Nigel Harding - What do you look for in an artist?


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Last week I asked Nigel Harding, our VP of Global Artist Marketing, what does he look for in an artist, and here is what he had to share with us:

It doesn’t matter in what genre an artist performs, the first thing I listen out for is melody. That’s what I enjoy most about music: hearing a catchy tune that gets stuck in my head, experiencing that moment when I can’t help but sing along, feeling my mood lift with a perfect chord change.

The second thing is the voice, I prefer a great vocalist over a great singer. A great singer might be able to hit all the notes but a great vocalist brings something else: emotion, attitude, personality, nuance and expression. I always want to feel something when I hear someone sing.

While even dumb lyrics can sound good if they are sung well, the ability to write clever or surprising lyrics can make the difference between an artist being good or great. So many songs have been written that it’s easy to fall into cliché - artists that can find an original way to express themselves keep music fresh.

Finally there is X-factor, the intangible quality that makes someone a star. It is by its very nature hard to identify, but you know it when you see it. Musical ability alone is not enough - we need artists to be charismatic, beguiling and larger than life.


What you look for when discovering new artists? Do you give more importance to the melody or the lyrics? Who is the latest artist you discovered?

6 replies

Userlevel 6
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For me it's more about how the lyrics resonate with me... if the tune is catchy, it's an added bonus for sure 😁

What about you @oldrecord @Rob Igo @Noam Asulin @Rafael. @Rudi ?
Userlevel 7
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Being a musician myself I definitely get caught by the melody, some kind of inspiration. I agree with Nigel about the difference between vocalist and singer. I've heard so many amazing singers, but after awhile I just find it soulless and if they don't bring anything else such as genuine emotions and charisma, I won't listen to them again.
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Yeah, that's a good point @Rafael. I do believe Nigel is pretty right there as well because it doesn't matter is the melody is catchy, if the artist isn't pulling it off completely you can just say "Thank u, next" 😂
Userlevel 7
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I get what you guys are saying and Nigel explained it really well. For me an artist is the intent behind their art. It's what they're trying to express as a sensorial experience that catches me. I believe that an artist leaves an imprint that makes humanity more pleasant 🤘🏼
Userlevel 7
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I agree with what Nigel said. Personally I find lots of great songs/tunes that stick in my head but when I then explore the artists other work there's nothing else like it - just a one catchy song for me. However... sometimes you do listen to more tracks and they also grab your attention (and get hearted/added to favourites) - that's when you know you've found a great artist 🙂
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You're right @Rob Igo we can make some interesting discoveries by giving an artist their chance 😃

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