bor's banana, we were fined. But we
had the best-looking goats in Jamaica."
Four years later, Forrester returned to
the Detroit area, divorced her husband,
settled in her current home in Ferndale
and plunged back into music with the
band Motor Dolls. At the same time,
she worked a day job overseeing stu-
dent activities and events at the then-
Center for Creative Studies (CCS).
The Bloomfield Hills-raised
Koltonow, meanwhile, had discovered
her own outlet for the music in her
blood: Her vivacious charm has made
her a natural at management.
"My bands are my babies," she says.
"I'm good at getting people all excited.
I can sell shoes to a dead man. But
then Dana has to swoop in and make
sure it all gets done. She's my hero."
Busy managing local talent,
Koltonow was also working college
campuses as a marketing rep for BMG
Music when she received a call from
Forrester. "I wanted someone to come
in and talk to the students and set up
some listening parties. To let them in
on what was going on in Detroit,"
says Forrester. "And Erica happened to
answer the phone."
The two met for lunch and immedi-
ately connected; today, Koltonow and
Forrester each describe their meeting
as akin to discovering a long-lost sister.
The pair began working together and
eventually formed Aural Pleasure
Music, a management and promotion
company in Royal Oak that has repre-
sented Forrester's current bands, 60
Second Crush and Crud, as well as
hip-hop artist Hush, who the duo
helped sign with Geffen Records.
Bringing It Home
With the success of Hush under her
belt, Koltonow — who was divorced
after a brief marriage — packed her
bags and headed to Los Angeles. "I
knew it would be good for the man-
agement company. And I don't mind
the sunshine," she says. "But I still
own my house in Oak Park. I come
back at least once a month. I consider
But while Koltonow and Forrester
were still shopping Hush around
record labels in New York and L.A., an
editor at the influential industry publi-
this without Amir. He's got 25 years
of club promotion experience and
contacts, and he's made all the differ-
They've also teamed up with
Michael Whittaker, CEO and presi-
dent of Southfield-based Retailer's
Security and Investigation Group,
cation Hits Magazine posed a ques-
which has handled security for Kid
tion: "He asked why there wasn't one
Rock and the Ryder Cup.
central showcase in Detroit for
With the help of their new partners,
music," says Koltonow. "Before now,
as well as an article that ran in Crain's
Detroit Business this past January,
Detroit just didn't seem ready to han-
dle something so large scale.
MC2 sponsors have broadened to
But with the multimillion-dollar
include Verizon Wireless and Borders
revitalization the downtown area is
Books & Music (sponsoring a stage in
undergoing in preparation for hosting
the downtown Compuware Atrium,
the 2006 Super Bowl, combined with
where it will offer free acoustic
the international attention on current
lunchtime concerts) and national
Detroit names such as the White
media outlets Spin and Vibe maga-
Stripes, Eminem and Kid Rock,
Detroit seemed ripe for the musical
And of the more than 2,000 bands
that applied, more than 450 — half
local talent and half national — were
"The great history of Detroit music
has led up to this
selected to participate
by music committees
point," says Forrester.
"Detroit is ready to
in different genres.
do this. Wherever we
"We were expect-
go, Erica and I get
ing to showcase 40
this instant music
percent local music,
credibility just by
but we chose more
than we anticipated
being from Detroit.
The Detroit garage
because the caliber of
thing has gotten so
Detroit talent was so
much media attention
that once people hear
you're from Detroit,
Included in the
lineup are national
it's like having the
golden ticket. They
acts Moby, Snoop
Former Oak Parker Don
Dogg, Billie Miles
want to hear what's
(Fagenson) Was will be MC2s
and the Black Keys,
b b on "
She adds that this
along with local up-
past year legendary veteran music
and-corners Blanche, the Dirtbombs
and Detroit Cobras. Also on board are
mogul Seymour Stein, chairman of
Sire Record Group and former presi-
industry professionals and aficionados
including Eminem's label, Shady
dent of Elektra Records, has made a
low-profile habit of checking out
Records; an assortment of editors and
Detroit talent almost every month.
writers from leading industry maga-
"We're attracting these top industry
zines; label execs and, of course, musi-
people," she says.
Activities will be kicked off April 20
at the State Theatre with the Detroit
Music Awards, which will present a
So nine months ago, Koltonow and
Distinguished Achievement Award to
Grammy Award-winning producer,
Forrester accepted the MC2 challenge.
"We'd been pitching sponsors since
founding Was (Not Was) member and
former Oak Parker Don (Fagenson)
January 2004," says Koltonow, "and
Was, who will be MC2's keynote
didn't get that many bites."
Then Amir Daiza, Metro Detroit
concert promoter and former owner of
Although the partners hope the
Sr. Andrew's Hall and Clutch Cargo's
conference will grow to be as success-
ful as its SXSW model, for this inau-
came on board. "He really opened the
doors for us," she says.
gural festival their aim is clear: "We
want to help educate people," says
Adds Forrester, who points out that
Forrester. "I'm sure the night-time
Daiza did not know she was underage
all those years ago when she per-
events will do well all on their own.
But as far as the conference offerings,
formed at his club, "We couldn't do
there's really nothing like this going
on anywhere in the Midwest."
But, she continues, "The most
amazing part is the community sup-
port we've received. Everyone wants to
see this happen, and everyone wants
to be a part of it. The community is
really embracing it."
Because tickets are being sold on
Ticketmaster.com , Forrester and
Koltonow are uncertain of exactly
how large a turnout they'll receive.
"We know we've got people coming
from all over the world — Japan,
Australia, Germany. And we've got a
big L.A. contingent coming," says
Koltonow. "I'm expecting about
50,000 people; Dana's expecting 5. So
What it all really comes down to, half-
jokes Forrester, is Jewish values.
"When I came back to Detroit from
Jamaica and got involved in music
again, I started feeling sort of selfish,
she explains. "Here I was, coming
from a Third World country where I
was doing work that helped people. I
carry with me Jewish values, in terms
of hard work and giving back to the
community. I always want to help
_ Koltonow agrees. "The older I get,
the more I realize how grateful I am to
have been raised with Jewish values. I
think it's amazing [how members of]
the Jewish community back [one
another] up," she says.
"And that's what this conference is
all about," says Forrester. "It's about
music and helping artists who want
careers in the music industry to
achieve their dreams."
The Motor City Music
Conference will be held
April 20-24 at more than
50 venues in the Detroit area,
including those in Foxtown,
Greektown, in Hamtramck and
at Cobo Center. Prices for MC2
range from a $15 day pass to a
S100 Platinum Badge that gains
admission to all events, plus
extra goodies. For more informa-
tion on levels of participation
and/or to buy tickets, log on to
www.motorcitymusic.com or call
(248) 208-9865. Tickets also
available through Ticketmaster
at (248) 645-6666 or