Powerhouse Jazz Artist Manager Karen Kennedy Elected President of NAPAMA
New York, New York — Karen Kennedy, Founding President of 24/Seven Artist Development, has been elected as President of North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents (NAPAMA). Kennedy’s appointment follows the leadership of former NAPAMA president Gail Boyd, who was the first African American woman to step into this prominent role. Kennedy is the second. Both Boyd and Kennedy are the first two NAPAMA Presidents to come from the jazz music industry.
Kennedy’s tenure will begin on January 15, 2023 and continue throughout the year. “This is a proud moment, to be elected President of NAPAMA, after over three decades of running my own management company. I am thrilled to continue the great work that Gail Boyd has established with this organization, and I am excited to continue amplifying the talents of this industry.”
When Kennedy founded 24/Seven in 1992, she set out to provide full-range strategic marketing and career planning to the finest artists in entertainment. She has succeeded and surpassed vision, and has since guided the careers of some of the top names in jazz. These artists include eleven-time GRAMMY® nominee & NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron, twice GRAMMY® nominated vocalist Gretchen Parlato also winner of the International Thelonious Monk Competition, GRAMMY® Award winner saxophonist David Sanchez, guitarist/vocalist Camila Meza and singer-songwriter cellist Gabriel Royal. Kennedy has helped shape the careers of four-time GRAMMY® nominee and award-winning composer and educator Stefon Harris, award winning pianist Jacky Terrasson, and pianist James Francies among others.
Prior to launching her business Ms. Kennedy spent 10 years as an executive at several major record labels beginning at A&M Records. While there she initiated YES TO JOBS, an industry wide national high school internship program. She later joined the marketing staff where she was responsible for developing pop, R&B, jazz and classical music. As a Product Manager she worked with Sergio Mendes, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Barry White, Brenda Russell, Randy Jackson and many others. She was later named President of Perspective Records and helped launch the careers of GRAMMY® Award winners The Sound of Blackness and Mint Condition. While at Silas/MCA Records she created marketing strategies and oversaw artist development for pop and R&B artists Aaron Hall, Chante Moore and Jesse Powell.
In 2019, Kennedy and Gail Boyd launched Vanguard Arts, a management consulting and development firm for corporations, nonprofits and independent artists.
Ms. Kennedy entered the entertainment industry after serving as the Director of the Southern California Environmental Internship Program, a non-profit organization for college students and alumni. Previously she held various college dean and teaching positions at Pitzer College, Loyola Marymount University and University of Southern California.
Ms. Kennedy serves on the NAPAMA Board of Directors, the Jazz Congress Advisory Board sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center and the YES TO JOBS Board of Directors. She taught at The Julliard School, Manhattan School of Music and is a returning lecturer at the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA, a M.A. in Counseling and College Administration from the University of Southern California and is a Ph.D. candidate in Higher Education at UCLA
Founded in 1979, NAPAMA is a not-for-profit service organization dedicated to promoting the professionalism of its members and the vitality of the performing arts. NAPAMA is the service organization that represents the voice of managers and agents (which are the glue that binds the performing arts). Managers and agents ensure that communities across the nation have access to the very best avant-garde, classical, and modern performing artists in the world. They find artists concert halls, theaters, and festivals in which to perform and arrange regional, national, and international tours for choreographers, composers, dancers, directors, orchestras, theater companies, singers, and youth ensembles. They find artists the stages on which to perform so that audiences can hear, experience, and share in the work. NAPAMA is the service organization that represents the voice of managers and agents.
Committed to the core values of equity, diversity and inclusion, NAPAMA provides members with a platform for networking, communication, information exchange, resource identification, trends in the field, research, and best practices. NAPAMA is deeply dedicated to returning value to its members, respecting the voices of all constituencies in the performing arts.