Mick Hucknall is the founder and leader of Simply Red. In this role he has had great success and has remained at the top of his profession for more than 25 years. His path has taken him to extraordinary heights as a recording artist and live performer and his success has given him the opportunity to develop and indulge other interests.
His collection of awards, from a musical career built up around ten best-selling studio albums and more than 1000 concerts, runs from two coveted Ivor Novello awards (for Song of the Year in 1992 and an Outstanding Song Collection ten years later); three BRITs; an American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers honour; a World Music Award; and the Music Of Black Origin (MOBO) accolade for an Outstanding Achievement In Music, to over 130 platinum and gold records earned from worldwide record sales in excess of 50 million. With Simply Red he has played live to over a million people around the world, and has had the honour of playing for both the Queen of England, and Pope John Paul II and President Clinton.
Together with his degree in Fine Art and an honorary Masters degree from UMIST (University of Manchester Institute of Science & Technology) — awarded for his contribution to Manchester, fund-raising in the aftermath of an IRA bomb attack and outstanding musical success – these accolades are all tangible evidence of Mick Hucknall’s enormous achievements since he launched his band in 1984.
However, what is less well-known is the Manchester-born musician’s passion for wine making, his enthusiasm for sporting pursuits and his involvement in the development of the city of his birth where, for many years, Mick has been an active player in the city’s regeneration, being involved in a host of award-wining development projects. It was also in Manchester that he originally based Blood and Fire, his own specialist reggae record label, in which he continues to have an interest.
His enthusiasm for game fishing — and love of Ireland, the home of his ancestors — led Mick to invest in the world-renowned Glenmore Rivers sporting estate located on 10,000 hectares of Ireland’s Atlantic coast. Glenmore puts great emphasis on conservation and natural regeneration.
Mick’s love of Italy dates back to the days when he and his band sought an escape in Milan in the 1980s and was further enhanced by the fact that Simply Red recorded Stars, their biggest-selling album of all-time, in Venice.
Since then, as the owner of an estate in Sicily, Mick has enthusiastically embraced the world of wine and, on the slopes of Mount Etna lie the vineyards which have been producing his highly regarded Il Cantante (the singer) wines since 2001. Growing high-quality grapes in rich volcanic soil and producing around 40,000 bottles of red and white wine each year, the Il Cantante winery embraces traditional wine-making methods and is lovingly guided by Mick and his partner Gabriella, under the expert eye of oenologist Salva Foti, winner of the Slow Food Italy’s ‘Winemaker of the Year’ award. The resulting wines are exceptional, with the Etna Rosso having been awarded 93pts from Gambero Rosso, the world’s most highly regarded guide to wines.
The story may have begun a long time ago with Simply Red but it’s no surprise to learn that Mick Hucknall, as a true creative spirit, is still in the business of seeking out new challenges to satisfy his soul.