Simon Phillip Cowell is an English Artists and repertoire (A&R) executive, television producer, entrepreneur, and television personality. He is known in the United Kingdom and United States for his role as a talent judge on TV shows such as Pop Idol, The X Factor, Britain's Got Talent and American Idol. He is also the owner of the television production and music publishing house Syco.
Father was from a mostly Jewish family and mother is of part Scottish descent. Simon's paternal grandmother was born in Poland. The rest of Simon's ancestry is English, and distant Scottish.
Simon Phillip Cowell was born on October 7, 1959 in London, England. His father, Eric Philip Cowell, was an estate agent developer and music industry executive. His mother, Julie Brett, was a former ballet dancer and socialite. Cowell attended school at Dover College, but dropped out at 16. He floated in and out of jobs, sabotaging several interviews for jobs set up by his father. He finally landed a job at his father's company as a mailroom clerk at EMI Music Publishing.
Cowell floated in and out of jobs, sabotaging several interviews for jobs set up by his father. He finally landed a job at his father's company as a mailroom clerk at EMI Music Publishing. He managed to earn a position as an assistant to an A&R executive at EMI in 1979, where he was promoted and given the job of talent scout.
Cowell left EMI during the early 1980s to form E&S Music with his boss at EMI, Ellis Rich.The company created several hits, but Cowell left by mutual agreement a few years later.
In 1985 he and a partner formed the independent label Fanfare Records, which enjoyed short-lived success. Fanfare had numerous top ten hits with various pop artists and particularly Sinitta, selling more than 500,000 copies of her debut single "So Macho", and more than 500,000 copies of her album "Rondo Veneziano". The company folded in 1989.
Cowell signed on as a consultant with BMG Records later that same year. He managed to sign a string of successful acts for the company, selling more than 150 million records and 70 top-charting singles in the UK and United States.
He set up another company SYCO in 2002. The company created the television shows American Inventor, America's Got Talent, and X-Factor. The group also produces records for many of the performers on Cowell's shows including albums for Leona Lewis and Il Divo.
Cowell isn’t too outspoken about his religious beliefs, if he even has any. His MySpace page says he’s “Christian – other.” Cowell is likely not very religious.
Cowell is a supporter of the British Conservative Party – or Tories. He strongly backed Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron during his campaign.
I'd accept an honour but I don't think I'm likely to get one. The Queen once described me as a dreadful man.
We've done three seasons of American Idol and by now it is safe to assume that most people know that you have to be able to sing. But people turn up who can't sing a note and yet they believe they are the Second Coming.
If you would have asked me what I thought of America before I came over here I would have used the word "corny". And then you come over here and you find that it's not corny at all. British people are very cynical, they cannot bear someone else's success. Americans embrace other people's success. Everything in America is larger than life.
I don't want babies the same way I wouldn't want a puppy. It's too much responsibility.
I don't take myself seriously and I don't consider myself a star.
What luxury would I take to a desert island? A mirror. It's true. I'd miss me.
I don't want to marry anyone, because whoever marries me will end up hating me.
If I went to a psychiatrist, it would be a long session. I've always thought that I do have a number of issues that probably need dealing with, because I am quite odd in some ways. I get very dark moods for no reason. Nothing in particular brings it on. You can be having the best time of your life and yet you're utterly and totally miserable. I get very antisocial, depressed and irritable with people. I don't have time for them. I can't make phone calls and stuff. I just sit on my own for days. I'm not sitting in a darkened room rocking. Things might have gone really well and then I torture myself. I cannot believe it. I have to find something to make me miserable. Someone said to me recently, "You're like a human buffet table. Everyone comes and takes something from you and, at the end, there's nothing left". The last time I felt that way was when I looked at my diary and realized I had the next 18 months planned. I could tell you where I was going to be every day--which city, what time and almost what I was going to eat. That really depressed me.
What is there to be excited about turning 50? Can't we just pretend it is not going to happen?
[on plastic surgery] I think you've got to be very careful as a guy, in particular, that you can end up looking really, really weird.
[on Botox] Of course I have had it. I mean, for me, it's like cleaning my teeth, you know? Something makes your teeth whiter or something stops you having lines.
I only play to win.
It's not our intention to be mean. That's just within us.
I have an absolute hatred of losing. Even losing at Monopoly as a kid. I just want to beat the competition.
I will never borrow money again.
Cruelty is good television.
We'll speak about general matters for the first five minutes and the rest of the time we'll speak about me.
[about money] If it could pour on me every day like a shower, I would lie in it for an hour. I just love it.
Marriage is an outdated contract.
Work is my mistress.
Embrace the madness.
Talking to celebrities is too much effort. They all think the same.
Once I've gone off someone, that's it for life.
My life is a night shift.
I've got to become uncluttered.
I'm enjoying daytimes now.
I'm not going to waste my energy on focusing what others do.
Many stars prefer their own company.
People need an escape and this is what I provide - an excuse to laugh and forget your problems. We change people's lives.
Come as who you are, not who you want to be.
Success rarely changes anyone. Rather it gives them the power to be what they always were.
If I want art, I'll buy it.
If you have the opportunity to get a part on a TV show, no matter how small it seems, take it.
The minute you start to compromise on a band or an artist, you're finished.
Nothing is more demoralizing than a bad set of contestants. And nothing is more invigorating than seeing a real talent emerge.
Never over-negotiate your initial salaries. If things work out afterwards, the money will follow. Ask for too much at the beginning and you may not get the job.
I'm often asked if I can take criticism, and I always think back to those days when the tough feedback of someone who knew more than me helped me so much more than fake praise.
My favourite contestant is the one who tells us I've given up everything for this. I've sacrificed a lot to live this dream. How old are you I ask? 17 they reply. In other words, this is an accurate representation of life today. Make me famous. Make me rich. I want it all. Now!
People are intuitively aware of a front-runner or a leader.
When you see a hundred singers a day, it's amazing if you can remember even a handful of them.
Because I'm not shy, I let my feelings be known in the press.
I have become famous for being rude. I'm the honest one.
The music industry is a culture awash with sycophants and yes-men.
Many celebs make the fatal mistake of reading their press, absorbing it and changing their ideas about themselves on the basis of what fans and critics say about them, e.g. Michael Jackson.
Be patient and wait for the right thing to come your way.
I'm as competitive with somebody who works for my company as I am with somebody who works for another label.
Whether you're Elvis Presley or Frank Sinatra, you're remembered for your songs.
Sometimes there are performers that hook you from the first time you see them.
It would have been good if Dad could have been here to enjoy at least some of my success.
If the public don't warm to your personality, you're out. The music industry requires that you have a larger-than-life personality.
No matter how bad things are, if you've got the guts and the determination, you can fulfill your dream.
First impressions count in this business. Even if you have a voice like Barbra Streisand, you won't get very far if you're ordinary.
90% of the people are awful and 10% are good. Since 100% of the contestants believe they're destined to be big stars, 90% are deluded. Its an epidemic.
Auditions are a very difficult, one-sided process.
America is a huge country with a wonderful tradition of superb singers.
America does glitzy events better than any other country.
As far as kids are concerned, I'm brilliant with them, as long as they belong to other people and I don't have to be with them 24 hours a day.
The people on the bottom rung look up to those at the top, and the ones at the top invariably look down on those at the bottom.
Personality makes a massive difference.
I am a very good judge. We look for those with the greatest potential; the singers and performers who could be molded and encouraged.
Freedom of the press is a good thing.
There's a world of difference between a winner and a runner-up.
We now live in a fame epidemic. There has never been another time when so many young people sought celebrity status. Every magazine available portrays a lifestyle that looks great. My job is to point out to all the hopefuls the reality of what they're after. If you want that lifestyle you have to have talent. And you have to realize you may have to work for it.
On the first day of any show you are conscious of the lights and cameras and the fact that you are on TV. By the second day, after listening to 160 wannabes who can't sing quite in time, you don't care. You just want them to leave the room.
Having worked in the music business for 35 years, its probably the funniest business on Earth. When I watch Top of the Pops (1998) now, I don't find anything funny in it anymore. Our main job is to make an entertaining TV show, which honestly reflects the pop music industry. If we ever get it totally right, though, no one will watch.
I am never just looking for a talent, but rather a talent with a head start.
I tend to think its the song that's more powerful than the performer. It's a ""Catch-22" situation: without the hit songs, artists don't have careers, but without careers, they won't have access to the hit songs.
I have little patience for anybody who isn't prepared to put in 15-hour days.
There's a myth in this business that if you don't hit by the time you're 25, you'll never make it. No one is governed by age.
I love anyone who can reinvent themselves. You can reinvent yourself not just through image, but through great pop songs.
Eye contact is a sign of confidence. Grovelling is an act of desperation.
Most stars aren't nice, trust me.
Food is fuel.
Someone with experience in the music business might be able to see something in you that you don't see in yourself.
Writing a hit song is one of the hardest jobs on Earth. If you can find an artist who is a gifted songwriter - hallelujah! They're as rare as the Loch Ness Monster. Take a picture to prove they exist.
Pop music is a youth market, and a business.
Don't pay too little attention to what people say about you.
If you forget about the people who put you on top, you'll become unglued.
An entertainment career requires ridiculous amounts of hard work and difficult sacrifices. But the rewards, if you're lucky enough to enjoy them, are also huge, but getting there is almost impossible.