Tributes flood in for ex-CAA agent Paul Fitzgerald
Leading live music figures have paid tribute to music agent Paul Fitzgerald, who has died aged 54 following a long illness.
The ex-CAA agent enjoyed a distinguished 25-plus-year career in showbusiness after starting out at Louis Parker’s Concorde International Artistes in the early ’90s.
Fitzgerald, who is survived by wife Ellie and daughter Lulu, was the longtime agent for The X Factor Live tour and worked with artists such as Leona Lewis, Steps, JLS, One Direction, Olly Murs, Nicole Scherzinger, Diversity, Ella Henderson, Beverley Knight and Craig David.
“Fitz was one of a kind. Entrepreneurial from his core and with a great love of his clients”
“Fitz was one of a kind,” CAA co-head Emma Banks tells IQ. “Entrepreneurial from his core and with a great love of his clients, he was a trailblazer in his work with X Factor amongst other projects. He was always open to pursue new projects and avenues with his trademark enthusiasm.
“Paul had a ‘can do’ attitude that went from work into his life generally. He was much loved at CAA, agents across the company in every department globally knew Paul through their interactions at our company retreats or other times that Paul would visit them.
“Paul has left us all far too early and our hearts break for Ellie and Lulu. Gone but never forgotten.”
“Paul was a true legend in every sense of the world”
Fitzgerald, who launched entertainment industry consultancy MYBX in 2018, is credited as a mentor by his former CAA assistant Chris Ibbs, who was elevated to music agent at the company last year.
“Paul was a true legend in every sense of the word,” says Ibbs. “A fabulous agent and great friend. His infectious humour was only matched by his huge kindness. It was an honour to work for him and without his guidance I simply wouldn’t be where I am today. Thank you, sir. Rest easy.”
SJM Concerts promoters Simon Moran and Matt Woolliscroft spoke similarly highly of Fitzgerald, both personally and professionally.
“I always got on really well with Paul,” Moran tells IQ. “We did a lot of business with him over the years. He was very hard working and tenacious. As they used to say on The X Factor, he had the likeability factor – he was a really great fella.”
“He once joked to me, ‘I have never been cool in my entire life’ – he was probably right, but he was a good man with a good heart”
“I worked with Paul across many of his biggest artists including the early touring of One Direction, JLS’s incredible run after their appearance on the X Factor, the X Factor tour itself, Beverley Knight and many others,” adds Woolliscroft. “He was a sensible and easy going person to do business with. Loyal to his contacts and hard working for his clients.
“We’d stayed in periodic contact after his illness had meant he’d had to step back from his work and I was in awe of his positivity. I have missed our more regular contact since he ‘retired’. He once joked to me, ‘I have never been cool in my entire life’ – he was probably right, but he was a good man with a good heart and I will miss him.”
Elsewhere, Triple A Entertainment’s Pete Wilson recalls first meeting Fitzgerald during his early days at Concorde.
“Paul came to a Smash Hits Poll Winners awards show at London Arena to meet with Boyzone,” he remembers. “He was not a booker but a true agent – all of his acts enjoyed the Fitzgerald stamp. He would create a live environment from which the acts could grow and thrive. No act was too small, he gave his time to them all.
“He also had the rare qualities of honesty, loyalty and integrity. To have one of those is a challenge, to have all three is remarkable. He was a true friend and is a massive loss.”
“The achievement he was most proud of was to take a very unfancied Steps to sell one million tickets in UK arenas in one calendar year”
Fellow Triple A director Dennis Arnold adds: “Many people will testify to Paul’s hard work and dedication and his outstanding success as an agent. I would like to pay tribute to him as a loyal, sincere and much loved friend.”
Wilson singles out Fitzgerald’s work on X Factor Live as a particular highlight – but even that played second fiddle in his career accomplishments overall.
“It ran for a number of years and numerous artists that evolved from the show are still worldwide superstars,” he says. “However, the achievement he was most proud of was to take a very unfancied Steps to sell one million tickets in UK arenas in one calendar year.”
In a statement to IQ, Steps – Claire Richards, Faye Tozer, Ian “H” Watkins, Lee Latchford-Evans and Lisa Scott-Lee – share their sadness at the news.
“We were so very saddened to hear of Paul’s passing,” say the British pop group. “He was instrumental in the success of Steps and our touring career. We have many fond memories of spending time with him and send our love to Ellie, Lulu his family, friends and colleagues.”
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