NICK MARTINELLI’s unequalled production credits speaks volumes, boasting the names of some of the most gifted vocalists in music, including Diana Ross, Phyllis Hyman, Regina Belle, Teddy Pendergrass, Loose Ends and Gladys Knight . What makes NICK unique is his diverse experience in every aspect of the entertainment industry, specifically in productions, publishing, sales, promotions and distribution.
NICK cut his teeth as a teenager in 1969 in the Chips warehouse, an independent record distributor for Motown. Nick was promoted to warehouse manager as he developed an understanding of distribution and retail sales. In 1977 Motown rewarded Nick’s diligence by giving him additional responsibilities handling dance promotion for the Northeast region which covered from New York to Washington… Read more
It was in the clubs where NICK found an outlet to express himself creatively — behind the turntables. Nick packed the dance floors in some of Philly’s hottest nightclubs with his rhythmic music mixes and earned a shot at remixing a few dance tracks.
In 1978, WMOT Records hired NICK for a national sales position. He finally made the transition to A&R a year later. This enabled him to sign and develop new talent on the Philadelphia scene at the time.
Influenced by “The Sound of Philadelphia”, NICK credits Dexter Wansel for his technical studio training. Although Nick and WMOT soared in America with Frankie Smith’s “Double Dutch Bus”, it took a trip overseas for Nick to create a niche with his rich, innovative production style; he co-produced “Zoom” for Fat Larry’s band, and it rose to the top of the British pop singles chart in 1981.
Nick then spent two years remixing many hits for various artists including the massive Ray Parker Jr. hit, “Ghost busters”. In 1984 Virgin Records’ artists, Loose Ends, registered NICK’s first #1 hit produced single in the USA with “Hanging On A String”. The three album association yielded a slew of hits including “Slow Down”, “Watching You”, and “Stay A Little While”. These initial recordings made Nick a producer in great demand. His next production was Five Star, a pop-R&B group that conquered the charts with “Let Me Be The One” and “All Fall Down”.
In the mid-eighties, NICK’s accomplishments reached a new plateau, producing some of the most talented signature vocalists in music, including Stephanie Mills (with #1 singles for “I Feel Good All Over” and “Home”), Gladys Knight & The Pips (All Our Love album – gold), Teddy Pendergrass (#1 “Joy” album – gold), and Miki Howard (#1 single with “Love Under New Management” and “Baby Be Mine.”)
“As a producer, I’ve got a knack for finding great songs,” he offers. “A big part of my success is that I pick the right songs for these artists.”
Accolades and acclaim came with his thriving track record. In 1988, Nick received the Philadelphia Music Foundation Award for notching the most Top 10 singles in one year. Two years later they honored him again by naming him Best Urban Producer. In the U.K. he was always included in the Blues and Soul Top 10 producer list.
Nick entered the nineties red hot with Regina Belle’s #1 album, spawning two #1 hit singles, one which garnered a Grammy nomination (“Make It Like It Was”). Long-time mentor Kenny Gamble selected Nick to work with Phyllis Hyman. Having written two selections for Hyman including the Top 10 single, “When You Get Right Down To It”. Nick produced her #1 R&B hit, “Don’t Wanna Change The World”. In 1993, NICK relocated to Los Angeles where he wrote and produced songs for Regina Belle, Robin S., Howard Hewett, Gerald Alston, Lulu, Ru Paul, Chaka Kahn and his life-long idol, Diana Ross.
He achieved Quadruple platinum status with his new productions on the Diana Ross “One Woman Collection”. In 1994 he branched out by doing a symphonic Christmas CD For Diana Ross in the U.K. In early 1995, Nick was called back to London to produce the original cast album for the hit musical, “Mama I Want To Sing”, starring Chaka Kahn.
In the recording studio, artists cling to the comfortable, encouraging and creative environment Nick establishes. Nick elaborates, “The result is a warm, live sounding performance with a lot of feeling. Getting the best out of an artist is most important to me.
NICK MARTINELLI is a legendary producer-songwriter who started at the bottom and rose through the ranks to not only the summit of his profession, and — to the top of the charts. His discography serves to document the legacy of his signature sound and the impact he played on R&B music in the 80s and 90s.
Biography courtesy of Carter Burnette.
00 – Intro – Loose Ends – Stay A Little While Child (Zagora, 1986)
01 – Fat Larrys Band – Act Like You Know (Breakin’ Out, 1982) (Snippet)
02 – Loose Ends – Hangin” On A String (Contemplating) / “Listeners choice” (So Where Are You?, 1985)
03 – 52nd Street – Tell Me (How It Feels) / “Listeners choice” (Children Of The Night, 1985)
04 – Phyllis Hyman – Ain”t You Had Enough Love (Living All Alone, 1986)
05 – Loose Ends – Slow Down / “Listeners choice” (Zagora, 1986)
06 – Kiara – Strawberry Letter 23 (To Change And / Or Make A Difference, 1988)
Background music during the interview:
Cashmere – Do It Ayway You Wanna, Loose Ends – Tell Me What You Want, Regina Belle – Show Me The Way, Bootsy Collins – Body Slam (12 inch), Stephanie Mills – Home, Regine Belle – Make It Like It Was, Phyllis Hyman – I Refuse To Be Lonely, Rose Royce – Doesn”t Have To Be This Way, Miki Howard – Love Under New Management