Brian Higgins (producer)
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Brian Thomas Higgins (born 1966) is a British record producer, who has written and produced albums and tracks for several successful pop music singers and groups, most notably Girls Aloud, The Wanted and The Saturdays, through his Xenomania production group. A key collaborator with Higgins is Miranda Cooper, who shares co-writing credits in nearly all Xenomania-written tracks.
His musical style has been described as part electro, part power pop, more basic pop, with elements of new wave, rave, and dance found in many of his collaborations in the more than 15 years he has been in the music industry.
Higgins hails from Whitehaven, Cumbria, on the edge of the Lake District of the UK. The second eldest of 5 children, his father was a general practitioner. Influenced by the band ®tm (Registered Trade Mark) in the early eighties, he then played keyboards in a band called Despatch, including former members of ®tm.
In the late eighties, he moved to East Grinstead, West Sussex. Along with fellow Cumbrian and guitarist Dave Colquhoun they formed a band named Anything You Want with Mark Scott. Dave Colquhoun soon left the band and now plays guitar with Rick Wakeman of Yes fame. Scott and Higgins continued and had one release with Profile Records. They wrote countless songs for some eight years including the original Believe song that went on to be the massive hit for Cher. Scott introduced Higgins to Steve Rodway (also known as Motiv8) who took on Higgins as a session musician. Higgins then co-wrote and co-produced the hit 1997 song, 'All I Wanna Do' for Dannii Minogue. Two of his collaborators on this early hit, Tim Powell and Matt Gray, would become important future members of Xenomania.
His success with 'All I Wanna Do' led to an opportunity to co-write a song for Cher. This led to the international number one hit, 'Believe,' which was released in 1998. Once again, Powell and Gray were among his collaborators.
He has said that his sometimes wide musical tastes growing up, from punk rock groups like the Buzzcocks and the Sex Pistols, to more electronic-based groups like Depeche Mode and New Order, have informed his distinct musical style as the main producer behind Xenomania. "It's natural", he has said, "for me to look for combinations of both in the music Xenomania creates."
In 2000, Higgins and Gray produced a single for London Records with the singer, Miranda Cooper (a.k.a. Moonbaby). Although the song did not become a hit, Ms. Cooper's unique lyric writing talents would become a key part of Xenomania.
Complications resulted from the late nineties sale of London Records to Universal Music Group. Eventually, Xenomania became an independent production company based in Kent, where Higgins, Cooper, and the rest of the Xenomania production team currently reside.
"He thinks everyone's got at least one number one hit in them,'" says Cooper, his long-time writing partner, in a 2004 Observer Music Monthly article. Higgins goes on to clarify: 'Music is a fundamental human need. Well, maybe not as necessary as water, but there's a natural tendency towards melody and rhythm in everybody. It's just a question of bringing it out."
Artists that Higgins has produced and/or written with/for include Pet Shop Boys, Sugababes, Dannii Minogue, The Saturdays, Girls Aloud, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Kylie Minogue, Bananarama, Alesha Dixon, Texas, Rachel Stevens, Gabriella Cilmi, and Saint Etienne, among others.
- ^ BBC Interview Mark Savage. "The Hitmakers: Xenomania." BBC website. May 2005.
- ^ Slate.com Elisabeth Vincintelli. "Originality, Inc. - The Songwriting Factories of Europe."Slate Music Box. August 2005
- ^ The Guardian Alexis Petridis. "Girls Aloud, What Will The Neighbours Say?" Review. May 2004.