We caught up with our Guest Scout Craig from Polydor Records for a chat. Read below to find out what he had to say, and get an idea of what kind of artists he’s on the look out for, it could improve your chances!
Don’t forget, you only have until the 19th December to push to Craig and the other guest scouts as part of our Sound Advice month so don’t miss out!
SU: What was the first record you bought?
Craig: “Who Let the Dogs Out” by Baha Men (single) / “Suedehead – Best of Morrissey” (Album).
SU: Which song is your guilty pleasure?
Craig: Haha… “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry.
SU: So what are you listening to right now?
Craig: Right now it’s “Colouring Book” by Chance the Rapper, so good.
SU: What gets you excited about an artist?
Craig: A voice that’s unquestionable, a true spirit and a song with great sentiment.
SU: Right now, what are you working on at Polydor?
Craig: At the moment I’m working on Mabel, Fickle Friends and Maggie Rogers.
SU: So far in your career, what would you say is your proudest achievement?
Craig: Seeing the 1975 boys get a no.1 US album!
SU: What’s the best thing about working at Polydor?
Craig: Being able to have a job doing what I love is generally the best thing. Beats making signs with my uncle hands down.
SU: Which song kickstarts your day?
Craig: “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke.
SU: The one artist you wish you could have signed is?
Craig: The Beatles (obviously).
SU: What’s the average day to day like being an A&R at Polydor?
Craig: Scrambling around trying to find something incredible! A hell of a lot of listening and meeting various industry folk.
SU: What is the biggest hurdle facing unsigned artists at the moment in your opinion?
Craig: The public don’t settle for a 7/10 song any more. Attention spans have shortened and I think an artist has to really have a song with great melody, immediacy and lyrics to really cut through. Either that or you have to be causing a disruption in the system like Chance the Rapper. But those characters come around very rarely.
SU: And the biggest mistake that artists commonly make?
Craig: Chasing a record deal rather than chasing a fan base. If you’re good enough, the labels will find you.
SU: How did you get your start in music?
Craig: Through an equal measure of luck and hustle. Starting as a session guitarist, then as a studio engineer, meeting A&R guys through the studio and then recommending them artists that they wanted to sign. That and working for free a lot to keep my face constantly in their sights!