Spencer Proffer

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Spencer Proffer
Spencer Proffer.jpg
Spencer Proffer during ABC interview
Born Salek Profesorski
(1948-12-25) December 25, 1948 (age 68)
Munich, Germany
Nationality American
Occupation Media and record producer
Years active 1972-present
Spouse(s) Judith Anne Proffer
Children Sterling David Proffer, Morgan Samuel Proffer

Spencer Proffer (born Salek Profesorski, December 25, 1948) is an American media and record producer. He is the CEO of Meteor 17,[1] a convergence media production company based in Los Angeles, California, United States. Proffer produced the first heavy metal record, Quiet Riot's Metal Health,[2] to reach number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart,[3] selling six million albums. His Children of the Sun[4] collaboration with Billy Thorpe, was the first rock record to spawn a computer animated laser choreography of an album in planetariums across North America. Proffer has produced and arranged over 200 albums,[5] many of which have achieved gold and platinum selling status, produced/executive produced 17 films as well as supervised and produced music for 135 films and television.[6]

Proffer co-produced a charitable concert and media event with Doc McGhee and Quincy Jones in 2005, for over 44,000 Marines and their families, headlined by Beyoncé Knowles, Destiny's Child and Kiss and hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. In 2012, he donated 25 scholarships,[7] to youth across North America to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.[8]

In 2016, he completed production of Chasing Trane, The John Coltrane Documentary. The film addresses the life and socio cultural impact of John Coltrane and his music on the world. Denzel Washington performs the voice of Coltrane and there are appearances from President Bill Clinton, Common, Santana, Wynton Marsalis along with along with many of the living musicians who performed with Coltrane throughout his career (e.g. Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner).

Personal life[edit]

Proffer was born in Munich, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1954 at the age of six. He grew up in Los Angeles, California. He attended Fairfax High School.[9] In 1967, he co-wrote "Picture Postcard",[10] recorded by Gary Lewis & the Playboys. By the time he was 21, he had 18 songs recorded as a songwriter. After college, he secured recording contracts for various recording groups for which he was the bandleader (Dunhill, MGM, and CBS).[11]

Proffer graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from UCLA at the age of 20 and enrolled at Loyola University School of Law. He was Executive Editor of the school's Law Review and a member of the St. Thomas More Law Honor Society. He wrote songs for the animated The Hardy Boys[12] ABC television series and performed nights and weekends with his band, Proffer, Marmelzat and Reed (PMR).[13]

While in law school, he attracted the attention of Clive Davis, then CEO of CBS Records, and the group was signed to a recording contract on Columbia Records. After graduating law school in 1972 at 23, he accepted a position to work for Davis at CBS and moved to New York. He left CBS shortly after Davis' departure, to become National Executive Director and Head of Worldwide A+R at United Artists Records. While at UA, Proffer produced and co-produced a number of worldwide hit records ranging from Tina Turner's Acid Queen,[14][15] to the No. 1 hit "One Man Woman"[16] by Paul Anka and Odia Coates.

Proffer had two sons, Sterling and Morgan, with ex-wife, Suzanne DuBarry. He is married to Judith, former publisher of the L.A. Weekly[17] and co-founder of the Sun Community Newspaper chain in Southern California. Judith is also founder and publisher of boutique book publishing imprint, Huqua Press.[18] The couple reside in Encino, California.

Early career[edit]

Upon Transamerica's sale of United Artists in 1977, Proffer ventured on his own as an independent record producer, songwriter and arranger. He launched the Pasha Music Organisation,[19] out of a studio apartment and within a year constructed a deal with David Geffen's Elektra/Asylum Records to produce and arrange the first solo album from the Hollie's lead singer, Allan Clarke.[20]

In 1977, he met Australian guitarist and singer Billy Thorpe. Proffer and Thorpe formed a friendship and partnership. They would collaborate on four albums. The first, Children Of The Sun.[21][22] The album became a hit in America, spawning the first computer animated, laser choreography of a music album in planetariums across the country, which Proffer produced.[citation needed] Proffer and Thorpe had planned to produce a full-length feature film based upon the Children Of The Sun saga. However Capricorn Records, distributed by Polygram at that time, filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and records were no longer available to be purchased anywhere in the country for a period of two years. Subsequently, Proffer remixed and re-released this album on his own Pasha/CBS label, 10 years later.

Business career highlights[edit]

In 1978, Proffer and his recording engineer, Larry Brown designed and built the Pasha Music House, consisting of two state of the art recording studios in Hollywood, which served as the home for all of Proffer's productions for the next twelve years. Advances from a Polydor Records production arrangement along with matching funds from City National provided the capital to build the facility. The first project recorded there was a series of tracks for the platinum selling soundtrack to Staying Alive,[23] on which Spencer served as an executive producer as well as a Polydor UNICEF benefit album featuring Olivia Newton John.[24] produced by Rick Stevens.[25] Proffer produced many renowned rock artists at Pasha including Cheap Trick, Heart, The Little River Band, Eddie Money, The Beach Boys, W.A.S.P., The Vanilla Fudge, Ian Hunter, Shooting Star, Jon Butcher, and The Outlaws. Pre-production for Guns N' Roses debut Geffen release, Appetite for Destruction, and Mötley Crüe's Shout at the Devil were recorded at Pasha.[26] Additionally, the first rock record to reach No.1 in the Billboard 200 was produced and mixed by Proffer: Metal Health by Quiet Riot. It sold six million albums at that time.[27] It was released on Proffer's Pasha Records, via his long term co-venture with CBS Records.

Proffer's next decade was spent supervising and producing music for film and television. In 1994, he formed a partnership with Jerry Offsay,[28] and The Showtime Network where Proffer served as the off campus Supervising Music Producer on all their original films and mini-series.[29]

By the end of the 1990s, Proffer had started to develop and produce his own movies.[30] Proffer was a co-executive producer of the Academy Award winning feature, Gods & Monsters.[31] Additionally, Proffer was an executive producer of the documentary special, Robbie Robertson: Goin' Home which featured special appearances from Eric Clapton and Martin Scorsese.[32] It earned two Emmy Award nominations in 1997.[33]

Proffer also co-arranged and produced three original compositions with Stevie Wonder, written for the New Line Feature, The Adventures of Pinocchio.[34] All were recorded with a 90 piece symphony orchestra. One of these tracks received a 1997 Grammy Award nomination for ‘Best Instrumental Recording'.[35] For that same film, Proffer also produced, arranged and mixed a seven-minute operetta with Brian May of Queen.

From 1995-1999, Proffer produced and directed the original music for HBO’s series, Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child[36] and composed many of the original songs.

In 1998, Proffer acted as music consultant for the ABC television series, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch,[37] and was the supervising producer of the soundtrack album on Geffen Records which sold in excess of 500,000 units in the United States.[38]

In 1999, Proffer was also a producer and cast album producer, arranger and mixer of the four-time Tony Award nominated Broadway hit show, It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues.[39] He removed select musician performances from the live cast recording at Lincoln Center in New York City and replaced them with musical contributions from B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Jonny Lang and Andrae Crouch.

Also in 1999, Proffer worked with CBS Television's development executive Michael Wright to create the mini-series, Shake, Rattle & Roll.[40] It was broadcast during the November 1999 “sweeps” ratings period and aired repeatedly on VH1. Spencer served as executive producer, along with Mike Medavoy and the project’s director and primary screenwriter, Mike Robe. Additionally, he produced, arranged and mixed all the original recordings, which featured B.B. King, K-Ci & JoJo, Chanté Moore, Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge, Terence Trent D’Arby, Dicky Barrett (lead singer of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones), Dan Wilson (leader of Semisonic), Gary Allan and Billy Porter. The New York Times called this project “…the most ambitious music-oriented miniseries to date…”[41] Proffer wrote the main song for the ending of the film, "Side By Side" with Lamont Dozier and secured original songs from Bob Dylan, Carole King, Leiber-Stoller, and Graham Nash (co-written with Spencer). The soundtrack album was released on MCA Records.[42]

That same year Proffer was the executive producer, supervising music producer and co-composer for Showtime Network's feature, Mr. Music,[43] starring Mick Fleetwood and Jonathan Tucker. The soundtrack featured recordings by Pat Benatar and Graham Nash.[44] In 2000, Proffer produced and co-wrote all of the original songs for MTV’s first original dramatic series, Live Through This.[45] Also that year he co-wrote and produced the title song, "Behind the Mask" with Jose Feliciano for the international television series Queen of Swords.[46]

Fender Musical Instruments[edit]

In 2001, Proffer and his Morling Manor Music company formed a joint venture with Fender to release original guitar based music.[47] The Fender Records debut release, Players, featured music by Eric Clapton, Green Day, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Goo Goo Dolls, Blink-182 and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. In 2002, Proffer designed and negotiated a joint venture between Fender Records and California based surf apparel company, Ocean Pacific,[48] to produce an album and tour featuring emerging acts and prominent athlete-musicians accomplishing one of the first marriages of a prominent consumer brand with a music company. The recording was distributed by Warner Brothers Records[.[49]

Also in 2001-2002, Proffer executive produced At Any Cost for VH1, an early starring vehicle for James Franco. The opening musical track in the movie which Proffer secured was the No. 1 Grammy Award hit, "Pinch Me" by The Barenaked Ladies. The soundtrack was distributed by Warner Brothers Records.[50]

In 2003, Proffer produced Darius Rucker and Hootie & The Blowfish's cover version of "Goodbye Girl", to accompany the TNT film, Goodbye Girl, starring Patricia Heaton and Jeff Daniels. The music video for "Goodbye Girl" featured the band, Heaton and clips from the film and was used to promote the TNT film on 6,200 Regal Cinemas screens nationwide.[51][52]

Additionally in 2003, he was the Supervising Producer of the Fox Television New Years Special, America's Party, hosted by Ryan Seacrest and featured Keith Urban, Ja Rule and Hootie & The Blowfish.

In 2004, Proffer co-wrote and produced the title song to USA Network’s Frankenstein.

In 2005, Tweet recorded the title song for the Kojak series, which was co-written and produced by Spencer. The video for the song, "When I Need a Man", appeared on screen in over 7,000 National Cinemedia screens across America to cross promote the series launch.[53]

Rockin The Corps[edit]

On April 1, 2005, in the tradition of Bob Hope’s USO military tours, a landmark concert, Rockin' the Corps, took place on the beach of Marine Base Camp, Pendleton, California. Proffer and Doc McGhee produced the concert later the groundbreaking one night exhibition celebration in 300 Regal Theaters across the country.. Quincy Jones, Joe E. Robert, Jr., and Jerry Inzerillo served as executive producers.[54][55]

USA Network Music Architecture[edit]

In 2006, Proffer and then USA Network SVP Chris McCumber (currently President of the network) conceived branding the network with music from Virgin Records. Spencer negotiated the arrangement with Virgin and worked on behalf the network. The deal called for the record company to provide music from the label's artists for use across all of US's marketing platforms. This arrangement marked the first time a network has made such an exclusive pact with a record label.[56][56]

In 2008, acting on behalf of the network, Proffer brought together USA and Yahoo Music to discover and promote emerging artists.[57][58]

Meteor 17[edit]

Meteor17 logo.jpeg

In 2007, Proffer formed Meteor 17, a successor, wholly owned company of The Morling Manor Music Corporation. M17 is a production company that actively participates through all phases of deal making, marketing, promotion and distribution[1]

MTV networks new venture[edit]

In 2008, Proffer and Doc McGhee formed a joint venture with MTV Networks to develop and promote new emerging talent. The first act signed to the venture was Crooked X,[59] a hard rock group of 14-year-olds from Coweta, Oklahoma. Proffer and McGhee produced a one-hour special on the band, Rock and Roll Dream,[59] which aired on MTV and MTV 2 repeatedly in 2009.[60] The band made their debut album, via a joint venture arrangement between Meteor 17 and Capitol Records. Proffer worked with Michael Wagener in both of them handling the production roles.

In 2009, young country duo, The Carter Twins were added to the venture as the first act signed to MTV Networks’ country network, CMT. Frank Rogers produced their first album, with Proffer and MTV’s Jeff Yapp serving as executive producers.[61]

Flying Machines/USA Networks/Yahoo[edit]

2009 saw Flying Machines land a record deal through Meteor 17’s partnership with Capitol/EMI, who released their first album. The band was discovered as a result of the USA Network/Yahoo partnership. That enterprise resulted in the band writing and recording the promotional song and video for USA’s launch of hit show Psych.[62] The band was also the Grand Prize winner of the Converse and Journeys' "Get Out of the Garage Music Contest”,[63] which was held over a three-month period and received over 5,000 entries from all over the United States. Proffer produced and mixed their debut album.[63]

Warped Tour 15th anniversary[edit]

In 2010, Spencer served as the co-executive producer on the VANS Warped Tour, 15th Anniversary Celebration Concert, DVD and CD, featuring alternative artists whose careers were launched on the Warped Tour. Included were All American Rejects, the Aggrolites, Bad Religion, bLINK 182, Ice-T, NOFX, Ozomatli, Pennywise, Pete Wentz and the Decaydence All Stars, Rise Against and Underoath. The DVD was released by Capitol Records via a M17 joint venture and the concert was also exhibited on over 300 Regal, AMC and Cinemark screens across America.[29][64]

As Seen Through These Eyes[edit]

In 2010, Spencer oversaw all musical aspects of the documentary film, As Seen Through These Eyes.[65] It appeared in limited theatrical release and aired on the Sundance Channel, who financed the production. The film’s end title song, "Art of the Soul", was performed by Anna Nalick and produced by Proffer. It was written by Judith A. Proffer, David Pomeranz, and Spencer Proffer. Composer Larry Brown and Proffer won the Grand Prize[66] Gold Medal Award at the 7th Annual Park City Film Music Festival for Best Use of Music and Performance for the film.[67]

Citizens of the World[edit]

Also in 2010, Spencer produced and co-wrote Citizens of the World,[68] a song, video documentary, marketing campaign and an international humanitarian vision. It had its world premiere as a featured article and video embedded in The Wall Street Journal online and on the Fender Musical Instruments website.[69] The performers, collectively known as Pangea,[70] consisted of Flying Machines (US), Khaled (Algeria/France), King Sunny Ade (Nigeria), Kailish Kher (India) and Cheng Lin (China). The artists sang in five different languages. Proffer also produced a video of the collaboration. It was filmed on the rooftop of the Capitol Records building in Hollywood.[29][71][72]

Space Warriors[edit]

M17 has an arrangement with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to develop and produce media for them, with extensions into television, DVD, merchandising, music, online, social media and other platforms.[73] This long term relationship and anchor for the parties is designed to use multi-media to inspire and promote science and space education. In 2012, the film Space Warriors was produced entirely on location at United States Space Camp in Huntsville.[74][75] Proffer served as an executive producer and supervising music producer.[76] The film stars Danny Glover, Mira Sorvino, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Lucas and Thomas Horn.[77] The end title track for the film was performed by Tobymac.[78][79]

The Entertainment Industry Council's Annual S.E.T. Awards are presented to productions for inspiring and impactful entertainment portraying and promoting the fields of science, engineering, technology and math.[80] In 2013, Space Warriors was honored as the winner in the television category.

Proffer donated 25 scholarships to children across North America to further science and space education.[7]

State of Alabama honorarium[edit]

In 2013, Proffer received a proclamation from the Governor of the State of Alabama, Robert Bentley. Spencer was named an Honorary Citizen of the State for his continuing efforts on behalf of The U.S. Space & Rocket Center and the state of Alabama, to inspire the next generation through Space Camp's renown educational programs at Space Camp as well as the NASA Visitor Center and Museum.[7][74][81][82]

I Hope You Dance: The Power and Spirit of Song[edit]

In 2015, Spencer produced a full-length documentary film, I Hope You Dance: The Power and Spirit of Song which explored how one extraordinary song has changed people's lives. www.ihopeyoudancespecial.com. It had its big screen premiere at the Grammy Museum, followed by two theatrical events, exhibited on 362 screens across The United States, hosted by the Today Show’s Kathie Lee Gifford in May, 2016. America’s #1 faith and inspirational radio program, Keep The Faith, aired a month long series of specials to create awareness of the theater special event.[83] The evening also featured a special appearance by season 9 THE VOICE winner, Jordan Smith, who sang an acapella rendition of I Hope You Dance in addition to performing his new Republic/Universal single, “Stand in the Light”. [84]

Directed by John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs. John Lennon), the film is a powerful, inspirational and cinematic work about hope, faith and optimism and the power of music to inspire and heal. It features poignant commentaries by Dr. Maya Angelou, Graham Nash (who performs 'Teach Your Children'), Brian Wilson (who performs 'God Only Knows'), Joel Osteen, Vince Gill and Lee Ann Womack. http://vimeopro.com/crewneckproductions/ihyd-doc-sizzle-reel The film also profiles 4 extraordinary stories of real people whose lives have been inspired, given renewed hope and faith as a result of the Song.[84] Further, it showcases a new version of the #1 Grammy winning song by 4 time Grammy nominated artist, Mandisa, a Capitol CMG exclusive recording artist. It was produced by 6 time Grammy winning artist Tobymac's producers, Chris Stevens and David Garcia.[83][84][85] http://keepthefaith.com/page/i-hope-you-dance Judith A. Proffer's Huqua Press has published a gift book which highlights and expands upon the stories in the film and of the people whose lives were wonderfully impacted by the song. Retail distribution is by Simon & Schuster. The book contains additional content and prose about the power of music to heal and inspire.

Renown author and life coach, Tim Storey has written the Foreword. Book Trailer

John Coltrane Feature Documentary[edit]

Spencer and M17 have a partnership with the John Coltrane Estate to produce, market and distribute the definitive visual work on the music and influence of John Coltrane to the world. Proffer served as the producer, along with Scott Pascucci ("Geo Harrison: Living In The Material World") and John Beug ("Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival"). Award winning director, John Scheinfeld, best known for the critically acclaimed feature documentaries, The U.S. vs. John Lennon and Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him) directed the film. The team had unprecedented access to utilize all major recorded music by Coltrane from the record labels who account for nearly 90% of all John's music released over the years.[85]

The project was produced and completed in 2016 with the full participation of the Estate. The film explores the global power and impact of the music of John Coltrane and reveals the passions, experiences and forces that shaped his life and revolutionary sounds. The film will appeal to a broad, worldwide audience that will be touched by Coltrane’s very human story of demons and redemption. Told in a fresh and entertaining way, it is a film about hope, faith, optimism and the power of music to heal and to transform the world. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/chasing-trane-john-coltrane-documentary-928451 There is an ongoing global reach to the music of John Coltrane. Over 45 years after his death, his music continues to make a significant impact on the lives of people throughout the globe of all ages, races, faiths and socio-economic circumstances.

CHASING TRANE: The John Coltrane Documentary, is a thought-provoking, uplifting, powerful and passionate film about an outside-the-box thinker whose boundary-shattering music continues to impact and influence people around the world. This rich, textured and compelling portrait of a remarkable artist reveals the critical events, passions, experiences and challenges that shaped the life of John Coltrane and his revolutionary sounds. It is a story of demons and darkness, of persistence and redemption and, above all else, it is the incredible journey of a spiritual warrior who found himself, found God and, in the process, created an extraordinary body of work that transcends all barriers of race, religion, age and geography. It is a film for anyone who appreciates the power of music to entertain, inspire and transform. The beauty, poignancy, energy, pain, joy and inspiration heard in nearly 50 Coltrane recordings from throughout his career brings alive the artist and the times in which he lived. Even those familiar with his music will be able to hear and appreciate the music of John Coltrane in a new and exciting way. Although Coltrane never did any television interviews (and only a handful for radio) during his lifetime, he will have an active and vibrant presence in the film through thoughts he expressed during print interviews. These words—spoken by Academy Award winner Denzel Washington – illuminate what John Coltrane may have been thinking or feeling at critical moments throughout his life and career.

CAST: Denzel Washington, President Bill Clinton, Common, John Densmore, Wynton Marsalis, Sonny Rollins, Carlos Santana, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Kamasi Washington Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, Cornel West.

Jimi Hendrix: The Acoustic Experience[edit]

2017 will see the release, marketing and distribution of the EP by Sony Legacy Records, worldwide.[86] Spencer has put this together and serves as the Executive Producer, working with original Hendrix engineer and mixer, Eddie Kramer.

Kramer, whose illustrious credits include engineering 5 albums with The Rolling Stones, 5 with Led Zeppelin and select recordings with The Beatles, has mixed all the tracks and serves as the EP’s Co-Executive Producer, along with former Capitol/EMI/Virgin Records No America President, Lee Trink and Phillipa Sledge. Tether Inc. founder, Stanley Hainsworth [87] is the records’ Associate Producer. Seattle based Tether, Inc [88] is M17’s marketing arm, working alongside Sony Legacy recordings.

This acoustic/unplugged re-imagination of classic Jimi Hendrix titles for audiences of today, is performed by top selling legacy stars (e.g. David Crosby/Graham Nash) combined with current hit, worldwide artists (e.g. Jason Mraz) who all share a love and affinity of Hendrix music. The project and media extensions will demonstrate, musically and commercially, how timeless Jimi's music truly is. The Acoustic Experience provides an exciting and unique way of conveying Hendrix’ relevance to today's audiences.

Sweetwater[edit]

“Sweetwater”, set in 1950, is the story of the first African American athlete to become a star in the NBA - “The Jackie Robinson of basketball”.[89] A historical true tale sequestered under the radar since its happening in 1950, Nathan Sweets Clifton helped to change the game of basketball forever. Spencer is the film’s Supervising Music Producer and an Executive Producer. He is also putting together a companion hip hop album of tracks with NBA Superstars, the songs based upon the themes and ethos of director, Martin Guigui’s script. The NBA serves as a marketing partner for the project which will be released at the end of 2017.

Professorial teaching[edit]

Spencer has taught numerous courses at UCLA, American University, Syracuse University and USC, while having served on the Dean's Council for the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C.

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