June 11, 2020

Paul Jackson on how labels rallied behind Nova’s Thank You Concert

Publisher & Content Director
Paul Jackson on how labels rallied behind Nova’s Thank You Concert

When the pandemic hit and the world moved into lockdown, planning for Nova’s annual Red Room Global Tour came to a screeching halt. But not for long.

The team at NOVA Entertainment quickly got to work on Plan B, launching a series of Red Room Live Streams to keep audiences entertained from their loungerooms.

Those four events – with Dua Lipa and Kita Alexander, Benee, YUNGBLUD and Conan Gray – proved a hit with listeners and the inspiration for something much bigger.

“So that kind of led us into thinking what else we could do and how we could frame it,” explains Paul Jackson, the network’s marketing and programming chief.

“So our idea was to do a Thank You Concert,” he tells TMN. ” It very quickly grew from something that, in our minds, was going to be one or two artists and quite small.”

Thank You, because the event is about honouring those on the frontlines of the pandemic, offering some reprieve for the workers in essential services across the country.

Jackson realised the format had equal relevance to both the Nova and smoothfm radio brands, marking the first time the stations have overlapped for an initiative of this scale.

“It’s a mix of Nova and smoothfm coming together for the first time,” he said.

“We’d worked out a way of doing it and suddenly, through conversations, there was so much overwhelmingly positive feedback. We realised it could be so much bigger.”

NOVA announced the Thank You Concert on June 1 with homegrown superstars Amy Shark and Keith Urban, and international stars Ed Sheeran, Michael Bublé and Katy Perry.

With the support of the record labels, more acts were added to the June 20 schedule every day last week, with Nova’s Smallzy and smoothfm’s Richard Wilkins to MC the variety-style show.

“They’ve all been absolutely superb to work with,” Jackson said, referring to the support from record labels who helped the team at Nova and smoothfm pull together the final lineup.

Daryl Braithwaite, David Campbell, Delta Goodrem, Morgan Evans and Sam Fischer joined the list of Aussie acts who will perform a mix of collaborations, covers and their own chart hits.

Anne-Marie, Ellie Goulding, James Blunt, JP Saxe, Julia Michaels, Niall Horan and One Republic will also join in song from their lockdown locations around the world.

Jackson said the format of the Thank You Concert won’t be like every other livestream.

“Lots of artists are doing their individual thing,” he said. “We’ve taken a different angle. This isn’t a free for all. It’s going to be pretty emotive.

“There’s a lot of good exclusive interview pieces with artists and a few clever cover versions planned. So you could almost call it an ‘all-star show’ really.”

The chats include global superstars Ava Max, Yusuf and Cat Stevens, Sam Smith, Robbie Williams and Perry, with Coldplay, Shawn Mendes, Sheeran and Bublé also planning “something special”.

NOVA Entertainment’s Thank You Concert airs on June 20 from 8pm AEST.