A true entrepreneur, Ron Sakamoto’s 50+ year concert portfolio bulges with tours and shows across Canada with top country artists from across the continent. From stadium tours with Keith Urban back to working with Shania Twain’s first show before becoming a world superstar, he’s played a cruicial role in the careers of countless artists. His love for Canadian country artists carries through to today in his work creating development opportunities for emerging Canadian artists, and managing multi-award winning country artists The Washboard Union.
Ron has been honoured with induction into the CCMA Hall of Fame, after receiving the CCMA ‘Talent Buyer or Promoter of the Year’ Award for 17 consecutive years, resulting in the award being re-named in his honour. In 2023 Ron was honored by the JUNO’s with the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals whose work has significantly impacted the growth and development of the Canadian music industry. Ron has also received the CCMA’s Hank Smith Award of Excellence, CMA Intl Promoter/Talent Buyer of the Year, and IEBA’s Intl Promoter/Talent Buyer of the Year and Intl Talent Buyer of the Year Award. Ron has served on the Board of Directors for both the CCMA and the CMA in Nashville, and the Board of Directors for IEBA. Ron’s career began as a teenager, expanding to start Gold & Gold Productions Ltd, a company he still operates today. Ron also started Sakamoto Agency along with partner Paul Biro in 2013, as the two share the same values and passion for Canadian music.
Paul BiroPresident and Operating Partner
As well as representing roster artists with Sakamoto Agency, which has won the Booking Agency of the Year Award at the CCMA’s three times from 2020-2022, Paul programs several major events across Canada as a senior entertainment buyer, and promotes his own shows and tours regionally. Acting as programmer or buyer, Paul has delivered artists from Willie Nelson to KISS to Tom Cochrane, and he continues to invest in relationships with artists, managers, and agencies from around the world. His focus on nurturing relationships has allowed him to build a solid foundation in the global music industry working with both domestic and international artists in the form of booking, promoting and management. Over the years Paul has worked as an agent with Patricia Conroy, Rick Tippe, Gord Bamford, Aaron Pritchett, Johnny Reid and countless others, he is passionate about art and believes strongly in the amazing talent of Canadian artists.
Paul Biro is also an active volunteer and member in his community, having participated as Vice Chair for a local arts festival, as Arts director at a church overseeing 100 volunteers and staff, as an active member of Rotary Club, and as a board member at the Summerland Chamber of Commerce. He works diligently to support his not only his local community but the greater community, as evidenced by Sakamoto Agency’s 100 Homes initiative, providing recorded concerts to care homes during the height of pandemic lockdowns. He has articulated the values and vision of Sakamoto Agency that both he and his business partner Ron Sakamoto, who Paul holds in the highest regard, live out daily. Though his passion and dedication towards music is undeniable, Paul’s foremost commitment and greatest joy comes from his relationship with his wife Sonia and his sons William and Kingston.
Joelle MaySakamoto Music – Director of Promotions & Artist Services
A devoted music-lover, Joelle May left behind the corporate professional world in 2007/2008 and started ModMay Promotions, operating as an independent publicist, executing publicity campaigns, marketing initiatives, and various management tasks for countless artists and bands from Canada, the US, UK, and Australia, as well as not-for-profit organizations, labels, conferences, festivals, and contests in both Canada and the US. Joelle has also worked in marketing and sponsorship, event management and coordination, and regularly contributes as an industry guest speaker, juror, and consultant. She has completed contracts with Folk Alliance International (5 yrs), BreakOut West, Barney Bentall & The Cariboo Express, Project WILD Country, MusicYukon, Light Organ Records, Borealis Records, Nimbus School of Recording & Media, Access to Music Foundation, Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts, Mountain View Music Fest, FolkWest (festival), and countless indie artists. Joelle is a member of Music BC, CARAS, CIMA, and CCMA, has sat as a board member for FolkWest and Folk Music Canada, and in 2016 and 2017, was nominated for Music Publicist of the Year at the Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Awards.
Starting with Sakamoto Agency in 2017, Joelle coordinated the logistics for hundreds of shows per year, and handled various promotions for artists and the agency itself. In 2022, Joelle helped launch the label division of Sakamoto Agency called Sakamoto Music, and currently operates the label and offers artist services for hire. With 15 years in the music industry in a variety of roles, Joelle is also an adept writer, having been published in several music magazines in addition to writing artist bios, press releases and her own bio in the third person.
Kate HowseLogistics Manager
Franck BoucheraudEuropean Coordinator
Known in the Canadian country scene as a Talent Buyer for the American Tours Festival in France, and producing the Canadian Music Night at the festival since 2008, Franck Boucheraud is a buyer and agent whose his history and ongoing effort in assisting the aims and initiatives of Canadian country music in an international setting is award winning. He took home the 2017 Leonard T Rambeau Award at the Canadian Country Music Awards, and in July 2018, received an honour from the Mayor of Tours, France, for the continued success of the Canadian Music Night.
Despite having spent time in the US earlier in his career, Franck focuses his efforts on elevating Canadian Music across Europe, from his home in France. In addition to becoming Sakamoto Agency’s European Coordinator, Franck also acts as an independent promoter for select artists all around Europe.