Interview with Frank Harris – Project Icon judge



How did Project Icon come about?

Myself and Jason had been asked previously to work on similar shows, and we thought, why not create our own. After we created the concept we needed to find the right team to work collaboratively with to build the idea, which is where Project Icon came about. We’re excited about the show and the creativity in it and everything this has to offer.

What separates Project Icon from other music-based talent shows either out at the moment, or previous?

One is we stretch the artists in a way most other shows don’t. I think most shows focus on the performing and sometimes the song writing elements but it was important for us to try and go further than this and explore the use of social media, song writing, music videos, etc. For us, we wanted to stretch the artists in different directions, and show how multi-faceted and multi-talented they are. That combined with all the different types of challenges and competitions that the different artists have to go through, really sets Project Icon apart.

What are you looking for in a winner?

We want a winner who encompasses being a great singer, being a great songwriter, but also understanding the social media space, as social media has become so incredibly important in the music realm. It’s important that you understand how to maximise its use, understand your brand, and your music, and utilising those platforms as well. So we just tried to find an artist who’s talented as a singer, as a songwriter in a more traditional sense, but also understanding of today’s climate.

You’re incredible at spotting musical talent, it’s shown through how long you’ve worked with Jason and helped create global hits. From your perspective, what do you think makes a successful artist?

Fundamentally there has to be talent, but there is a difference in being successful overnight on TikTok to withstanding a long term career in the industry. Song writing ability is great, it’s amazing to be able to write songs and be able to express your music yourself, it’s not the easiest thing to find songwriters to write for you, so artists who write their own songs have a distinctive advantage. It’s a true talent to be able to sing, but it’s important that artists today understand that it’s not just about the music anymore, it’s about the brand you build in conjunction to your music. Whether it’s YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, whatever the platforms are, you have to be able to utilise them and maximise your artistry. There’s so many opportunities for artists outside of music, and on Project Icon we are looking for artists who encompass all of those different variables.

What would you say your judging style is?

Firm but fair, and I think it’s important to be candid. I think it’s important to be firm and not sugar-coat.

Out of all the challenges and tasks that take place, which is your favourite and why?

I think I pick the Remix Challenge where the artists swap original songs, and are able to add their own twist to one of their fellow artists’ songs. It’s a song-writing and producing competition where you create melodies and you can write additional lyrics, because it speaks to the creativity of an artist and it lends itself to finding a consummate artists who not only just sing, but song-write as well. So I think that part of the competition was really great to me. It’s also interesting to see how the artists who originally wrote the songs felt about what their counterparts have done to their record.

What’s it been like working in this capacity with Jason, and also meeting and working with Becky and Jordan whilst filming the show?

Obviously, Jason and I have worked together in different capacities for a while now, but working with the group of us was a new experience and we didn’t know what to expect, but it couldn’t have been better. Becky has been such a pleasure to work with; she’s intuitive, she’s smart, she’s spontaneous and true to herself, she’s been brilliant. Jordan’s been fantastic, he’s a gentleman, he’s bright, smart and witty, and he’s fun to work with as well. So I think we’ve created a great chemistry amongst us, and I couldn’t be happier.

Can you tell us any memorable moments you’ve had whilst filming?

What’s probably most memorable for me is some of the spirited conversations that we had around the elimination time and when we decide who is in the bottom two. Jason comes from his artist perspective and his opinions come from a raw artist’s experience, Becky has been on a show like this before so she has great empathy for what the other artists are going through. And me, I look at it from an industry perspective and look at the artists place in the music business, looking at the creative side to the business and sometimes those views clash. There was a spirited time where we were all getting passionate and arguing our different perspectives, and it’s not in a disrespectful way at all but because we all were so passionate about our thoughts and our belief about who we thought should be eliminated things got heated!

People tend to forget there’s an array of other jobs in music aside from performing, if you could give one piece of advice to aspiring artist managers out there, what would it be any why?

Learn! I think it’s important that people are willing to volunteer. Go work for the manager, go work for a brand company, go work for a producer to get experience. So many people just want to jump in without the experience, or the knowledge. Get as much experience as you can, work hard and listen, it’s a lot of proverbial advice that people have already heard before, but it’s true. It’s about working hard and smart.

You may also be interested in...