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Artist of the Week – Simon Britton

April 30, 2012 by · 1 comment

Interview by Dessislava Berndt with record producer, songwriter and actor Simon Britton

Simon Britton is an Emmy and British Television Awards winner. He has sold more than 50 million singles as musician, producer and songwriter worldwide.

He is one half of the Red Rhythm remix, production and writing team having worked with artists like Ashanti, Aaliyah, Sting, Liberty X, Run DMC, Sean Paul, Leona Lewis, D Side, Boyz II Men, Kool & The Gang and others. Simon won the British Television Advertising Awards for Best Use of Recorded Music in the PUMA “Hardchorus”.

His Film & Television Roles include “The Commander”, “Prime Suspect”, “Eastenders”, “The Last Quarter”, “Dumar”, “Troubled” and the Award Winning “Throw Of A Dice”.

He modeled for Photographic Advertising Campaigns for Benetton, Jean Paul Gaultier, Dexter Wong and L’Oréal and played in several Commercials and Advertising Campaigns. He featured in the NBC America/Bravo TV Show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy that was broadcast in over 100 countries and went on to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program.

He works with students in the Dance & Music Department of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) of Sir Paul McCartney.

Simon, how was the filming few days ago?

Filming was fantastic. I died at the end. Wait, I think I died but maybe I survived. I play there a really nasty gangster, a really horrible man. Most of the Time I play the Bad Guy but that is nice.

05_Simon & Joker 1
Simon Britton & Joker

You are song writer, producer and actor. Where do you feel better: on stage or in the studio?

As I was young I was actually first a singer. I was a child pop star. I like producing, recording and writing with big stars but filming is like putting on the show. It is nice to do both. I like them equally. Maybe I am well-known and famous for producing but when you act it is so much fun because you play different characters.

Simon Britton - Alien - Deadly Returns
Simon Britton in “Alien – Deadly Returns”

What is the source of your inspiration?

My background as a child was not particularly happy. I didn’t have a good childhood with family and friends. I said to myself I just want to work really really hard and I started writing songs as a kind of life story… to help I guess.

04_Red Rhythm 2010 Record Awards
Red Rhythm 2010 Record Awards

I am just so lucky to be able to do the career that I am doing. I do work hard but I think sometimes I have to pinch myself. I think it is a dream. Every day I say to myself I am very lucky but to continue to be successful I work hard every day. I get up at 6:30 and then I am in a studio or on the film set. Many people have to work so hard, e.g. on building sites. But if you work in something you like it is not a work. And this is my job.

Michelle Williams & Simon
Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child & Simon Britton

I never did this career for money. I did music because I love it and because the passion is there. And if you believe and love in what you do then hopefully you can make a living and you can pay the bills. And in show business there are people who worked in restrooms, done waitressing, washing dishes or working in a ware house. Everybody I know whether Annie Lennox or Sting or some American artists had to do jobs, working in an office until they mutually can give up when they have money coming in.

12 Cliff, Mel C & Simon at RAK Studios
Cliff Randall, Mel C & Simon Britton at RAK Studios

What was the most surprising experience working with other artists?

08_Simon Britton & Sir Paul McCartney
Simon Britton & Sir Paul McCartney

There are many. But there is one thing I have learned. I know Sir Paul McCartney, the Beatle. He is maybe one of the most successful musicians on the planet, but he is a real person. I think that sometimes the public doesn’t see the real person, but only the super star.

06_Simon & Kimberly Wyatt of Pussycat Dolls 2
Simon Britton & Kimberly Wyatt of Pussycat Dolls

When I work with celebrities I see them without make up. When I worked with the Pussycat Dolls they came to the studio with jogging bottoms and trainers. Very often the cameras and the videos make them super stars. But actually they are people like you and me. It is amazing you can take a local girl and you can spend 100 000 pounds and then she can look like Beyonce. The biggest stars until you work with them are the most normal people.

03_Jermaine Jackson & Simon
Jermaine Jackson & Simon Britton

And the other thing is without mentioning names that some big stars I have worked with are really not so good singers as they seem. We have to put the vocal down and they sing on top and then we have to use also auto tune to make everything sound good. Many singers which are very successful are really not great singers.

Do you know something about Bulgaria? Have you ever been there?

I have been in Bulgaria twice. I go skiing in a place called Borovez. Normally I land in Plovdiv. And both times I’ve gone to Sofia, a beautiful city. I come normally in winter because I think Bulgaria is the best skiing place in Europe. Everybody goes to France, Switzerland and Austria but there are too many people. Bulgaria and Romania are a secret. It is beautiful and less commercial and more natural, not touched.

You play in the new video of Dessy Tenekedjieva “Everybody”. How was the filming with Dessy?

I met Dessy two years ago. Dessy is incredible. She is a very strong business woman. She reminds me of Madonna. She is like the European equivalent of Madonna, very strong and powerful. She knows what she wants. She is beautiful. She is a good actor also. She is so strong even though she has had a tragedy in her life.

When she came to London she knew in her mind exactly how the video should be. I didn’t realize that the video would be so good. And now I want to tell everybody about it. It is a great song, very cool. I am proud to be in a video and the animation is also great.

Hopefully I can fly some day over to play on stage with Dessy. But first I have to go to America. But maybe this year I will come anyway. I definitely will talk to Dessy to see if it is possible to come to Bulgaria.


Would you please tell us something about your current and future projects?

My next project is with a huge TV and music star, Peter Andre. I am producing him. He is going to do a huge tour in October and November. We will start recording next month in Los Angeles and also Mallorca. One of my co-producers has a wonderful studio in Mallorca. It is nicer to record in Mallorca then in London. Because you have the sea and the sun, it is nice to be inspired to write in a nice place. In Los Angeles we will work with some other big stars. That will take up the most of the next 3-4 months.

07_Simon & Wil Johnson
Simon Britton & Wil Johnson

I am also in two films. Both will be released in October. In “Dumar”, I play a very corrupt investment banker. In August and September I have to do promotion for the film, do interviews and go to different events.

12 Wil Johnson, Chaand and Simon Win at BAFTA 1
Wil Johnson, Chaand and Simon Britton at BAFTA

The other film “Throw of a dice” won the ‘Audience Award’ at the London Asian Film Festival 2012 which was presented at the awards ceremony at Bafta. Wil Johnson, my co-actor is an Oscar and Golden Globe winner and it is a great talent. I play Dr. Gould, a doctor who changes the course of nature with science.

13 iDJ-Simon10

What are your dreams?

I love flying. I flew on the last flight of Concord. I want to go up into space. Richard Branson is developing a space shuttle for the tourist and I just want to see the world from the space. It is very expensive, I think it is about 200 000 US-Dollars.

09 Front Cover My Trinity High Res

But I am living the dream all the time. I am lucky to be in film, to be able to call Janet Jackson when I am going for a glass wine in LA.

How is London now? Are you looking for the Olympic Games?

The city is organized. The stadium is built and the whole country is excited. But we are so paranoid with security. The security is going to be huge. We hope everything will be going well.

02_Jay Sean & Simon
Jay Sean & Simon Britton

What is the most important thing you would like people to know about you?

Because I came from very working class background with no privilege or not too much opportunity people should know that if you really work hard anything is possible. It is important that you never give up and you follow your dreams. 5-6 years I have nothing. I’ve got rejected from record companies. I came to London, sleeping in rough places, in the back of a car sometimes. And then you get a recording contract, have a hit and everybody wants to know you. But you have to stay real and always remember your old friends. My friends are not in a show business. Some of them work in an office, or are managers of clothing stores.

Never give up – that would be me.

10 Simon Britton iDJ CCP

Who or what influences your personality?

The Person I really admired was and still is, Steve Jobs. I think he is one of the visionary people in our time. One of my heroes is the singer of The Human League. I am also a big fan of Clive Davis who discovered Whitney Houston.

11 Simon Performing at ESKA 2
Simon Britton performing at ESKA

What is your biggest challenge as an artist?

As an artist you are never really happy with your own work. You are your own worst critic. Sometimes I have to do records to follow the market. And then everything sounds the same. That’s why I like the song of Dessy very much. It reminds me of Massive Attack, very cool.

05_Shereen Walker, Simon & Sacha Brooks
Shereen Walker, Simon Britton & Sacha Brooks

I think also that if everybody is respectful to each other the world would be better.

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