Don Kaufman – President
Don Kaufman has an extensive history in the art and business sides of music – having succeeded in securing and negotiating major label deals for artists his firm represents. Deals and successful negotiations include with Warner Brothers Records, MCA, and Jive Records; with Peter Edge (CEO of RCA Music Group), Todd Ellis (Licensing Manager – Sony/ATV Music Publishing), Benny Medina (Warner Brothers). Don also worked with Sir Dean Gant (one of Madonna’s music producers) and secured an Exclusive Producer Agreement with Michael Powell for a talent Don’s firm represented (Michael Powell is also producer for Anita Baker including the “Rapture” album). Additionally, Don’s firm represented Larry Heard – world dance music legend aka Mr. Fingers. Kaufman’s firm also represented Darryl Pandy (and negotiated and signed the largest dance music single record deal of the time – released by Warner Brothers Records and reaching the top of the Billboard Dance Charts) plus secured and placed Kevin Irving as lead vocalist of the famed R&B ensemble Club Nouveau. Kaufman also negotiated directly with top entertainment attorneys including Martin Cohen in Beverly Hills, CA, Chicago’s Linda Mensch and Jay B. Ross, and numerous additional top level music industry executives in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville and in Europe.
Don Kaufman is currently President and CEO of Digital Box Records & Digital Box Entertainment, an independent label and music production company.
Don Kaufman, as President, handles all day-to-day business affairs for the company – including negotiations, Artist contracts and signings, terms and conditions, and direction for the company. Don composed and co-composed and produced the music for a series on Showtime and also served for 7 years on an Advisory Committee to the National Headquarters of N.A.R.A.S. (the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is the producer of the Grammy Awards.) For three years Don Kaufman was also on an Executive Advisory Board to the Chicago Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment Industries. Prior to Don’s involvement on the business side of music, he performed professionally as a composer and musician (drummer) for 17 years, including performing music as a livelihood and career around 40 of the states for 10 years plus 3 years full-time throughout Europe. As a Composer, Arranger, and Musician himself, Don also functions for Digital Box Records in studio as the Music Producer for several Artists on the label.
John Barbush – V.P. Marketing
John Barbush, D.L.M., Ph.D. holds two doctorates – one in Legendary Music and another in Business Administration. As a Band & Orchestra Leader and Music Director, Johnny B. has managed Bands, Orchestras, and Jazz Groups, Traveling Las Vegas-style Reviews performing Night Clubs, Resorts, and Concert Auditoriums including personally performing for famous Artists such as Frank Sinatra Jr., James Brown, Ray Charles, B.B. King, The Spinners, The Chi-Lites, Tavares, Johnny Taylor, The Staple Singers, Denise Williams, Kool and the Gang, The Ohio Players, Eddie Kendricks, Otis Clay, Howlin’ Wolf, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Mary Wells, and numerous others. He was also identified in a PBS documentary on the American Music Series: Rhythm & Blues. Accomplished as a Jazz Trombone Soloist and brass arranger, for six years John served as Music Director for internationally recognized R&B artist Tyrone Davis, with multiple Gold & Platinum Records on labels including DECCA, Checker, and Columbia. As a Producer, John is a Music Director, Choreographer, Composer, Writer, Arranger, and Producer of Live Shows and televised events, and serves as Choir Director and Orchestra Director at Festivals (up to 250 Voices & 136 piece Orchestra). Spanning his music career as a Lead Trombonist, Drummer, and Singer/Entertainer, John has produced Musical Tours across America in venues seating as many as 62,000. Tours have included New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco, San Diego, Houston, Austin, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Jackson, Biloxi, Oklahoma City, Baton Rouge, Kansas City, Boston, and Washington D.C. John has performed with Jose Feliciano and has also accompanied the legendary Armando Peraza, the last surviving member of the legendary Mambo Kings, Los Lobos, and the Grammy Award winning Los Lonely Boys and winning their Best Pop Performance called “Heaven” as Best Record of the Year 2004. Under his stage name of Johnny B. he has performed trombone duets with legendary Trombonist Bill Porter of the Harry James and Glenn Miller Orchestras. It’s from these experiences in both concert theatres and in dance ballrooms that Dr. John Barbush has formed his prized musical group Metro Star Orchestra. (www.MetroStarOrchestra.com).
Marc Berger – V.P. Business Affairs
A Doctorate in Music (Northwestern University) combined with a Juris Doctor, Marc Berger also has an impressive and prevalent history in music and practicing law as a trial litigator. Marc also performed in various bands (composer and keyboardist) and as a solo Artist and composer/musician throughout a broad spectrum of music genres – from punk, world music, rock, folk, country, fusion, to purely classical. Additionally, Berger is a composer of symphonic arrangements, various orchestral pieces suitable for mega-epic feature film-scores and television soundtracks, numerous eclectic songs for bands he has performed with, and taught ear-training, composition, and music theory at the University level (Northwestern) and at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. (Also earned a M.A. Theory and Composition, University of Chicago) Marc Berger currently serves as head of Business Affairs for Digital Box Records in addition to his role as a Digital Box Records music Producer and studio orchestral arranger and keyboardist.
Amber Koesling – Director of Social Media
Holding a Bachelor’s Degree with a concentration in Business, Amber Koesling is fascinated by the power of instant digital connection. She understands social media to be a reflection of the self that can function as a tool of accountability and inspiration. Amber comes from a background rooted in visual and musical/theatrical arts as a performer and on stage as front vocalist in rock bands, plus – playwriting for the University of Providence, producing short films, and writing and performing in the Brewery Follies (a professional comedic troupe in Virginia City, MT). Ms. Koesling continues her education in social media management by studying and analyzing a broad spectrum of digital campaigns, incorporating SEO techniques …always escalating and implementing her knowledge-base and understanding in project and operational management.
Ilona Hilgert – Promotions Director
Ilona currently serves Digital Box Records utilizing her background in promotion and public relations coordination for numerous Chicago area businesses. With experience also as lead vocalist fronting several touring bands and musical ensembles, Ilona well understands the qualities necessary to deliver a praiseworthy entertainment experience to audiences throughout a diverse spectrum of genres and styles, thus assuring her presentation of DBR artists as well-earned by the Talents she represents.