He might not have many people turning up to his warehouse parties but new Interscope signing Nick Gardner could well be British pop's best shot at solomaleamazingness in 2015.
He likes and listens to pop music in the same way we and you do. He's a fan of Kelly Clarkson (not a euphemism). He's got Ryan Tedder's haircut. Best of all he's got a brilliant debut release. 'Lose You', which has appeared on iTunes today to tie in with Nick's appearance at Thursday's iTunes Festival show, is really great.
Usually these early, chuck-something-on-iTunes releases are so caught up in softly-softly, don't‑scare-the-horses tastemaking nonsense that it's impossible to get a grip on how a new popstar's likely to sound by the time an album eventually rolls around, but 'Lose You' is a proper banger. It's a bit soulful, a bit electronic, a bit epic, it's got a hook on which you could hang a whole sack of hook wordplay, AND IT SOUNDS LIKE PHIL COLLINS.
The backstory is that Interscope signed Nick as a result of his YouTube covers, which these days is the rule rather than the exception but that's what happened so there you go.
Actually there's a better backstory than that.
The other day we asked Nick to send over one of those 'Reasons I'm Amazing' things we sometimes do. He said no. "Tell you what!" he wrote. "I'll just write a big old bunch of stuff and you can pick and choose what you would like to use." An extremely lengthy email followed and while we are aware that the internet is pretty big it is finite. Fortunately, when we were searching our inbox it turned out that we still have Nick's 2011 application for work experience at Popjustice.
So let's have a look at what he said back then.
"I very much like pop music and subscribe to Popjustice's philosophy that it is too often looked down on by people that don't know a great deal about it."
"I spend a lot of time organising my iTunes — poorly organised iTunes libraries are the work of the Devil."
"I really like ellipses…"
"I play piano (kind of well), guitar (not well) and harmonica (not well at all)."
"I hope Britney Spears' new single is good."
We didn't get him in for work experience because frankly there's no room at Popjustice HQ for a harmonica player, competent or otherwise.
But Nick got in touch with us again near the end of 2012, this time about his music. He sent over some bits; there was no harmonica. It was good. Then the Interscope deal happened. Nick's kept us updated as the months have ticked by, and as those months have ticked by the tunes he's played us have got bigger and better.
With the exception of X Factor finalists and UK Featscene artists like Sam Smith and John Newman, the UK seems to have a lot of trouble launching and cherishing solo male pop artists. Maybe the harsh truth is that they just tend not to be good enough. But on the evidence of 'Lose You' and the other songs we've heard, Nick Gardner's good enough to make a strong impression, not just in the UK but overseas too.
(And if it does all go tits up, we'll have another look at that work experience application.)