ABOUT OUR SPEAKERS:
MELISSA MAHOOD - GM, XO RECORDS AND ARTIST MANAGER, SALXCO
Melissa Mahood is currently the General Manager for XO Records and Artist Manager at SALXCO. She has been leading artist initiatives at the label and has been across day-to-day management since 2016 when SALXCO first partnered with Live Nation. Tentpole initiatives include The Weeknd’s latest album releases Dawn FM & After Hours, two #1 Billboard 200 albums for NAV and Belly’s past 4 bodies of work. Mahood works closely with the label and management team to oversee operations and project launches, including historic milestones like the Super Bowl LVI performance, and Blinding Lights being recognized as the #1 Song of All Time by Billboard. Prior to joining the SALXCO team, Melissa worked at Warner Bros Records and interned at independent labels Ultra Music & Mad Decent. She graduated from UCLA in 2015.
Follow on Instagram @Mah00d
BAROLINE - VP OF A&R AT INTERSCOPE, FOUNDER, BE HEARD MANAGEMENT
Baroline is the VP of A&R for Interscope Records and Founder of Be Heard Management. Baroline has made her way from Columbia Records, where she previously signed Polo G and worked with Yung Bleu and Lil Tjay. Prior to Columbia, she worked national campaigns at Def Jam Recordings for artists such as 2 Chainz and YG. She previously served as operations manager at EMVE Mgmt Group, where she executed events for leading brands such as CÎROC, Bad Boy, and VH1. From being the youngest female executive on the cover of XXL’s Hip-Hop Heavyweights issue to her outstanding work with artists such as Babyface Ray, DaBaby, and MoneyBagg Yo, Baroline has broken many industry molds.
Follow on Instagram @Barolinne
MARIEL GOMEREZ - A&R AT PARKWOOD ENTERTAINMENT
A multidisciplinary creative, Mariel began her career interning for companies such as Atlantic Records and Roc Nation. In 2016 she began her tenure at Parkwood where she’s A&R’d projects such as tKAA, Ungodly Hour, The Lion King: The Gift, Savage Remix and most recently Renaissance. In addition to A&R’ing these projects, she’s independently signed artists such RAYE, Chavi Leons and Civ Pierre.
Follow on Instagram @MarielGomerez
ABOUT OUR MODERATOR:
ARIA HUGHES - EDITORIAL CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT COMPLEX
Aria Hughes is the editorial creative director at Complex. She studied Journalism and English at the University of Maryland at College Park and moved to New York City shortly after graduating. She worked at WGSN, a trend forecasting service, and WWD, the fashion bible, covering the cross-section of Black culture and fashion. She joined Complex in 2019 as the deputy style editor and was promoted to editorial creative director in 2022. She's the first woman to lead Complex's editorial vision and spearheads 360 storytelling around recent cover stars like SZA. She recently launched Complex Volume, a themed, more curated take on the spaces Complex covers every day that featured stars including Flo Milli, Druski, and J.R. Smith.
Follow on Instagram @AriaHughes
DEVON COLE - SINGER/SONGWRITER
Very few can ace an assignment like Devon Cole. While righting the lyrical wrongs of “Blurred Lines,” Cole’s remix went viral. To comfort a Love is Blind reality star post-onscreen heartbreak, Cole offered an “in awe” Deepti Vempati an empowerment anthem. Even during her three-hour, Tuesday night set at a local Toronto watering hole, newfound fans clamoured for original music. Soon, she’d deliver — the singer-songwriter’s 2021 alt-pop project, Party For One, accruing tastemaker approval and millions of streams in mere months.“If anybody, even one person, finds solace in my music, if it lifts them up even a little bit, then I will have done my job,” the 24-year-old says. “That’s all I can ask for.” The secret to Cole’s CBC-acclaimed “earworm pop with a feminist edge,” lies in her clinical approach to songwriting. The psychology graduate's Arista Records debut, “W.I.T.C.H” (“Woman in Total Control of Herself”) was the product of weeks of research: deep dives into the history of witchcraft, along with unending reruns of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. After Cole shared snippets of the funk-flavoured, Trojan horse-esque track, “W.I.T.C.H” secured 300,000 pre-saves — quadrupling her following in the process. For a Calgary native whose musical education mostly consisted of show choirs and rodeo appearances, Cole’s superior sonic instincts or sheer lyrical prowess is unprecedented. Catchily packaging social truths in repeat-worthy pop bops, Devon Cole is a woman in total control — and always understands the assignment.
Follow on Instagram @devonmcole