Jay Cleary



Jay Cleary

Jay Cleary has experienced the industry from just about every conceivable perspective, making him the ideal manager for an independent artist. As a musician, he's done the grind across Canada -- a country that is notoriously brutal to tour -- many times and also booked & managed over a dozen tours. He's written grants that made those tours possible, schlepped gear and handed out flyers on countless freezing nights. He has over 400 events on his resume as a concert promoter, and has served as a high-level business representative for clients at international music conferences. He's a cutting-edge early adopter, who studies both current and historical music industry trends and has an instinctive feel for the business is heading. His friendly yet firm disposition and tireless work ethic give him a rare ability to bring even challenging or difficult people together for a common purpose.

Born and raised in Toronto, Jay began his music career in Atlantic Canada during his university days at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, from which he graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Business Information Systems. At St. F-X., his musical activities included managing the school's campus radio station, booking bands, and writing reviews for the student papers. That same year, he helped launch the Evolve Festival with a group of friends, and booking acts for Evolve led to working with them in other markets as well. After graduation, Jay took a position with Ardenne International in Halifax, mentoring with Michael Ardenne who was responsible for booking and management of some of Halifax's highest-profile events.

Relocating to Toronto in 2003, Jay became the booking agent for the legendary El Mocambo and has gone on to produce events at all major venues in Toronto and across Canada through his company Nufunk Concerts. Jay is known as a passionate, hard-working and savvy promoter with a keen ear for cutting-edge jazz, funk, worldbeat, reggae and indie rock talent. His skills in new media and online marketing are particularly respected sought after; and his networking talents have allowed Jay to build a network of relationships and contacts with booking agents, managers, musicians, DJs, labels promoters, sponsors and brands and media across the globe. More recently, Jay has expanded his reputation to include artistic direction and curating through his annual NuJazz Festival, which recently celebrated its milestone 5th anniversary and is supported by numerous government arts funding agencies.

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