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Friday 19 February 2016

Craig David's Musical Success

Craig David is busier than ever; hitting the headlines, planning to release his sixth album next month, selling out concerts and headlining festivals – including this year’s Common People in his hometown of Southampton.

Despite this, Craig, who was awarded an honorary doctorate in music by Solent in 2008, found time to send a video message to the University’s students with some great advice for those wanting a career in music.

We also managed to grab Craig’s manager, Colin Lester, for his advice on becoming a success in the music business. Colin, who was also awarded an honorary doctorate in music by Solent in 2013, is a regular guest speaker at the University. He had this advice to share:

How difficult is it to break into the music industry?

Anyone who wants to work in the industry can do so with perseverance and enthusiasm. However, being successful is a totally different thing and requires knowledge and understanding. In order to be a success, it’s all down to the level of talent you work with and yours and their aspirations and ambition. You also need passion, good ears, a good nose for sniffing out that talent, and also to understand what meaningful advice is.

You manage Craig David who was featured on the live lounge last week. Some media are calling this a comeback, what would you say to that?

Craig never went away, not in management and artistic terms anyway! If songs are the currency of the music business, you are only ever three minutes away from a hit! He has continued to perform, write and record music and remains enthusiastic and optimistic. Cream always rises to the top but you need to boil the water first! Craig’s done that and now he needs to bake an amazing cake to go with the coffee!

What are some of the exciting plans ahead for Craig?

Festivals, touring, recording and writing – and of course launch of the new album set for release in March 2016.

How can our students get ready for a career in the industry?

It’s important to realise that there is a massive difference between learning about the industry in a classroom and actually going out there and working in it. A university degree will give you a foundation of what it’s about but it’s vital that you’re out there, getting internships and finding artists to work with. Anyone who comes to my office with a CV that just has a music business degree, wouldn’t necessarily get a job. You need to show that you’ve been proactive and that you have a real love for music. In the music business you can’t talk it, you need to play it and that tells me a lot about who you are and what tastes you have.

How do you use your experience to help artists?

I try to ensure that the artists enjoy what they’re doing with integrity and vision and remain focused on the job required of them. I’ve seen it many times throughout the years, artists get distracted by the business side of things and start worrying about record labels and chart positions – they suffer creatively and then worry! That’s my job!

The artists’ job is to focus on being in a mind-set where they can write and record the best possible songs. Ours is to create the environment for them to do that without distraction. I don’t record or write in their studio and I expect them to stay out of my kitchen! That doesn’t mean they don’t know exactly what’s going on with their career on the business and all sides, it’s very important that they do, however it’s my job as a manager to decide when the right time is to give them that information so they are not distracted from their real job – making the sun shine! That ignites everything and the rest is hopefully easy from there!