Nik Kershaw, The Space, Latest Music Bar, Brighton,
Oct 7 2008
By Duncan Hall »
Between 1984 and 1985 Nik Kershaw was a household name, with seven top 20 hits and even a Live Aid performance to his credit.
But for the man himself the years when songs such as The Riddle and Wouldn't It Be Good ruled the charts are a bit of a blur.
"I don't remember much because so much happened in that time," he admits.
"The fact is it wasn't that complicated: I made some records, played some concerts, went on the telly, and nothing very real happened.
"Success teaches you absolutely nothing. You make records and people want to buy them. It's only when they stop that you start learning."
Not that Kershaw had that many problems when he stopped working as an artiste and became a songwriter for hire in 1989 after his fourth album, The Works, failed to chart.
Kershaw spent nine years writing for the likes of Let Loose, Darius, Cliff Richard and Lulu. He scored a transatlantic hit with Chesney Hawkes after penning The One And Only.
But in 1998 he found himself considering another album.
"When you're a songwriter you never get to see your ideas go the whole way through," he says.
"I was coming up with ideas that I knew other people weren't going to want, or wouldn't be able to pull off."
The result was the critically acclaimed album 15 Minutes - a collection of those songs Kershaw couldn't bear to give away.
"Writing songs is almost like exorcising them from your head," he says. "If I have an idea it torments me until I have committed it to tape.
"I'm constantly working on new material, although whether I finish that material is another matter.
My albums are coming out every four to five years at the moment but I'm trying to cut that timescale down. I'm hoping to have another one out next year."
Releasing albums on his own ShortHouse Records is a marked contrast to his life as a pop star. He says he wouldn't want to go back to that period again.
"I'm not that young any more and I'm not as driven as I was at that time," he says. "You are not allowed to be your own person - you are part of a huge machine that nobody has any control over. It's like being on a runaway train.
Kershaw had a brief return to the pop world when he took part in the Here And Now tour, which reunited lots of former 1980s icons.
"For the people in charge it must have been like being in charge of a school trip," remembers Kershaw, who joined the tour in 2004.
"I initially ran kicking and screaming from the suggestion that I should be a part of a revival tour. It was sold to me in such a way I ran out of reasons to say no.
"I now know a lot of people that I didn't know at the time. The egos aren't so big now - we have all been humbled and had a bit of failure to bang us into shape."
7.30pm, £5/£3, 01273 687171
Nik will be playing a couple of acoustic songs as well as being interviewed by Lisa Holloway as part of this month's event, which also features film composer David Arnold.