Thu 16 Jul 2020 18:00

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Colin Lester is the CEO of JEM Music Group and has made a habit of upsetting the odds in the music business’s Premier League and is, of course, best known for discovering and managing JLGB’s favourite R&B singer, Craig David!

Born Colin Lester Balsam and raised in London, he is a second-generation Holocaust Survivor, his father, Harry, one of ‘The Boys’ brought to England after the war.

He switched to his middle name while pursuing a career as a guitarist with glam rock band The Eyes, when Don Arden – head of The Eyes’ label Jet Records – told him he didn’t sound enough like a pop star. 

The Eyes never saw success and, disillusioned with music in the early ‘80s, Colin drifted into producing demos for EMI. Then when someone asked him if he could recruit an engineer for a job, he lined up a friend, earned his first commission and decided management was where it was at.

After a string of impressive signings, such as Daisy Chainsaw and Martyn Joseph, in 1994, Lester joined Wildlife Entertainment to manage The Brand New Heavies, who achieved multi-platinum success! 

Together with his partner from Wildlife, in 1997, Colin formed the UK record label Wildstar Records and enjoyed immediate success with Connor Reeves. For most of us, however, it was the move in 1999 to discover and sign a young boy from Southampton called Craig David, that shows us Colin’s incredible eye for talent. 

After signing him to the label, the two formed a close bond and in time, Colin also became Craig David’s manager and close friend, going as far as to move close to Craig in Miami when the star moved out there. 

Going on to sign the Arctic Monkeys in 2003, launch the JEM entertainment group that also manages Britain’s Got Talent winners Attraction, and to oversee Craig David’s comeback with TS5, Colin has had an illustrious career that continues to grow today. 

We know that this pandemic has kept everyone busy, and Colin has been at the forefront of supporting not just artists… but musicians, tech staff and back stage crew during these difficult times, so we are grateful that he could find the time to speak to us today.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome tonight’s very special guest and an amazing friend to JLGB, Colin Lester! 

For over 125 years, young Jewish people have been discovering just how brilliant they can be and how they can make the world a better place through JLGB. Whether you're 8 or 18, whatever you want to be, join in and be your best self with us! 

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