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November 21, 2013

Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:45 p.m.

The Secret to A&R and Creative Confidence

To have lunch with Mike Caren, Mio Vukovic and Ester Dean is a very unique opportunity. Individually, these three young, creative and inspiring music mavens have had tremendous impact on the current popular music landscape.   Join us for a fun and candid conversation about the creative process behind delivering today’s biggest hits and artists.  This session is NOT being filmed, so this is your ONLY chance to be part of the dialogue.

The AIMP thanks Andrew Gould/BMG Chrysalis, who subbed for an ill Mio Vukovic on very short notice; thanks, Andrew!


Mike Caren
President Worldwide A&R, Warner Music

Ester Dean

Andrew Gould
VP Creative, BMG Chrysalis

Mio Vukovic
Sr VP A&R/Head of Creative, Disney Music Group


Sam Kling
VP Film/TV & A&R, peermusic

AIMP Panel

Place: View Map
Lawry's The Prime Rib
100 N. La Cienega Blvd. (near Wilshire)
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

From left, AIMP Board Member Sam Kling, Ester Dean, Mike Caren and Andrew Gould. 

Photos by Liz Redwing, courtesy of Lawry's The Prime Rib, Beverly Hills. 

Additional Speaker Information

Mike Caren is the President, Worldwide A&R at Warner Music. He has worked for the Warner Music Group for almost two decades, the majority of it, at the Atlantic Records label. Prior to joining Atlantic's Big Beat imprint at 17 years of age, he worked for both Loud Records and Ruthless Records in marketing. His most recent position at Atlantic was Executive Vice President, A&R. In the last decade alone, he has been responsible for signing more than fifteen artists that have released Gold and Platinum-selling records including Trey Songz, T.I., Flo Rida, Trick Daddy, Wiz Khalifa, and B.o.B. In June 2009, when Elektra Records was re-launched, he added Co-President of the label to his responsibilities. The label has since enjoyed success with artists such as Bruno Mars, Cee-Lo Green and Ed Sheeran, and at the latest Grammys received eleven nominations and took home three awards. He has also produced records from Kanye West, Jennifer Lopez, David Guetta, Cobra Starship, Jem and Asher Roth.

Ester Dean has spent the last several years writing hit singles for some of music's biggest names. Since 2009, the Oklahoma-born Dean has shown an ability and versatility to craft catchy pop hits, as her first single “Drop It Low ft. Chris Brown” became an instant Top 40 Billboard success. Her collaborations with Rihanna (“Rude Boy,” “What's My Name”), Katy Perry (“Firework”) and Robin Thicke (“Sex Therapy”) all rocketed to #1 on the Billboard charts, with “Firework” and “What's My Name” having the honors of being #1 and #2 simultaneously. Dean also contributed to albums by Usher, Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown and Monica, netting a total of 5 Grammy nominations in the process. Ester's success continued when she co-wrote the infectiously upbeat “Super Bass,” which appeared on pop-sensation Nicki Minaj's album, Pink Friday. The song further solidified Dean's standing as one of the most respected and sought-after songwriters in the business. Ester also voiced Sloth Siren in the smash film, “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” to which she also lent her writing talents with the title song “We Are." Ester made her official acting debut in Universal Pictures' Pitch Perfect, a film about an all-girl a cappella group, which also starred Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow. With so many accomplishments already under her belt, and many more to come, Ester Dean is just getting started. She is signed to Interscope Records.

Andrew Gould is Vice President of Creative at BMG. He began playing classical piano at the age of 4, training and competing until he was 18. After graduating Bowdoin College magna cum laude in 2000, he moved to Manhattan. A music industry insider advised Andrew before pursuing a job in music, to head to Wall Street for strong business and finance experience. Andrew worked for two years as an Analyst at midtown boutique real estate mezzanine fund, Longview Funding. During this time Andrew and Gavin DeGraw became close friends. Gavin was soon courted by labels. Andrew, now frequently around executives, was invited to intern at Epic Records. Beginning in 2003, Andrew worked at Epic for four years, ascending his way to Manager of A & R. In this last position, he reported to the EVP of the department, focusing on the label's priority pop acts and new artist development. In 2007, Andrew was hired by EMI Music Publishing as Director of Creative, creating opportunities across its roster of songwriters, and identifying and signing new artist and songwriter talent. There he worked closely with Sia, Jim Jonsin, Toby Gad, Savan Kotecha, Kevin Rudolf and Sam Watters, and signed artists such as Chiddy Bang. In 2009 he was promoted to Senior Director and moved to Los Angeles. In August 2012, Andrew took position at BMG. Here he has signed and represents such talent as Chris Braide, Jake Sinclair, Jason Evigan, Mitch Allan, Jarrad K, David Gamson, Busbee, Rob Kleiner, New Politics, and the Monsters and Strangerz. Andrew has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.

Mio Vukovic is Senior Vice President of A&R/Head of Creative for the Disney Music Group. Vukovic is responsible for all aspects of artist and songwriter signings, as well as creative direction of the recorded music and publishing operations which include Hollywood Records, Walt Disney Records and Disney Music Publishing. Vukovic had been an A&R consultant for Hollywood Records, where he was instrumental in bringing in key hit songs to artists such as Selena Gomez (“Who Says”) and Miley Cyrus (“Party In The U.S.A”). More recently he oversaw A&R for upcoming new albums by Bridgit Mendler and ZZ Ward. Since Vukovic joined DMG, he has been an essential part of the company’s chart-topping success. Vukovic had previously been consulting DMG on behalf of his writer and producer management firm AAM where he signed many of the most successful writers and producers today. He has worked closely with Dr. Luke, Kevin Rudolf, Eman, Evan Bogart, Kojak, Jean Baptiste, Priscilla Renea, Dreamlab, and many more. In this role, Mio negotiated many of the record, single, and publishing deals for their roster. Prior to his independent consulting, Vukovic served in executive A&R roles at Warner/Reprise, Epic/550, and Geffen Records, working with such artists as Filter, New Order, Depeche Mode, k.d. lang and Urge Overkill.

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