Nashville Music Industry Veteran Mike Owens Passes

Mike Owens

Beloved music industry Radio Promotion and A&R professional Mike Owens passed away suddenly on Sunday evening, Sept. 2, from a massive heart attack at age 53. A longtime member of the music industry, he most recently served as VP Creative at Sea Gayle Music.

An admired and respected music industry veteran, Owens first began his career working in radio when he was a teenager in Oklahoma. He became Music Director for powerhouse station KXXY in Oklahoma City, where he was discovered and hired in 1989 by the newly-formed country label Arista Nashville. He served as part of their flagship radio promotion team, where he worked for 11 years. Because of his natural instinct for picking hit songs, Owens was later hired as Vice President of A&R for Universal South Records where he worked for five years, and most recently served for six years as Vice President of Creative for Sea Gayle Music. During the course of his long and celebrated time in the music industry, Owens contributed to the careers of some of country music’s biggest superstars.

“Mike’s passion for songs and knowledge of the music business was unparalleled,” says Chris DuBois, Owner/Managing Partner, Sea Gayle Music. “His career impacted more songwriters, recording artists and industry executives than I could possibly count. Most importantly, he was one of the finest human beings that I have ever known. He will be greatly missed in this community.”

“When I hired Mike I realized that he had a world of knowledge about country music from his years at radio and his absolute love of the format,” says Tim DuBois, Former President, Arista Nashville. “His passion for songs and songwriters made him ideally suited to make the transition from promoting hit records to finding great songs for great artists. He was not only my employee but one of my dearest friends.”

Music For Mike, a benefit concert previously announced and scheduled for Sept. 25 at War Memorial Auditorium, is moving forward as planned. Proceeds will go to the Mike Owens Family Trust. Current and former Arista Nashville artists set to take the stage that night include recent Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Alan Jackson, superstar duo Brooks & Dunn, and critically acclaimed entertainer Brad Paisley, along with Blackhawk, Diamond Rio, Lee Roy Parnell, Pam Tillis, Phil Vassar and Steve Wariner. Backing this line-up is veteran touring band, Sixwire.

Click here to purchase tickets. Donations to the family’s GoFundMe page can be made here.

In 2014, Owens was diagnosed with end stage renal disease and had been placed on dialysis awaiting a donor kidney. His treatment had led to other health issues and mounting medical bills.

He is survived by his wife Radeana Menhusen Owens and their daughter Savannah.

Services were held on Thursday, Sept. 6 at West End United Methodist Church located at 2200 West End Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee. Visitation was from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m., with the service beginning at 12 p.m.

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Sherod Robertson is President and Owner of MusicRow Enterprises. He oversees all operations and develops strategic initiatives for MusicRow magazine, RowFax, and MusicRow's CountryBreakout chart. Robertson previously served as Director of Finance of Arista Records after beginning his career as Vice President of Finance and CFO at Reunion Records.

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