Simon Fuller is one of the smartest people I know in the entertainment world and his has been a strange and weird trip from being a junior A&amp;amp;R guy at EMI who produced “19″ for Paul Hardcastle- a very cheesy slice of Eighties’ synth pop and with those girls singing in the background adding to the cheese whiz.
One has to wonder whatever happened to Mr. Hardcastle and what the hell was the follow-up? As for Simon Fuller, he left EMI after this hit and with the few quid he made on royalties, set up his own little entertainment company called “19″.
He turned “19″ into the little company that could by managing – and mainly, marketing the hell outta the Spice Girls and all that “Girl Power” nonsense and which sponsors like Pepsi tripped over themselves to be part of and a brand that certainly helped with creating and maintaining the hype until we all had had enough of Girl Power and just “rilly rilly wanted” some personal power.
SClub7 and SClub Juniors came and went and then 19 and Simon Fuller expanded their horizons by creating “Pop Idol” and bringing British Telecom into the mix as both a sponsor and the voting mechanism for the show and taking 25% of all SMS and phone-in charges that flooded in as votes.
He then hit the Big Time, when “Idol Went To America” and with the concept including an unknown named Simon Cowell, who Executive Producer Nigel Lithgoe and Simon Fuller created as being “Mr. Nasty” and who became a mainstay of what is now “American Idol”. The rest, as they say is history, as is the relationship between the two Simons.
In the meantime, he and his 19 Entertainment signed up new artists, always kept one he has managed from Day One- the brilliant Annie Lennox- and hit the “Super Liga” when he brought David Beckham to the US to play for Galaxy, “launched” the Beckhams as celebrities in the States and now, he manages Formula One’s Lewis Hamilton along with British tennis player Andy Murray.
“19″ is now his new company X1X and this year will see much more from not-so-simple Simon- a movie with Russell Peters and Billy Crystal, more movies, a documentary about a musical icon which will be brilliant, new shows, a possible new venture/programme in China and a fierce determination to understand and create properties- relevant properties- for the digital world.
Speak to Simon Fuller and his enthusiasm- his passion and creativity and almost genteel enthusiasm – is extremely inspiring and addictive.
He, of all the people I know and have met, TOTALLY FUCKING GETS IT.
This can a be a double-edged sword to bear as so FEW totally get it: They SAY they do, but they really do not. It’s all guess work and that usual doggerel about “I thought of that in 2003″ and to which you think not-so-deep-down, “And what happened then?” Nothing, that’s what.
Today, Simon Fuller is as much a BRAND as those he has helped create and has his CHOICE of investors wishing to THROW money his way- for money from around the world.
It really has been a long, strange and weird trip from “N-n-n-n-nineteen” and Paul Hardcastle.
As mentioned, Simon Fuller is not content to sit on his arse and count his money though I am sure there are days when he does: He is out there combing Silicone Valley for new ideas, looking at lessons and a few lesions learned from his online web-TV-based, “If I Can Dream” reality show and looking at all forms of entertainment as one and with music being the one common denominator and the glue that binds.And as one “Dream” fades a new reality rises. You live and learn.
One can talk of Steve Jobs, Jon Bon Jovi can blame Jobs for him not being able to buy records anymore based on album covers, people can talk about Mark Zuckerberg, some may not know Simon Cowell from Simon Fuller- and Cowell ALWAYS gave the American media the impression that “Idol” was his- but “the Quiet Simon” simply gets things done without making a song and dance about it.
Hell, as the creator of the “Idol” juggernaut, one would think he’d be all over the show like a rash. But, no.
He has terrific respect for Ryan Seacrest- and think what you will of him, the man is the total professional- he places his confidence in Nigel Lythgoe and his team- and he is happy to juggle new deals, but mainly create new projects, all the time. And this is what I admire in the man: His ability to multi-task and not end up with the dog’s breakfast.
Sure, not everything he touches turns to gold and a few programmes have been shockers like some “World Dance Compeitiion” that was foisted on a few countries. But most work and how he takes careers and makes them into brands, takes great skill, patience and marketing chutzpah.
An “Idol”? Simon Fuller is mine- without a doubt. And, yes, if you hear sucking noises that’s me and I couldn’t give a rat’s arse who knows it.