In his more than four-decade career, Mike Curb has creatively and successfully engaged with the worlds of business, government and philanthropy. He built and sustained Curb Records as one of the premier independent record companies, reshaped the role of lieutenant governor in the state of California and launched a generous, family-based program in philanthropy, targeting historic preservation and education in the arts.
Curb scored his first success in the music industry while still in high school, when Honda selected his song “You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda (Go Little Honda)” for a national advertising campaign. His vocal group, The Mike Curb Congregation, achieved worldwide success and collaborated with artists including Sammy Davis Jr. (“The Candy Man”) and Hank Williams Jr. (“All for the Love of Sunshine”).
Curb’s songs have been recorded by artists including The Osmond Brothers, Roy Orbison, Anne Murray, Eddy Arnold, and Solomon Burke. He wrote a signature song for Liza Minelli (“It Was a Good Time”) and the theme for the American Bandstand television show starring Dick Clark.
Curb has composed and produced music for many films, including “Wild Angels,” “Coyote Ugly,” “Evan Almighty” and “Legally Blonde 2.”
In the 1960s, Curb’s record label became an important part of the West Coast rock ‘n’ roll business, releasing early recordings by The Stone Ponies with Linda Ronstadt, The Electric Flag and Eric Burden and War. As president of MGM Records and later Verve Records, Curb helped develop the careers of Donny and Marie Osmond and Tony Bennett and also played a role in preserving recordings by Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong and other jazz greats.
Curb founded Curb Records in the 1970s, again scoring hits such “You Light up My Life” (Debby Boone), “Let Your Love Flow” (The Bellamy Brothers) and “Kiss You All Over” (Exile).
In 1978, Curb was elected lieutenant governor of California and served as acting governor for about a year, guiding the state during disastrous floods, fires and a threatened prison guard strike. He has long been a prominent Republican fundraiser.
Curb Records has continued to thrive with hits by country artists including LeAnn Rimes, Tim McGraw and Wynonna Judd. In addition to his record business, Curb serves as chair of the Mike Curb Family Foundation, which supports music education and works to restore historic music industry locations.
Bill Ivey is the Director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University, an arts policy research center with offices in Nashville, Tennessee and Washington, DC. He also directs the Center's program for senior government, the Arts Industries Policy Forum. Ivey also served as Senior Consultant to Leadership Music, a music industry professional development program, and is currently President of the American Folklore Society. He chairs the board of the National Recording Preservation Foundation, a federally-chartered foundation affiliated with the Library of Congress, and is board chairman of WPLN, Nashville Public Radio. He is the co-editor, with Steven J. Tepper, of Engaging Art: The Next Great Transformation in America's Cultural Life (Routledge, 2008). His book about the public interest and America's cultural system, Arts, Inc: How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed Our Cultural Rights, was published by the University of California Press in May, 2008.
From May, 1998 through September, 2001, Ivey served as the seventh Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal cultural agency. Following years of controversy and significant reductions to the NEA budget, Ivey's leadership is credited with restoring Congressional confidence in the work of the NEA. Ivey's Challenge America Initiative, launched in 1999, has to date garnered more than $20 million in new Congressional appropriations for the Arts Endowment.
Prior to government service, Ivey was director of the Country Music Foundation in Nashville, Tenn. He was twice elected board chairman of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). Ivey holds degrees in History, Folklore, and Ethnomusicology, as well as honorary doctorates from the University of Michigan, Michigan Technological University, Wayne State University, and Indiana University. He is a four-time Grammy Award nominee (Best Album Notes category), and is the author of numerous articles on U.S. cultural policy, and folk and popular music.
Steven J. Tepper is associate director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy and assistant professor in the department of sociology at Vanderbilt.
Previously Tepper served as the deputy director of the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies and lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Department of Sociology.
Tepper is the co-editor, with Bill Ivey, of Engaging Art: The Next Great Transformation in America's Cultural Life (Routledge, 2008).
He is currently working on a book which assesses 900 cases of struggles over art, education, and culture in 75 American cities during the 1990's. He has published articles on the sociology of art, cultural policy, and democracy in journals such as Review of Policy Research, Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society, and International Journal of Cultural Policy.
Tepper holds a bachelor's degree in international relations and Latin America from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; a master's in public policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government; and a Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University. Additionally, he has served as a consultant to numerous institutions including the National Humanities Center, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and many foundations.