Local leads Invictus to award record

Jim Cressman's Invictus Entertainment Group and Big Star Recordings sets Canadian Country Music Awards record for most nominations.

Award-winning Penticton promoter Jim Cressman

Award-winning Penticton promoter Jim Cressman

If you’ve ever wondered how big-name artists end up in mid-sized venues and towns, you may have Invictus Entertainment Group to thank as the company makes waves and sets records in the Canadian country music industry.

Invictus Entertainment Group (IEG) is up for five Canadian Country Music Awards, marking the first time one industry organization has racked up this many nominations.

Jim Cressman, president of IEG which includes record label Big Star Recordings, is nominated for Talent Buyer/Promoter of the year, and IEG is nominated for the Booking Agency of the Year and Management Company of the Year. As well, vice president of IEG, Louis O’Reilly, is up for Record Company Person of the Year and Big Star Recordings is nominated for Record Company of the Year.

“A pretty monumental day for national recognition for our Penticton-based company and we’re quite excited about it,” Cressman said.

This isn’t the first time the business, which has been in around for three years, collected some hardware from the CCMAs. Cressman himself won the award for Talent Buyer/Promoter of the year after IEG’s first year in business. IEG won the Agency of the Year award that same year.

Cressman is a veteran of the CCMAs, this being his 15th appearance at the awards, though he still gets excited.

“I love it. I have a lot of fun at it. My role kind of started out as a fan attending and then that grew. Now we get the opportunity to applaud and cheer on our artists and also take the stage to collect our own awards at times. It’s always very flattering and it’s always great to reconnect with the community you’re proud to be a part of,” Cressman said.

Cressman didn’t get into the business for awards, but he says his success is due to his company’s philosophy.

“You never really start a company in the hopes that you’re going to receive recognition, but we’ve aligned ourselves with great artists, great partners and I’ve hired really smart people and built a great team around me,” Cressman said. “My philosophy is that if you do things with purity of intention, success just becomes a byproduct.”

IEG started out as an agency representing Canadian country music artists, and still do today, but it has grown into a full-service model for recording artists.

“Necessity is the mother of all innovation, so for us we found that we needed to get into artist management to take more control of the process to ramp up the live end of things,” Cressman said. “For me it was implementing after developing a vision for a full, 360 (degree) artist services model where we would have a label, artist management, booking and promoting. That’s where we were able to integrate and continue to grow this model.”

Aside from the artist management and promotion, IEG also fills a niche bringing acts like Motley Crue to places like Alaska, which Cressman is currently flying out to do, as well as filling up venues in secondary and tertiary markets, much like Penticton.

The CCMA awards are Sept. 13.