||This biographical article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful. (October 2013)|
Colin Lester - British music manager
|Birth name||Colin Lester|
|Born||26 May 1960|
|Origin||London, United Kingdom|
|Genres||R&B, indie rock, soul, rock and roll, disco, pop, progressive rock|
|Associated acts||Craig David
The Brand New Heavies
Lester has managed the careers for numerous commercially successful British and international artists. He was awarded ‘The Peter Grant Award’ for outstanding achievement from the United Kingdom’s Music Manager Forum in 2002.
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’.
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.
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Lester began his career in the music business as a guitarist with London glam rock outfit, The Eyes. At the young age of 19, Lester and The Eyes signed their first recording contract in 1979 with Don Arden’s Jet Records. Following the demise of The Eyes two years later, Lester decided to enter into artist management. His first major signing was the alternative UK indie band Daisy Chainsaw followed by signings of singer/songwriter Martyn Joseph and Manchester duo, JJ, both of whom he successfully negotiated recording contracts for with CBS Records, now known as Sony Records.
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. Under Wildlife’s guidance, The Brand New Heavies produced their album, Brother Sister which achieved multi-platinum success around the world. Wildlife Entertainment also managed Carleen Anderson who followed her success with the Young Disciples with an acclaimed solo career.
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. 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. In 1997, Lester, together with McAndrew, formed the UK record label Wildstar Records in partnership with Capital Radio and Telstar Records. Wildstar Records enjoyed immediate success with South London soul singer Connor Reeves, before scoring top 5 hits with Lutricia McNeal, Alda and Fierce.
In 1999, Lester discovered and signed 18 year old Craig David. His Wildstar debut, "Fill Me In" made Craig David the youngest male solo artist ever to achieve a number one single, 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. To date, Craig David, under Lester’s management, has sold in excess of 13 million records. In 2003, Lester and McAndrew, in partnership with Geoff Barradale, signed Sheffield four-piece Arctic Monkeys. 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. 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.
In 2010, Lester merged his company CLM Entertainment with Twenty First Artists and was subsequently appointed Global Chief Executive Officer. 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. The company was sold to The Sanctuary Music Group in 2005 and was subsequently acquired by Universal Music Group in 2007.
Artists previously signed by Colin Lester:
- Craig David
- Arctic Monkeys
- Daisy Chainsaw
- The Brand New Heavies
- Remi Nicole
- Julian Velard
- The Peter Grant Award - 2002 - by UK Music Manager Forum
- Gold Badge Award - 2007 by BASCA (The British Academy of Songwriters and Composers Association)
- Visiting Fellow - 2008 by Southampton Solent University, UK
- Stop TB Campaign - UN Ambassador
- Official website
- Music Week Publication
- US Billboard Publication
- Southampton University News
- Interview, HitQuarters 10 December 2001