Nick Fulton has deftly parlayed his personal interest in pop music into a successful career as a professional writer. The New Zealand-born Fulton’s concise, insightful style, impeccable taste and natural affinity for his subject have enabled him to go, in a decade’s time, from startup blogger to internationally recognized voice. His groundbreaking Einstein Music Journal was one of the first web presences in the remote island nation and virtually introduced the music blog format there.
For Fulton, it came together almost by chance. “I started writing after a friend encouraged me to start a blog,” he said. “In 2004 very few people in New Zealand were blogging, so it was pretty exciting to enter that space. It also meant that the people I connected with online were mostly outside my local community. I made friends and connected with other writers in Sydney, Los Angeles and London.
“Around that time I tried to connect with a couple of print publications that were based in Auckland, which is where all the major publications in New Zealand are based,” Fulton said. “But I was living in Wellington and struggled to find my way in. As a result, I started writing more frequently on my blog, which later evolved into Einstein Music Journal (EMJ). I got another writer on board and used Myspace to reach out to bands and music blogs in other countries. Before long we had a steady readership, and when we eventually launched Einstein Music Journal in 2006 we were able to throw a massive party and sell out one of Auckland’s best live music venues.”
“We operated slightly differently to the traditional music media,” Fulton said. “We didn’t always go through conventional channels to secure a story. We quickly gained a reputation for being bold and enthusiastic, and many publicists and record labels responded well to us. On several occasions we managed to secure stories that much bigger publications and other established writers in New Zealand missed out on.”
From this somewhat cheeky Do-It-Yourself start, Fulton, thanks to a reputation which was gaining respect and admiration beyond New Zealand, found respectability being thrust upon him and soon eschewed such pop guerilla tactics.
“My biggest achievement is finding an audience for my writing outside of New Zealand,” Fulton said. “With EMJ, I had regular readers in New York. LA and Australia. More recently I’ve worked with influential writers like Jessica Hopper, Cuepoint’s Jonathan Shecter and co-authored a column with hip hop writer Michael ‘DJ’ Pizzo. Being personally asked by Shecter to contribute to his publication was such an honor, and one that I will never forget. He wrote to me after I self-published an article on Medium, asking if he could republish my story on Cuepoint and if I’d be willing to join him as a writer and editor there.”
This natural momentum has served the writer well, and Fulton’s aim is always true—his 2015 Pitchfork magazine editorial “It’s Time to Put Our Cameras Away” (which called for a cessation of fan cellphone recording at concerts) not only inspired a contrarian clickbait response from venerable NYC weekly the Village Voice, it coincided with the practical use at numerous music and comedy performances of a variety anti-cell phone technology, a practice that is steadily growing.
“I like writing about a potential trend, or an unusual observation,” Fulton said. “My Pitchfork Op-Ed started a healthy debate online and had an overwhelmingly positive response. Pitchfork‘s Facebook and Twitter received a lot of comments, mostly agreeing with me, which was good. The only real dissent was shown by that writer at the Voice, who penned a response telling people to keep doing whatever they wanted. I think he thought I was being too politically correct.”
With a kaleidoscopic range of subjects from world class pop superstars to offbeat independents like Italian noise rockers Father Murphy, offbeat New York hip-hop group Das Racist, New Zealand filmmaker-music video director Simon Ward or a behind the scenes piece of music studio production Fulton’s analytical easy going methodology always holds the reader
“Nick’s a great guy and a great writer,” broadcaster David Klein said. “EMJ was one of the key music blogs in the country, and one that was a real defining authority. We met when he was a guest on a radio show I hosted. It was awesome to have Nick onboard, he always presented interesting new music, and could speak about it with a good understanding of trends, composition, and just the way music appeals to you at an emotional level. I’d trust Nick’s taste, and the quality of his writing is what has made him so successful. And he is always expanding his range –I just read something about music studio production he’d written a few weeks ago, and it was great.”
Now an almost ubiquitous figure in the local music scene, Fulton’s achievements and variety of outlets continue to grow.
“Being viewed by the public as an expert in my field is one the highest honors,” Fulton said. “I’m proud of the times I was invited on to radio shows, to comment publicly about a trend in music or share my thoughts on a popular band. Now my goal is to become a trusted voice outside of New Zealand and Australia. I’d like to immerse myself in the American music scene for a while and soak up as much knowledge as possible. I got a taste of it all when I visited in 2012, but there’s still so much to discover and write about.”
Fulton’s elegant yet hard charging style has taken him far, but the writer is just now really coming into his own, and this success is very easily explained.
“Working with Nick was great,“ editor Katy Hall said. “He’s the kind of writer you hope will stumble into your inbox at some point but rarely does. He’s personable, professional, knows how to stick to a deadline, and most importantly, he always delivered really high-quality work. It was engaging, tailored to the publication’s tone and needed no editing. I don’t want this to sound cheesy or overhyped; it was just the reality of working with a great writer.”