|Fate works in mysterious ways. In the mid-80s, Nigel Butler was a scenic artist working for film directors such as Stanley Kubrick and Stephen Spielberg. As he painted the backdrops for Full Metal Jacket, Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade and Baron Munchausen, he thought his future was secure in the movie industry. Little did he know that he was about to break his arm in a freak arm-wrestling accident that would end his film career and force him to find another line of work.|
|A talented multi-instrumentalist and songwriter as well as an artist, Nigel said goodbye to Pinewood Studios and started working in the music industry, forming a songwriting/production partnership in 1987 with legendary producer Ray ‘Madman’ Hedges. Working with artists such as Bros, Eartha Kitt and many others, it wasn’t long before they scored their first international hit with ‘Italo House Mix’ by Rococo.|
In the early 90s, Nigel started branching out working with artists such System 7/Steve Hillage. He also began to session more extensively; both as backing vocalist/lead vocalist for various producers/bands, TV shows and radio ads, and also programming and playing bass, guitar and keyboards for many artists including The Charlatans, Bananarama, Youth, Kris Weston (The Orb) and Nina Hagen (with whom he also co-wrote).
In the mid 90s, Nigel joined Tribal Drift with whom he toured extensively including headlining the first Glastonbury Dance Tent. The band signed to On U Sound with Adrian Sherwood and during this time he also collaborated with Adrian on a number of other projects such as Doug Wimbish’s solo album ‘Trippy Notes For Bass’.
Nigel also began to collaborate with Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music) for various artists including Nina Hagen, Monica Naranjo, and Enrique Bunbury. He had the pleasure of being introduced to Robert Wyatt who allowed him to ‘remix’ selected tracks from the album ‘Shleep’ which he was recording at Phil’s studio. While Nigel worked on these mixes, Phil and Robert together with Brian Eno and Paul Weller finished the originals in the next room.
In 1997 Nigel left Tribal Drift and joined Theaudience fronted by Sophie Ellis Bextor. Signed to Mercury Records, the band toured and promoted extensively including many TV appearances such as TFI Friday and This Morning. During this time Nigel began working with Mike Hedges on various projects such as Travis, Juniper/Damien Rice and Geneva among others.
Nigel also started working with Ray Hedges again, writing, arranging and mixing many of the top pop acts of the day such as Steps, Hearsay, Cher (with whom he also had a co-production credit), S Club 7, Emma Bunton, 3SL, Five, Ronan Keating, Chicane and many others. He continues to collaborate with Chicane co-writing and co-producing – amongst these collaborations was the 2006 track ‘Stoned In Love’ featuring Tom Jones.
In the late 90s, Nigel was asked by his good friend and former Tribal Drift bandmate Duncan Bridgeman to work on his 1 Giant Leap project. Nigel’s input included some co-writing, post-production, programming, mixing, playing various instruments and singing backing vocals. The first track he co-wrote with 1 Giant Leap was ‘My Culture’ featuring Robbie Williams and Maxi Jazz which became a UK top ten hit. Over the course of the two 1 Giant Leap albums/films some of the many music collaborations included Michael Stipe, KD Lang, Alanis Morissette, Carlos Santana, Will Young and Daniel Lanois.
Over the following years, Nigel appeared on several TV shows together with Ray Hedges as ‘the music producers’- these included Pop Stars (BBC 1), No Talent Required (ITV), Rock School with Gene Simmons (Channel 4), and The X Factor (ITV). After appearing on Rock School, Nigel and Ray formed a joint venture with RDF TV where they signed Lil’ Chris, releasing the album through RCA. Nigel co-wrote, co-produced, mixed and played all the instruments on the album which included the UK #3 hit ‘Checkin’ It Out’.
In 2010 Nigel co-wrote and co-produced the theme tunes and incidentals for the National Television Awards (ITV) and the National Movie Awards (ITV) as well as acting as Music Consultant where he co-produced the opening song featuring Stacey Solomon and Shawn Ryder (2011) and oversaw the opening song featuring Bruce Forsyth and Ant & Dec for the 2012 show. In 2014 Nigel co-produced, played & mixed the opening song, ‘Aint No Mountain High Enough’, featuring Michael Bolton & Sam Bailey (UK X Factor winner 2013). ‘Ain’t No Mountain ‘also appeared on Sam Bailey’s debut album, The Power Of Love (UK no. 1), in March 2014.The 2015 NTA's saw Nigel co-produce (etc.) the opening song, I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), featuring Pixie Lott & The Proclaimers.
He also co-wrote and co-produced ‘Shout For England’ featuring Dizzee Rascal & James Corden for Simon Cowell which spent 2 weeks at #1 in the UK in 2010. Later that year saw Ray and Nigel produce the album ‘Wide Awake’ (#3 UK) and singles for former X Factor winner Joe McElderry.
Nigel produced and mixed the track ‘There’s A Place For Us’ for the film ‘Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ as well as co-producing the single ‘Gotta Be Somebody’ for Shane Ward, another former X Factor winner. Along with Ray, Nigel became the producer for the ‘Groups’ category for Simon Cowell on The X Factor (UK) where he ended up helping formulate and produce One Direction during the series. He continued to produce many tracks for X Factor in the UK and US.
In 2012, Nigel began to branch out in new musical directions with releases aimed at film/TV/media through Pedigree Cuts (Non Stop Music (Warner/Chappell) US) & Altitude Music/Must Save Jane (APM) & has completed numerous bespoke placements for ITV, BBC, MTV, Sky, SyFy, UKTV , Channel 5, 5*, My5, E4 & Channel 4/AMC as well as various ad campaigns including co-writing and co-producing the extremely long Alesha Dixon-fronted Weight Watchers TV Ad ‘Do It Our Way (Play)’ for Saatchi & Saatchi which is reported to be the second longest British TV ad in history.