Artist manager and Savannah Music president Brian Ferriman died Tuesday night from complications from Lewy Body Dementia. He was 68.
Born in London, ON, he graduated with a BA in English and Drama at Western U, and, for a short period, was the keyboard player, background singer and bandleader for hometown band Every One Of Us.
Perhaps best known as the manager behind Canadian Country Music Hall of Famer Michelle Wright, Ferriman was with her from her early days and was instrumental in making her a national star over the 28 years they worked together. Wright has charted more than 50 singles in Canada and earned best-selling albums on the Savannah, Arista/BMG and Icon labels. Her signature hit, “Take It Like A Man,” was a Top 10 country hit in the U.S. in 1992.
Over the years, his management arm has also worked with Terry Sumsion, Terry Carisse, The Good Brothers, Gary Fjellgaard, Anita Perras & Tim Taylor, and Matt Minglewood–all of whom released recordings on his Savannah Records imprint.
Ferriman’s success at the managerial level would result in him being named CCMA’s Manager of the Year on eight occasions, and Record Industry Person of the Year four times. Additionally, Savannah won the CCMA Record Company of the Year in 1997 and the CCMA Publisher of the Year award in 1990. In 2008, he was inducted into the CCMA's Hall of Fame. He also contributed his expertise and time to industry endeavours, including positions on the Board of Directors of the CIRPA, CARAS, and the CMA.
On a personal note, Brian in some fashion reminded me of James Stewart's lead role in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. In public, he was reserved and ever businesslike. There was also a kindness evident in the way he talked with people and, tellingly, his personal life he was all about family. The loyalty he shared with his artists was exceptional, and his dedication to all of his projects was unreserved. His presence in the business will be sadly missed.
On her Facebook page this week, Wright states: “We will be organizing a Celebration of Life for Brian in January. I will let his friends who are on Facebook know the details once we have it all organized. I love you, and I will miss you, Brian.”