Artistic Director, City Parks Foundation Summerstage
Erika Elliott, is a dedicated and creative leader in the music industry with over 15 years of experience in a variety of roles within the music industry. She currently holds the position of Artistic Director of City Parks Foundation’s hallmark performing arts festival, SummerStage.
Ms. Elliott is responsible for the overall artistic vision of SummerStage, from programming talent to developing larger thematic programs and commissions. Under her leadership, the attendance and press coverage for the entire festival has grown exponentially. The New York Times has called SummerStage “the treasure of the New York summer music season,” and The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival was named The Village Voice’s “Best of 2010 - Summer Jazz Festival.”
CPF is an independent, non-profit organization that creates vibrant and thriving communities by revitalizing neighborhood parks. CPF combines arts, sports and education programs with community-organizing to build communities throughout the five boroughs of New York City. As the largest presenter of free arts and cultural programming in New York City, SummerStage annually presents over 100 free events, featuring over 300 artists in parks throughout the five boroughs of New York City.
Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Ms. Elliott moved to New York City to pursue a career in the music industry after working in college and commercial radio. She joined Loud Records staff in 1997, working in both the marketing and promotion departments on several historic projects including the WU-Tang Clans’ The W, and Big Punisher’s debut, Capital Punishment, both albums went on to become platinum sellers. Other projects included marketing and promotion of Funkmaster Flex’s Mixtape albums, Xzibit’s debut, and Mobb Deep’s sophomore album.
Three years with the seminal hip-hop label were followed by a position as Assistant to the VP of William Morris Agency, Cara Lewis. In this role she coordinated a roster of touring artists including Eminem, Lauryn Hill, The Roots, Outkast, and Jamiroquai to name a few.
Ms. Elliott then returned to a record label, spending 2+ years in the Artist Development department of RCA Music Group and was part of breaking new artists such as Christina Aguilera and Lit, as well as working on the Foo Fighters RCA debut.
In 2001, Erika got the opportunity to return to the live music aspect of the industry, when she was offered the Talent Buyer/Director of Urban Music position at S.O.B’s, New York’s premiere World and Urban Music club. She was responsible for raising the profile of the important club, and making it “the” place to see urban music in New York. She created and developed the SOULCITY series, which launched the careers of then unsigned artists John Legend, Anthony Hamilton, Ledisi, and Kanye West. She also created Sol Village as a platform to develop and showcase talent, which continues to be a valuable performance opportunity for artists at S.O.B’s to this day.
In 2004, Ms. Elliott joined City Parks Foundation’s trademark summer performing arts series, SummerStage as Talent Buyer, where she handled the booking of all music programming for SummerStage. In 2010, she became Artistic Director of the festival, and oversees the curation of thematic programs for the festival. For the 2011 season, Ms. Elliott continues to offer New Yorkers and visitors alike the best of numerous genres of music including hip-hop, Latin, Indie rock and jazz.