rick James, Carole King, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Bob Seger, Rick Springfield, Styx, Supertramp, The Tubes, Carrie Underwood, The Wu-Tang Clan, Stevie Wonder, and ZZ Top, to name just a sample.
Since retiring from Sony Music, Butch has remained active in the music business and in Nashville as an entrepreneur, advisor and consultant. His understanding of the music marketplace, of artists and of music audiences offers Intercept Music a powerful arrow in its quiver of expert advisors.less...
Skip Bishop is a veteran entertainment executive with a highly successful track record for leading music labels, entertainment corporations, marketing firms and broadcast chains with more than 35 years of experience. Bishop has developed dynamic partnerships in both the traditional broadcast media and digital spaces.
Bishop founded and served as President/CEO of WB Distributed HitShop Records, where he had oversight of all divisions including identifying new artists, finance, promotion, marketing and label operations. Bishop’s executive career began in 1981 as Vice President of Programming for Broadcast Properties, Inc. Bishop has also held executive positions with RCA Records, MCA Records and created his own independent music marketing and promotion firm, Bishop Bait and Tackle.
In 2009, Bishop became the Senior Vice President of Promotion for Sony Music Nashville.
Bishop graduated from Auburn University with a dual major in Broadcasting and English. He has previously served on the board of Directors for the Country Radio Broadcasters and is a graduate of the Leadership Music Program.less...
Paul Brown has been a jazz, pop and R&B performer in his own right for a little more than a decade, but his experience as a recording engineer and producer goes way back. In more than 40 years, he’s produced the sounds of the most legendary recording artists of all time, including George Benson, Diana Ross, and Luther Vandross. With two Grammy awards, and more than 70 #1 radio hits as a jazz producer, he brings major cred and skills to Intercept Music and our
Paul started out as a drummer before moving on to become a leading R&B engineer and later a top-notch urban jazz producer. His R&B signature sound has been a staple of urban music since the 1990s, and helped shape albums he has produced, including Boney James’ breakout, Trust. He has created successful songs with many influential artists including Al Jarreau, Jessy J., Larry Carlton and many more.
Most recently he has been an urban, funk and blues recording artist and guitarist, collaborating with a who’s-who of major, modern-day players such as Marc Antoine, Don Bryant, Chuck Loeb, and Chris Standring. Since he began his own recording career, Paul has released nine solo albums, all in the Billboard top-10 chart, and had numerous hit singles. He has performed thousands of times across the United States and internationally. His first-hand knowledge of being a working musician and experience as a producer at the top level of the business make Paul a vital resource for Intercept Music artists.less...
Larry Blackwell, Jr. has been a music industry trailblazer and success story for more than 40 years. Under Larry’s leadership, his artists and musicians have earned 15 Grammy® Awards and sold many millions of albums. His passion and vision encompasses established artists as well as new, breakout talent, and he is known throughout the industry for his fiscal responsibility.
Larry started his career handling phones at his father’s distribution company, Jimmy’s One Stop in Nashville. Five years later he joined Central South Music Sales in 1983 as part owner/general manager, driving the company forward to become the number-one source for gospel music in the U.S.
In 1999 Blackwell assumed leadership of ZOMBA/Jive/Verity Gospel to oversee mainstream sales of all Gospel releases. He later became Vice President and General Manager of EMI/Motown Gospel. In his 13 years at EMI/Motown Gospel Blackwell helped lead the label to 11 Grammy® award wins and to its highest market share ever in 2016.
Blackwell is known for his expertise at developing new and developing talent. With his guidance, countless artists have broken through to renown, including Tasha Cobbs Leonard, The Clark Sisters, Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers, VaShawn Mitchell, Smokie Norful, and Kierra Sheard, to name a few.
Blackwell has been an influential voice in the industry as board member of the Gospel Music Association. He is an alumnus of Leadership Music (2005), and has served on the Grammy® Awards gospel screening committee since 2010.