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American Voices Symposium: The Business and Technology of Popular Singing Today
Steve Schnur is the Creator and Executive Producer of the E! Global network show Opening Act. Along with Executive Producer partners Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Lythgoe, Opening Act is a first of its kind in that, unlike any other music show, the drama does not revolve around a competition. Opening Act finds undiscovered talent online and surprises them with the opportunity to open for a global superstar within a few days' time. It now appears in more than 90 countries around the world.
Steve has always been in the business of music. He was born outside of New York City and by age 7 he began to study guitar, piano, composition, production, and arrangement at Carnegie Hall. By the time he attended college he became a full time intern at MTV in its earliest days where he helped to influence the programming decisions behind the debuts of Madonna and Michael Jackson, amongst many others. He went on to hold various executive positions with Warner Music Group, EMI, and BMG, and was behind the debuts of artists ranging from Metallica to Sarah McLachlan to Coldplay. Steve also worked for many years in Nashville when he ran the label Arista Austin, which was a part of the Arista Nashville family of labels. There he worked with artists ranging from Brooks and Dunn to Brad Paisley. Steve also produced several records while in Nashville such as Radney Foster's See What You Want to See, which included Keith Urban future hits "Raining On Sunday" and "I'm In." Additionally, Steve went on to work as music supervisor for Sandra Bullock's production company, Fortis Films, where he supervised and produced music for the hit comedy Miss Congeniality (which garnered a Golden Globe nomination for best original song).
Steve is currently the Worldwide Executive and President of EA Music Group for Electronic Arts where he has been responsible for the launch of artists ranging from Thirty Seconds to Mars, to Katy Perry, including his own co-production of Florence + the Machine's "I'm Not Calling You a Liar." His hands-on approach with composer selection and score production has earned EA well over 50 soundtrack nominations over the last 10 years in which Steve has produced more than 100 EA soundtrack albums. With the formation of Artwerk Music Group, through which EA now directly signs, develops, and launches artists for publishing, master recordings, sync deals, and distribution, Steve, as its President, has signed alternative breakthroughs Matt and Kim, Chromeo, and Ladytron, amongst others.
Steve has been profiled by the New York Times, London Financial Times, and CNN. Additionally, he was selected as "One of the Most Creative People in Entertainment" by Entertainment Weekly, both "One of the Most Powerful People in the Music Business" and "One of the Top 20 Power Players in Digital Entertainment" by Billboard Magazine and "One of the Top 25 Power Players in the New Hollywood" by the Wall Street Journal. In 2009, he was awarded "International Music Person of the Year" at MusExpo's annual music conference in Hollywood.
Steve Schnur is also a board member of City of Hope, a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) and a member of its Producer and Engineer Wing, a board member of the Country Music Association and served as both Chairman and Chairman Emeritus of the Grammy Foundation. In December 2009, Schnur received the ACLU "Bill of Rights" Award alongside Robert Redford, Michelle Satter and Cara Mertes of the Sundance Institute and Film Festival. In 2011, Steve produced the number one Billboard dance chart hit "Dance On" and top five Billboard dance chart hit "Undivided," featuring Snoop Dogg. Additionally on Grammy day in 2012, Steve received the Music Supervisor of the Year Award from the Guild of Music Supervisors. In addition to a second season of Opening Act, his television production company continues to create unique television with one additional show in development and another one being recently green-lit by a major global network.