Colin Lester

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Colin Lester
Colin Lester - British music manager
Colin Lester - British music manager
Background information
Birth nameColin Lester
Born (1960-05-26) 26 May 1960 (age 62)
OriginLondon, England
GenresR&B, pop, rock
Occupation(s)Artist manager
Years active1979–present

Colin Lester (born 26 May 1960 in London) is a British artist manager of R&B, pop and rock music acts.

Colin Lester has managed the careers for numerous British and international artists. He was awarded 'The Peter Grant Award' for outstanding achievement from the United Kingdom's Music Manager Forum in 2002.[citation needed]

In 2007, Lester was awarded the prestigious 'Gold Badge Award' by BASCA (The British Academy of Songwriters and Composers Association) for his work with UK songwriters. The following year, in 2008, Lester was made a 'Visiting Fellow' of Southampton Solent University where he also lectures on topics of the 'Music Industry'.[citation needed]

Lester owned a significant stake in the recording company Wildstar Records for which he also acted as co-director and co-owned artist management Wildlife Entertainment.[1]

Professional life[edit]


Lester began his career in the music business as a guitarist with London glam rock outfit, The Eyes.[citation needed] At the age of 19, Lester and The Eyes signed their first recording contract in 1979 with Don Arden's Jet Records.[citation needed] Following the demise of The Eyes two years later, Lester entered artist management.[citation needed] His first major signing was the UK indie band Daisy Chainsaw followed by signings of singer/songwriter Martyn Joseph and Manchester duo, JJ, both of whom he negotiated recording contracts for with CBS Records, now known as Sony Records.[citation needed]

In 1994, Lester joined the management company Wildlife Entertainment in partnership with Ian McAndrew (who had previously managed Tasmin Archer and Bomb the Bass) to manage London funksters, The Brand New Heavies.[citation needed] Under Wildlife's guidance, The Brand New Heavies produced their album, Brother Sister which achieved multi-platinum success around the world.[citation needed] Wildlife Entertainment also managed Carleen Anderson who followed her success with the Young Disciples with an acclaimed solo career.[citation needed]

In 1996, Wildlife Entertainment took charge of the career of Scottish four-piece Travis who signed to Andy MacDonald's Independiente Records after the release of their debut album.[citation needed] Travis' second album, The Man Who was released in 1999 and established Travis as one of the biggest selling UK acts between 1999 and 2002.[citation needed] In 1997, Lester, together with McAndrew, formed the UK record label Wildstar Records in partnership with Capital Radio and Telstar Records.[citation needed] Wildstar Records enjoyed immediate success with South London soul singer Conner Reeves, before scoring top 5 hits with Lutricia McNeal, Alda and Fierce.[citation needed]

In 1999, Lester discovered and signed 18-year-old Craig David.[citation needed] His Wildstar debut, "Fill Me In" made Craig David the youngest male solo artist ever to achieve a number one single,[citation needed] and his subsequent hits, "7 Days" and "Walking Away", boosted sales of David's debut album, Born to Do It to over 7 million copies including 1.8 million sales in North America.[citation needed] To date, Craig David, under Lester's management, has sold in excess of 13 million records.[citation needed] In 2003, Lester and McAndrew, in partnership with Geoff Barradale, signed Sheffield four-piece Arctic Monkeys.[citation needed] Their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not was released in January 2006, and was the biggest selling debut album by a band in the UK of all time.[citation needed] It entered the UK charts at #1 where it remained for 5 weeks and has so far sold in excess of 2 million copies around the world.[citation needed]

In 2010, Lester merged his company CLM Entertainment with Twenty First Artists and was subsequently appointed Global Chief Executive Officer.[2] Twenty-First Artists was originally launched in 2000 and has represented artists such as Elton John, Jamiroquai, James Blunt and Lily Allen among many others.[citation needed] The company was sold to The Sanctuary Music Group in 2005 and was subsequently acquired by Universal Music Group in 2007.[citation needed]


In addition to his role as CEO/Chairman of JEM, Colin has been awarded many awards throughout his career including an Honorary Doctorate from Southampton Solent University where he is a regular lecturer. He was awarded 'The Peter Grant Award' for outstanding achievement from the UK's Music Manager Forum in 2002, the Gold Badge Award' by BASCA (The British Academy of Songwriters and Composers Association) for his work with UK songwriters in 2007 and the 'Artist Loyalty Award' for his longstanding relationship with Craig David at the 2016 A&R awards. He is also on the board of trustees for the MOBO Charity (Music of Black Origin) and is also on the committee of the Holocaust charity 'The 45 Aid Society' where he annually raises funds for worthy community and aid projects on their behalf.[3]


On 30 December 2020, Lester was announced on the Queen's New Year Honours List to receive an OBE in recognition of his services to the music industry and to charity.[4]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "MANAGERS NEED TO MOTIVATE ARTISTS. BUT WE ALSO NEED ARTISTS TO MOTIVATE US.'". Music Business World Wide. MBWW. 28 February 2017. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Universal Republic Ventures into Producer Management with Twenty First Artists, Worlds End (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Hollywood Reporter. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Craig David praises long-time manager and friend after stellar comeback year". Daily Echo UK. Daily Echo UK. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Craig David and Colin Lester named in New Year Honours List". Music Week. Music Week. Retrieved 30 December 2020.