John Hughes has unsurpassed experience of the music industry from all levels, having had an illustrious career in the music
industry spanning three decades.
His entire working life has been in the music business, first as a musician, achieving a US Top 50 album with his band Minor Detail on PolyGram US (now Universal), and latterly as a businessman.
After serving as Musical Director for ‘The Commitments’, a huge success for director Alan Parker (‘Mississippi Burning’, ‘The Wall’ and many others), John devoted himself to managing The Corrs, but concurrently he was composing for his own album. In between Corrs’ tours and albums, John would be recording various tracks of his own, the culmination of which was his solo album ‘Wild Ocean’. Predominantly instrumental, it features Irish legends The Chieftains, and of course The Corrs, but also showcased a new talent on two tracks: Tara Blaise.
John collaborated with Tara on two songs and Spokes celebrated its launch with its first signing. Having grown up in Ireland, Tara is now based in London, and saw the release of her debut album ‘Dancing On Tables Barefoot’ receive 5-Star reviews. The album was co-written by Tara and John Hughes and was produced by Corrs producer Olle Romo.
John’s vision of an International label with an Irish flavour then expanded to include a left-field release. The CD by the cistercian Monks of Roscrea came from nowhere to be certified Gold in Ireland within weeks of its release. Discovering a kindred spirit in Mark Edwards, a devotee of lo-fi ambient instrumental music, John signed him, and the album ‘Balance’ had a warm reception on its release.
Looking to the mainstream, the next two releases have much crossover potential: The Brilliant Things, an irreverent synth-pop duo recalling a Eurhythmics/ Kirsty MacColl hybrid, and the second album from Tara Blaise, ‘Breathe’.
Tara retained the services of Corrs’ producer Olle Romo, but managed to persuade Olle’s colleague, hit machine Mutt Lange, to produce the opening track, his first production since those with his wife Shania Twain. Producer of the biggest-selling albums for AC/DC, Foreigner, Def Leppard, and Bryan Adams, Mutt met John Hughes when he co-wrote and produced the Corrs’ first UK No. 1 ‘Breathless’ and they have stayed in touch ever since.
Just in the immediate future, John has pulled off another coup by involving Nelson Mandela in John’s next musical opus, a song cycle entitled ‘The Mandela Suite’. Nelson Mandela reciting his own tribute to music opens the album, which is a progression from ‘Wild Ocean’ (itself to be re-released in 2009 in an updated package including a DVD).
‘‘The Mandela Suite’ promises to be a much-lauded release, destined to cross musical boundaries in the manner of Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’.
Finally, the spirit of Pop Punk lives on in the Avril Lavigne-esque Marie Jr., whose ‘I Love A Millionaire’ cracked the Irish Top 40 last year. An album is to follow in 2009.
The sheer diversity of the Spokes signings reflects John Hughes’ all-embracing vision of a label not bounded by rules, that allows all areas of music appreciation to be reached.