Ten $10,000 grants awarded on Saturday night’s Black Ball (11/8/14) to Austin musicians Amy Cook, Elizabeth McQueen, Erin Ivey, Gina Chavez, Graham Wilkinson, Lincoln Durham, Mother Falcon, Quiet Company, The Rocketboys and Wild Child

Austin nonprofit Black Fret hosted its inaugural Black Ball gala on Saturday, Nov. 8 at The Paramount Theatre where the 2014 Black Fret Grant Recipients were officially announced. The 2014 Black Fret grant winners are Amy Cook, Elizabeth McQueen, Erin Ivey, Gina Ghavez, Graham Wilkinson, Lincoln Durham, Mother Falcon, Quiet Company, The Rocketboys and Wild Child.

“The Black Ball was truly amazing,” said Black Fret Founder Colin Kendrick. “You could feel the love and profound respect of our members for these musicians we so cherish. Next year we are on track to double our grant giving and with every new member we can do that much more to support Austin’s musicians.”

The Black Ball featured performances by many of the 2014 Black Fret Nominees, including Amy Cook, Danny Malone, East Cameron Folkcore, Elias Haslanger, Elizabeth McQueen, Emily Bell, Erin Ivey, Gina Chavez, Graham Wilkinson, Jitterbug Vipers, Jonny Gray, Little Radar, Lincoln Durham, Mother Falcon, Quiet Company and The Rocketboys. Special guests Shaun Colvin and Riders Against the Storm also joined the stage that evening.

“It was incredible to have 16 of our nominees play and to see our nominees, advisors and members all come together in such a beautiful way to support our local music to the tune of $100,000 and a whole lot of love,” said Matt Ott, Black Fret Co-Founder.

I am proud to be among my esteemed colleagues to mentor the top twenty in a year long commitment. RajiWorld will treat these mentees as clients and offer our full array of artist services including booking, consulting, life-coaching and match-making.

Mentors include; Mark Addison, Roggie Baer, Mike Crowley , CJ Eiriksson , Jenni Finlay, Will Hoffman, Terrany Johnson, Terry Lickona Weston McGowen, Davis McLarty, Matt Noveskey, Tim Palmer, Peter Schwarz, Carlos Sosa, Joe Stallone, Stuart Sullivan, Mike Swinford Heather Wagner, Kevin Wommack, Tom Vale.


Concept           A group of 20+ experienced music industry professionals who will actively engage and advise both nominees and grant recipients (together “Artists”) over the course of the calendar year. Mentors shall represent a broad array of the business expertise needed for an artist to develop and maintain a career creating and performing music.

Each Artist shall work with multiple Mentors and each Mentor shall work with multiple Artists. Both Artists and Mentors will have full discretion on who they choose to work with.

Commitment For the course of the 2015 calendar year…


  • meeting with any nominees who requests a meeting at least once
  • identifying at least one Artist you would like to Mentor and proactively engaging them at least once a month to see if you can guide them in
    1. Business fundamentals (recording, marketing, touring, etc.)
    2. Advancing a specific project
    3. Networking with other Advisers and members of the broader community and industry

Note: Mentors are NOT agreeing to give away their services for free. Rather they are agreeing to offer coaching and guidance. So a sound engineer acting as a Mentor isn’t agreeing to providing free studio time but rather to offer advice to Artists on how they should best utilize the expertise of a professional sound engineer.

Joining               Mentors are approved annually by the Board of Directors and serve for the calendar year (ie 2015). Mentors may serve consecutive terms with no limitations on future service.

Mentors are either:

  • A member of the Black Fret Advisory Board or…
  • are selected and approved by the Black Fret Board of Directors subject to the approval of no less than 3 other active Mentors.

                        Members of the Black Fret Advisory Board (aka “Advisers”) are elected by the Black Fret Board of Directors and serve consecutive auto-renewing calendar-year terms at the mutual discretion of the Board of Directors and the Adviser. An Adviser does not have to be a Mentor but, should they so desire, may decide to serve as a Mentor in any given calendar year.


§  Producers/Engineers
§  Record Labels
§  Managers/General Industry Expertise
§  Licensing
§  Touring/Festivals/Road Management
§  Merchandising
§  Legal
§  Finance/Accounting
§  Marketing/PR/Branding/Social Media
§  Booking/Clubs
§  Radio/Airplay
§  Digital Distribution/Streaming
§  Emerging Technologies

Benefits          In return for participating Mentors will enjoy the following rights during the calendar year in which they serve:

  • Nominate bands and artists to the Artist Selection Process
  • Attend Black Fret events free of charge and as honored guests
  • Meet at their discretion with the Black Fret Board of Directors and Staff

IMPORTANT: Mentors may nominate any musician to the ASP but MUST disclose to the full Advisory Board and Board of Directors if they have a current or pending financial interest in the musician they nominate. Mentors may nominate but may NOT vote for a musician they have a current or pending financial interest in.

About ASP       The Board of Directors determines the number and type of grants to be awarded in any calendar year. Similarly the Board of Directors sets the source for and the number of Nominees to be invited to participate in Artist Select Process (ASP). To avoid artists investing too much effort in pursuit of a grant or ill will amongst Nominees, our goal is for at least 50% of Nominees who participate in the ASP to receive grants.

In 2015 Nominees will be brought forth by the following discrete groups each accounting for a whole number of Nominees based upon the rough percentage of total Nominees indicated below:

  • Members – about 50% of Nominees
  • Mentors – about 20% of Nominees
  • Prior-year Black Fret grant recipients – about 20% of Nominees
  • The people of Austin via the Austin Music Awards selection of the top two bands in the Best New Bands category

Nominations by each group will be determined based upon a popularity vote amongst members of that group. The Artist Selection Committee shall have oversight on the process, consolidate input from each group and bring forward a list of Nominees for approval by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall approve or reject the list of Nominees based on its alignment with the mission and bylaws of the organization but may not elect to exclude individual Nominees. If the Board rejects the Nominees the Artist Selection Committee will review and revert a new list of Nominees until such time that the Board approves a final list of Nominees.

The plan is for Nominee selection to be complete and announced the first week of April. The Listening Period will follow from April – November during which period the short list of Nominees shall be invited to play at Black Fret events. Voting to select grant recipients begins in November and winners are announced at the annual Black Ball in December.

Resources          Black Fret has made arrangements for use of Austin Music Foundation facilities for meetings between Mentors and Artists if so desired. We are assessing our ability to make college interns available to assist Mentors with their Artists.

We are proud to announce our new Dinner Party Committee, headed up by Members Sue Marriott and Becki Mendivil. Our Dinner Party Series is intended to help you, our Members, throw small events for prospective Members in your home. These small (8-30 people) events have proven to be VERY effective for recruiting new Members and are a wonderfully intimate musical experience. Black Fret will bring the musician and the booze, you provide the food and your guest list. Our Dinner Party Committee will work with you to pick a musician, invite guests and make the evening a great success.Got just 3 or more folks you think would make great Black Fret members? Just email and we will get the ball rolling and we will bring the party to you!