Jersey Girl Scores Major Gig For Nickelodeon
Back in the 1990’s, a Jersey Girl was trying to capitalize on her initial success on the big screen by launching her own rock band. Her sound brought thoughts of Blondie to the forefront, a recording deal with a major label, and the potential of major stardom. Over the last 20+ years Colleen Fitzpatrick has seen every side of Hollywood and the music business, making her the perfect person to run a music division that is predominantly led by its teens, and spearheaded by its TV programming.
Colleen grew up just over the Monmouth County border in Old Bridge (the same town that produced Brian O’Halloran – Dante of Clerks and Clerks II fame), graduated from Cedar Ridge High School in 1987, and about a year after her graduation found herself on the big screen playing Amber Von Tussle in the 1988 hit movie Hairspray. Ironically, Blondie front-woman Debbie Harry played her mom in the classic John Waters flick.
While Ricki Lake went on to acting success after “Hairspray”, Colleen went on the achieve her degree from the prestigious NYU in 1991, then opted to pursue music. Fitzpatrick found her sound with her now husband Michael Kotch through the New York City music scene, and through playing the Jersey Shore, achieving a record deal with Epic Records about a year after the birth of Eve’s Plum (yes they named the band after the actress who played Jan Brady in The Brady Bunch).
The band’s success was limited. Their most significant song “I Want It All” showed the power of Colleen’s vocals, and the comparisons to Debbie Harry became obvious. The band seemed primed for something big with this song – managed to crack the Top-30 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart (with a large amount of support from former Jersey Shore Alt. Rock station WHTG), but apparently there was not enough “buzz” to cross the song over to pop even after a well received video from MTV.
By 1998, Eve’s Plum had ended and Colleen attempted to redefine her talent that was a complete 180-degree turn from the rock genre. Colleen became Vitamin C, embraced a dance-pop style that scored with CD buyers. Her first single in 1999 “Smile” went on to be a Top-20 hit, selling nearly 1 Million copies. Her follow up single “Me, Myself, & I” scored Top-30 airplay in the U.S., but her 3rd single became her career definer.
“Graduation (Friends Forever)” became an anthem to those moving on from high school. The song became a worldwide hit in 2000, reaching the Top-15 in 5 countries including here in America. The life of “Graduation” showed when in 2005 the song became a Top-50 Single download. The song today seems to find its way back on the radio every May and June.
Colleen also had a significant return to the big screen when she starred opposite Gerard Butler, Omar Epps (from House), Danny Masterson (That 70s Show), and Oscar winner Christopher Plummer in Dracula 2000.
By 2001, Vitamin C has another charting hit with “The Itch”, was making TV appearances on Hollywood Squares and Celebrity Boot Camp, but slowly Colleen was falling off the radar. By 2008 she was a judge on the Lifetime series Your Mama Don’t Dance, and about the reinvent herself again.
Colleen embarked on Chapter 3 of her career by working behind the scenes as a songwriter. She may not have been in the spotlight, but her worked found its way onto TV with songs for Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus), Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez. Adding to her resume during this stretch, Colleen created the licensing and publishing division of Collective Songs (subsidiary of The Collective – a management agency out of California), working with artists such as Linkin Park and Enrique Iglesias.
Her success behind the scenes reached the attention of the Nickelodeon network, and within the last week Colleen Fitzpatrick has been hired as the new Vice President of Nickelodeon in charge of Music. Colleen will be overseeing all music recording, production and performance for Nickelodeon and its channels, which include Nick Jr., Nicktoons and TeenNick.
Colleen Fitzpatrick is a true survivor in the entertainment industry, and can only be a major force to help the talent of Miranda Cosgrove, Jennette McCurdy, and Big Time Rush. The heights of Nickelodeon music are about to be higher thanks to this Jersey Girl!