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The TED Albert Award

The Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music, 2019

The Australian Music Vault is proud to posthumously honour the achievements of this years recipient of the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music, the late Rob Potts. The Ted Albert Award is one of the nations most prestigious music awards. It is awarded annually by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) in honour of pioneering independent record producer Ted Albert, whose company, Albert Productions, was home to music icons The Easybeats, AC/DC, The Angels, Rose Tattoo and John Paul Young. Previous winners of the award include The Seekers, Ian MollyMeldrum, Fifa Riccobono, Archie Roach and Midnight Oil.

During his 30 plus years as a manager, agent and promoter, Rob Potts pioneered international country touring in Australia and launched the careers of some of Australias greatest country musicians. Born in 1952, Potts grew up in Adelaide, then Tasmania where he first began working in the music industry as a manager for local band, Sweet Poison. Relocating to Sydney in the mid-1980s, Potts landed a job booking bands at The Agency, before moving across to Premier Artists where he worked as a booking agent for iconic 1980s bands like Cold Chisel and The Angels, and venues like Blacktown RSL and Sweethearts at Cabramatta.

During the 1990s, Potts began working with a new wave of country artists who would eventually become some of the most significant country stars in Australia. A chance discovery of a talented, bottle-blonde, guitar player on television, led him to Tamworth Music Festival in pursuit of a young Keith Urban.  Potts became Urban’s agent, and began managing Lee Kernaghan, Tommy Emmanuel and Troy Cassar-Daley, eventually starting his own agency, Allied Artists.

Rob Potts and Keith Urban, Nashville, 1999

Courtesy of Jeremy Dylan and Sally Potts

Rob Potts, Lee Kernaghan, Gavin Ward and Gill Robert

Courtesy of Jeremy Dylan and Sally Potts

In the early 2000s, Potts took his first trip to Nashville, eventually spending many years there as an artist manager, festival director and concert promoter. During this time he developed a longstanding relationship with the Country Music Association (CMA). He became the first Australian-based member to sit on the CMA’s Board, and he chaired both the CMA International Committee and the CMA Australian Advisory Group, the latter of which he helped to establish in 2004. In 1997, the CMA awarded Potts the CMA SRO (Standing Room Only) Award in honour of his outstanding professional achievement within the touring industry and in 2017, he was awarded the CMA Jo Walker Meador International Award in recognition of his advocacy and support of country music’s development outside the United States.

With the establishment of his company, Entertainment Edge, in the mid-2000s, Potts opened the door for some of the biggest international country artists to perform in Australia. In 2009, he brought a pre-superstar Taylor Swift to the region, while Alan Jackson’s 2011 performance at Allphones Arena in Sydney not only sold out, but was the fastest-selling country tour in Australian history.

Matthew Lazarus-Hall, Rob Potts, Alan Jackson and Michael Chugg at Jackson's sell out show at Allphones Arena, Sydney, 2011 

Courtesy of Jeremy Dylan and Sally Potts

Other international artists toured by him include the Zac Brown Band, Brooks & Dunn, Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Dolly Parton and many others. In 2008, in collaboration with Chugg Entertainment, Potts also founded the CMC Rocks brand of festivals. Encompassing CMC Rocks The Snowys, CMC Rocks The Hunter, and CMC Rocks QLD it is now the largest international country music festival in the southern hemisphere.

In more recent times, Potts has been instrumental in developing the careers of up-and-coming Australian country music artists like Jasmine Rae who won the CMA Global Artist of The Year award in 2013. The global success of Morgan Evans, can be largely attributed to Potts who began managing the Newcastle-born singer-songwriter over a decade ago. In 2016, Evans was also named the CMA’s Global Artist of the Year and has since been signed with Warner Music Nashville.  In 2017, Potts launched FANGATE Music, in association with Sony Music Entertainment Australia, as a vehicle for developing emerging local and international country acts.

Jasmine Rae being presented with the CMA Global Artist of the Year award by The Band Perry, and Rob Potts at CMC Rocks The Hunter, 2013 

Courtesy of Jasmine Rae

Morgan Evans, Kelsea Ballerini, Brantley Gilbert, Rob Potts, Kip Moore and Lee Brice at CMC Rocks QLD, 2016 

Courtesy of Jeremy Dylan and Sally Potts

In 2017, Potts’ life was tragically cut short when he was killed in a motorcycle accident in Tasmania. Upon hearing about the loss of his mentor and manager, Evans posted:

“…the greatest gift he gave me was belief. He believed in me before anyone. He encouraged me, pushed me and lit a fire in me that will burn forever.”

It is thanks to Potts’ foresight, belief and enduring passion that we have such a thriving country music industry in Australia today.

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