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Starboy Nathan X-Factor exit - Just a two cents

So, last night the UK witnessed X-Factor contest Nathan Fagan Gayle ejected from the show at judges houses by Nicole Scherzingertower (no spell check, so if it's wrong, it's wrong). You can read my timeline TweetView/TweeteReview here

Everyone questioned why Nathan sang a NeYo song in front of NeYo to which he replied via Twitter

The fact he sang another song, yet they chose to show the one above is a bit unfair of the producers

I'm not gonna lie, I was 100% certain he'd go through. Must've taken a lot of courage for him to go on there, he has experience of performing and is a million and trillion, gazillion times better than Rylan.

Nathan's choice to enter the show was a major talking point for "urb*n" music followers from his first audition (click for TweetView), as the singer a.k.a. Choice FM rapology winner Nathan NFG a.k.a. UK r&b singer Starboy Nathan has been well-known on the underground scene since about 2004. Fagan Gayle supported JLS and The Wanted, songs with Flo Rida and Wretch 32 and reached top 40 last year. "Why would he go on there?" was the question on everyone's fingertips (Twitter innit). For the first time in X-Factor history, they allowed managed acts to enter the show which green-lighted him the opportunity to audition.

 This is my new Freestyle To mark the anniversary of my Dads passing its called DarkRoom it sums up how I feel right now
— StarboyNathan (@StarboyNathan) September 30, 2012

Only 2, 614 viewed the song in a similar amount of hours live and 209 RT's compared to 1,403 ReTweet's on the explanation vid. 12.4% of those interested in why he's on the show actually listened to his track. There are lies, damned lies and statistics, but I can't go around the stats on this one.

(Disclaimer: figures taken at 10:30am 1/Oct/2012)

Nathan raises some good point in his monologue. The best one is the bit about people power. People power is stronger currency than PR and pluggers. Even as a signed act, people requesting your songs will always put you in better stead than if you have great PR people as as unproven urb*n act. Urban specialists don't care about him, grassroots don't care for him, pop radio don't care for him, so as a result short-attention span pop buyers don't get the chance to care for him. Why would they search him when Connor Maynard is here? Dappy is cooler than Nathan at grassroots and pop fans care more for him. Justin Bieber, The Wanted, One Direction, JLS all nyam that same food.

Problem here is Nathan has almost 100k followers, 80k before the show started and still doesn't have people power? The chart hit he mentions in the video, "Diamonds", has over 1.5mil views on Youtube, "Caught Me Slippin" ft. Flo Rida sits on 118k and "Hangover" ft. Wretch 32 has 611k (nice song so I'm embedding it below) all been online a year minimum. Apart from the Flo Rida, those are pretty decent figures for an independent in my opinion.

In an ideal situation (all three songs recorded and ready to release), I'd have released Wretch 32 song, followed by Diamonds, then Flo Rida. Flo Rida song is by far the worst of the three, but maybe a Flo Rida name may have worked for him. Instead he did it the complete opposite way.

I don't like the song, but of the three above "Diamonds" is the lane he should be in. With male "r&b" there are two categories; sex factor or aww factor. You're either Trey Songz or Ne-Yo. R. Kelly or Joe. Joe/Ne-Yo can't be Trey Songz/R. Kelly and vice-versa. This is where Trey Songz was going wrong before. And where it went wrong for The-Dream.

I've never heard a girl say they fancy or wanna bang Nathan, so he has to play the sweet boy with loads of lyrics and gifts to get girls to like him. Man dem, we either know that guy or are that guy. Not saying that's the case in his real life, I don't know him, but musically that's usually how it is.

In my opinion, the reason for lack of conversion from YouTube views to buyers is he's built a solid catalogue of "nice/that's ok" songs. You hear them on radio, nod a little, may find out who sings it, but ultimately nothing really pulls at your emotions which eventually pulls 79p out of your pocket.

Also, he's aiming at pop audience with middle of the road urban-pop songs + no people power while alienating the core urban demographic that don't buy but give a buzz. It's hard to hit the Ella's in the rural areas without touching Kerry's on ends/suburbs that plays songs on the back of the empty single deck bus with her mixed race pals (see N-Dubz).

It's that grey area artists get into when they think they're too big for the grassroots urb*n (see Craig David) and don't have the genuine hits to compete with the likes of American counterparts the levels of even a Jason De-who-knows (where he went?) or marketing budget to compensate for lack thereof (see Rita Ora).

I mention American counterparts, because not only is he a don for nice songs, they all sound American. UK market doesn't tend to respond well to USA knock-offs (see Fundmental/FDM). We blacks love it, but the likes of Joe, Donell Jones, Jagged Edge and 112 didn't crossover to the UK mainstream that well. Even Trey Songz had to pop it up before success over here (first top ten UK single Simply Amazing isn't a US single yet anyway) and that's after supporting NeYo and someone else's (maybe Usher) arena tour.

Nathan's song "Do Without My Love" is a knock-off what Stargate were doing in America at the time and coming across like a Mario imitation, as big as it is "Come Into My Room" is a knock-off Marques Houston's "Clubbin'", this new song "Dark Room" is discount Drake... Even "Who Am I?" is discount Dappy "No Regrets". Following the trends/not having your own unique sound doesn't usually fare well when building.

 I don't like to do the comparing game because everyone has their own route, but look at AnGeL. Mixtape with a bunch of hot street level rappers raised awareness, "Ride Out" sounded slightly American r&b, but mainly Island Pop, a bit Gyptian "Hold You" (toy piano especially) and featured UK bashmenty/hip-hopy rapper Sneakbo. Quality song, has over a million views over two channels. Along with his own Wretch 32-assisted single "Go In, Go Hard" (1.1 mil views) which although failed to chart in top 40, it scraped it mid-week in the late 30s. All the above set him up nicely for what was to come with "Wonderful" (3 million views in 3 and a bit months).

Radio 1 didn't playlist it, so Island/Universal released it a few weeks early, entered mid-week top 30 and as a result Radio 1 playlisted it before it creeped up to top ten. Why? Because he built up a fan base at grassroots and released a top quality "r&b" song drawing on various influences such as acoustic guitars, d&b rave drums and electric rock guitars which gave it a unique British/non-American feel.  "Wonderful" b-side "How Do I Lose?"  featuring Chip probably equivalent to Nathan ft. Wretch 32 "Hangover", but "How Do I Lose?" is for the Kerry's on ends while "Wonderful" penetrates the Elizabeth's nationwide. Nathan didn't cater for the Elizabeth's.

546k views since July

People say "X-Factor judges house is great exposure", but who remembers any of the other contestants that reached judges houses? Is it really a good thing to get kicked out of the competition at judges houses when you've been singing for that long in life?

To quote a comment on "Diamonds" video:

How can you degrade yourself and and get judged by tulisa SMH he better win!!!!


  1. What a good all round review.. You have a way with words and adding humour to these subjects.
    Wish Nathan the best and I hope he reads this because he could pick up or two honest pointers.


  2. nicole reason for not putting nathan through was extremly lame. it is things like this that for me, give gross discredit to the show.
    i use to love neo's work but after seeing his judgement on nathan i have to say neo is weak man. he has weak charactor.
    nathan keep your head up son. try canada, they are more fairer than uk or usa. all the best.


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