(From L to R, Matt DeFillippis, ASCAP; Paul Williams, Grammy and Oscar winning songwriter; and Jeff Okkonen, Fenton Records)
Jeff Okkonen, Executive Producer
With over three decades of music industry experience in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville, Jeff brings his expertise back home to West Michigan.
“We are very interested in discovering and developing new talent, and helping to guide their careers” says Jeff. “FENTON is the original indie record label. With all the changes that have affected the music industry, we have a unique opportunity to build a new business model that helps the creative talent retain their rights and their integrity.”
Jeff has negotiated hundreds of music, talent and media deals through his positions at The Harry Fox Agency, ASCAP, Liquid Audio, The Screen Actors Guild, and Clear Channel Radio (now iHeart). His clients have included Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Warner Music, EMI Music and many others.
He developed some of the first digital music deals in the entertainment industry. As co-chair of the Digital Media Association (DiMA) in Washington DC, he helped build consensus for The Digital Millenium Copyright Act and other initiatives.
Jeff also worked as an arranger and music copyist for eminent composers Leonard Bernstein, John Corigliano, Stephen Albert, Mercer Ellington and others.
Additional experience includes live sound, stage and lighting at Cobo Hall, Pine Knob and Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Madison Square Gardens in New York and many other venues.
Greg Peak, Fenton Records owner
Greg’s vision for Fenton Records has nothing to do with his personal musical ambition. Greg, in fact, admits he’s “not really a music guy.”
So why did the West Michigan businessman buy a once-famous independent music label, purchase a downtown Sparta building and pour the energy into restoring it to a better-than-new state with professional-level equipment?
Greg says the idea came to him in church as he heard talented musicians performing and he recognized the community needed to give them a chance to improve their skills and take the next step.
It didn’t take Greg long to realize that he was going to go all-in to help others.
“There was a void and I wanted to give these kids a chance,” Greg said. “There’s a cool factor to having a rock ‘n’ roll recording studio in Sparta.”
Ken Thies, Studio Audio Engineer
Ken is a veteran engineer with the skills and digital experience to guide artists who are beginning their performance careers and musicians who are on the verge of breaking out and getting noticed.
Ken is a graduate of the renowned Recording Workshop and also studied music composition as part of a double minor at Western Michigan University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
He composes and arranges music, plays the keyboard and is the organist and choirs director at a Muskegon church.
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