The Man Behind the Music: The Early Years of Simon Fuller

In the quarter century that he has been doing what he does best, Simon Fuller has become arguably the most successful British music manager in history. He has managed everyone from the Spice Girls to David Beckham, and continues to work on creating new stars in the entertainment industry. With millions of records sold around the world and a burgeoning television franchise under his belt, Fuller has cemented his place in music history.

Simon Fuller was born on May 17, 1960 in Hastings, England. Thanks to his pilot turned teacher father, who frequently traveled to build schools in countries far and wide, Fuller lived in both Cyprus and Ghana as a young boy. Once the family settled back in Hastings, Fuller’s father became headmaster of his grammar school.

Fuller’s business sense emerged when he was still a young student at college in southern England. He got his first job working for Britain’s Chrysalis Music, where he quickly climbed the ranks to become an A&R scout, searching out new talent. It was here that he realized he had a knack for picking winners, after he bought the rights to Madonna’s first smash hit single, Holiday. It was the first major score for Fuller, who got a taste of success and decided he wanted more.

In the mid-1980s, with just three years experience under his belt, Fuller quit his job at Chrysalis and set off on his own. It was a risky decision, but one that paid off when Fuller discovered Paul Hardcastle. Hardcastle had written a song called 19, which centered on the Vietnam war. With Fuller’s help, the song became a huge hit.

Fuller knew he was on the right track to success, and there was no turning back now. He celebrated the rising popularity of his new artist by naming his young company 19. 19 Entertainment was officially launched in 1985.

Up next for Fuller was Cathy Dennis, a singer-songwriter who Fuller believed could become the next big thing. He was right. In the early 1990s, Cathy Dennis rocked the top of the charts in countries around the world. His relationship as Dennis’ manager continues to this day.

Fuller was slowly making a name for himself in the entertainment industry. Still, he was hungry for more. He wanted to find that one big artist that would solidify his reputation as a hit maker. He wanted to create not just a star, but a superstar the likes of which the music business hadn’t seen since The Beatles.

That was when he got his hands on an unknown and struggling young band called Spice. The band was made up of five young girls who as of yet, had not found their big break. “On the first day I sat down with the girls, before we had a deal, and it was agreed that we would go for it on a worldwide basis,” recalls Fuller.

It would be a life changing relationship for both the five young girls and Fuller, who were simultaneously propelled into international stardom.

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