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Judges Panel

Angel Soto

Owner of Benton Entertainment/Records & Co-Founder Of Tampa Music Conference

Angel’s passion for music began while DJing house parties for his friends in the early 90’s. In the mid 90’s Angel decided that he was going to open a record store. After saving for a few years, Benton Records opened on Sept. 12, 2001. Benton Records soon became a hub for the local hip hop community. It was a place where artist could sell their music, DJ’s could go buy records and producers could showcase their beats. In 2004, in response to demand by the community Angel and his wife Carol established the Tampa Music Conference, an annual networking event for those in the music community. The TMC quickly became on of central Florida’s favorite music networking event. With about 300 attendees the first year and close to 700 just three years later.

In 2008 Benton Records was closed for good. The record store was unable to survive the digital era, however The Tampa Music Conference continued until 2010. Because of personal reasons, Angel decided that he was going to take a break from the music industry and stopped the conference and everything else music related. He stayed away until 2014 when he caved in to request and agreed to bring back the TMC. It was during this time when he also decided to establish a record label and a publishing company. Today the conference is on path to exceed its previous attendance numbers. Benton Records as a label now has 13 signed artist.

Benton Publishing has a growing catalog and has signed various songwriters and composers. In September on 2017, Benton Entertainment took over management responsibilities for Red Lounge studio. The company is growing faster than expected, but with all that, Angel still stops and takes the time to help and mentor up and coming artist, songwriters and producers.

Janette Berrios

Director Of Marketing at Symphonic Distribution

Janette Berrios is the Director of Marketing for Symphonic Distribution. Originally from Puerto Rico, Janette got her start in the music industry by joining Symphonic Distribution as a Marketing Assistant. With her involvement, the company’s digital presence grew remarkably making it one of the leading independent music distributors in the industry. Symphonic developed a strong voice and branding on behalf of musicians who would help the organization grow as a whole.                                                                                                                                     

After her initial success, Janette was promoted to Director of Marketing where she has continued to help advance the company in new markets with strategic content marketing strategy and by creating new marketing opportunities for Symphonic clients. Additionally, she has created an Educational Outreach Partnership with speaking engagements at Full Sail University, St. Petersburg College, and many more.

Janette has also helped individual creators grow their online presence and digital revenue via marketing campaigns and coordinated strategic placements on brands such as; Apple Music, Rhapsody, Spotify, and more without having to subject them to steep marketing budgets. Last but not least, Janette is a strong advocate for women in the music industry, something of which Symphonic is very passionate about . Since joining, she has brought her passion to the business and has helped to spread the message to women musicians, creators, and business owners to ensure their message and story is heard, as well as to bring more gender equality to the jungle that is the music industry. Aside from her involvement with the music industry and Symphonic, Janette loves spending time with her French bulldog, street art , photography, travelling, and spending time with her family and friends.

 

Ray Roa

Co-Founder/Editor at Suburban Apologist & Music Editor at Creative Loafing Tampa

As the former social media coordinator at Gasparilla Music Festival, he spent years helping plan and execute the festival alongside hardworking, selfless board members and volunteers who set an example by living and dying not just on the scores of bands we did and didn’t book, but also on the experiences of the tens of thousands of people who walked through the gates. For more than three years at the Tampa Bay Times, he filed live music copy and occasional features to his editor Jay Cridlin and grew more tuned in to the patterns of performing artists at every level. He appreciated that promoters at different scales all have unique ideas about exactly what a concert is supposed to mean to every individual who pays a cover.

Freelancing for a half-decade at CL, he ignited a curiosity for local existence that was already vital. Under the guidance of editors, he has profiled and documented music, food, and art news happening not just in Tampa Bay, but across the globe. He attended to city council meetings, endured mosh pits, and imbibed in some of the area’s greatest spirits and eats all while on assignment for CL. After a year spent writing national news for Consequence of Sound, he grew, but also realized that the place for my pen was at home. At Suburban Apologist, he was handed an opportunity to take a platform another person built and use it to run alongside contributors who blindly devoted themselves to the thing he cares about the most: the creative community. A daily passion project that coordinates volunteer writers, photographers, videographers, and designers as we utilize the award-winning subap.com and it’s social media channels to chronicle Tampa Bay’s creative culture. A new print magazine brings the project to the meetspace in a design-heavy artbook meant to be showcase the area’s best unheralded talent.

DynamicLee Creative