Branding for Grammy's
Time & Location
Dead Horse Branding is teaming up with Music Expo for Branding for the Grammy’s. Melissa and Rick Caballo, founders of Dead Horse, are joined by Michael Blanton, co-founder of Songwriting University, and together they will be taking submissions from the audience and analyzing their brand on the spot. Brands from all areas will have the opportunity to submit their brand before the panel where two will be chosen to be analyzed and updated by the panel. Each brand will join the panelists and witness the pull apart, rebuild, and reshape of their image, worth thousands of dollars, in under 30 minutes. The two rebrands will be followed by a 10 minute Q&A for the audience to ask questions.
Melissa Core started out modeling for internationally acclaimed brands such as Harley Davidson, Ujena Swimwear, Toyota, and Speedy Wheels. Her responsibilities as a brand ambassador helped her understand the importance of a well-structured brand message.
Core’s passion for entrepreneurship mixed with her branding expertise led her to launch Dead Horse Branding in 2013. She took a startup company from $0 and in under 5 years to managing over $100 million of brand revenue a year. Through Dead Horse Branding, Melissa is responsible for managing all of the brand’s requirements from social media management, marketing, publicity, licensing opportunities, through to overall management.
Everything has been designed by someone; from the clothes we wear to the car we drive to the paths we walk on - everything has its creator. Rick’s eye for balance, legibility and feel crosses all platforms, whether he’s taking photographs, painting, building furniture or writing a song. Knowing where all the right pieces fit is what makes Rick a great designer across all mediums.
Head of Creative and Co-Founder of Dead Horse Branding, Rick has won two International Design Awards, one of which is for his work on iconic music producer, Tony Brown’s, book Elvis, Strait, to Jesus. Graphic Design USA Magazine also awarded Rick with two awards when he was named one of 2018’s People to Watch and earned the magazine’s award for the best brand identity-logo that he created for Steven Tyler’s solo band, Loving Mary. In 2020, Rick won an Amerian Web Design Award from Graphic Design USA for his design of the Baha Men's website. Rick is also the recipient of three New York City Big Book Awards.
Music provides a rich source of inspiration for Rick as a visual artist. As skilled with a brush as he is with a guitar, Rick is best known for his rock star portraits of such icons as Keith Richards, Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger and Bono. He’s signed to Celebrities Gallery in Maui alongside other artists including Ronnie Wood, Steven Tyler and Mick Fleetwood.
Michael Blanton, of Brentwood, Tennessee, has had a celebrated career in the national and Nashville music industry. But today finds him in all kinds of artistic and entertainment development, not limited to just artist management.
A native of Amarillo, Texas, Blanton got his start in music as an A&R representative at Word Records in Waco, Texas, moving to Nashville in 1978 to open the company’s office on Music Row. He and business partner Dan Harrell launched Blanton/Harrell Production and Management in 1980 with Amy Grant as their first client. In 1981 with friend Brown Bannister (’75), they created Reunion Records and Reunion Publishing and soon launched the careers of artists including Michael W. Smith and Rich Mullins and Wayne Kirkpatrick.
Blanton served as executive producer for some of Grant’s biggest hits, including the albums Unguarded (1985), Lead Me On (1988), and the multi-platinum Heart in Motion (1992), which sold more than ten million copies and received five Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year. He also executive produced hits for Smith including his debut, Michael W. Smith Project (1983) featuring the song “Friends,” The Big Picture (1986), i 2 (EYE) (1988) and Change Your World (1992). Blanton and Harrell worked with authors including Frank Peretti, helping him release his multi-million selling This Present Darkness in 1986 and Piercing the Darkness in 1989.
Beginning in 1997, Blanton and Harrell served as co-presidents of Gaylord’s Idea Entertainment, but in 2009 the golden franchise ended between Blanton and Harrell, and thus started the new chapter for Blanton in artist development and branding.
Currently, Blanton has partnered in the development with Songwriting University, to help support the songwriters of Nashville, and help develop new artistic talent. Also Blanton is a partner with Vertigo Media, and a new management launch called Halogen-BNA. Vertigo and Halogen will work together to build and develop new artist and songwriters thru technology and community. But not to be left out of the development lane, Blanton today is also working with new film projects, with Terry Benedict(producer of Hacksaw Ridge) and TV productions for a Texas non-profit, Heartlight and Parenting Today’s Teens. He has also joined with long-time friend Gary Glover to continue to consult on many projects in development thru a partnership called, Cyprus Creative Partners, a company to help advance all types of branding and development. Vision-casting and strategically planning whether for one-singer, or for an entire company is what we are built for.
Blanton is a member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Gospel Music Association, the Country Music Association, and the Americana Music Association, and he serves on the board of Lipscomb’s College of Entertainment and Arts. The team of Blanton & Harrell was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2017. And then in 2019 Blanton was named Outstanding Alumnus of the year for Abilene Christian University, his alma mater.