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Interview: Nik Kershaw

Sept 2008

Enjoying both Stateside and UK success in the early 1980s is something Nik Kershaw looks back on with a mix of amusement, surprise and pride. Neill Barston spoke to him about his chart success and debut in Kent at this weekend's Days For Heroes event.

Such is the nature of pop music that there will always be those who choose to take themselves far too seriously long after their dizzy-rush of initial fame has waned.

Thankfully Nik Kershaw is certainly one possessing enough good grace to accept his moment in the spotlight has passed and has moved on with dignity.

When his chart-topping bubble burst at the end of the 80s, he turned attentions towards songwriting for others which proved a lucrative and enjoyable career progression.

Most notably came a credit for penning Chesney Hawkeís The One and Only which reached number one, a feat which remained tantalisingly elusive in his own solo singing career.

But though ill it ease with fame, he looks back with a certain fondness to his early success which saw him score three classic hits with Wonít Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Wouldnít It Be Nice and The Riddle.

ďI went through a phase of being quite embarrassed by it all and just didnít used to tell people what I did for a living.

When I saw some of the videos with the big hair and 80s clothes I think was that really me? It was like another person,Ē reveals Nik of his early 80s experiences which saw a major career in America tantalisingly within his grasp.

Unlike many of todayís conveyor-belt X Factor singers, he earnt his ticket to the big time playing in bands around Ipswich, where he spent most of his formative years.

As he concedes, his home-town has not been noted for its pop stars with one of the only other names to emerge being Roxy Musicís Brian Eno.

Growing up on a diet of 70s rock including Deep Purple and T Rex had given him a good grounding, but he was quick to embrace the new technological breakthroughs of the following decade.

Nik had never consciously set out to be a solo performer but when he posted off songs to major labels, MCA records felt he had what it took.

They were not wrong as his first two albums, Human Racing and The Riddle were to prove major commercial winners.

His use of synthesisers on singles such as Dancing Girls was considered pioneering and won him strong critical acclaim.

But despite his breakthroughs and highs including a performance at the first Live Aid concert at Wembley, he tired of the business.

As the Bristol born star explained, he had started a family at the start of the 90s and felt it was a fair enough time to bow out of performing.

Though he admits itís been something of a struggle to keep up to date with an ever-shifting scene, he canít shake music from his system.

The 50 year old, who lives with his family which includes of three children, is aiming to return to the studio in the coming months to follow up on his 2006 album titled Youíve Got to Laugh.

By his own admission, heís neglected playing live for far too long and has found it a refreshing chance to play several festivals this year.

ďThereís much less pressure than there was 25 years ago. I really enjoyed doing a show up in Scotland with the Bangles and Paul Young. Itís not really that important any more, itís just a bunch of people in their 40s having a laugh. Iím quite humbled that the fans are still around for us though.Ē

Rather surprisingly it turns out he has never actually played in Kent before. So playing alongside McFly in the Days for Heroes Event at Detling Showground in aid of our armed forces is going to be an interesting first for the pop veteran.

ďI had an auntie and grandmother in the Maidstone area but Iíve never played Kent before. My eldest child hasnít seen me play so it would be good if the family can see me. I think itís going to be an alright day.Ē

With a back-catalogue of seven top 20 hits and the same number of albums to pool his set from, itís going to be a fine afternoon indeed.

Nik Kershaw plays the Day For Heroes at Detling Showground on Sunday, September 21 which is Headlined by McFly and features Also on stage will be Nik Kershaw, Jocelyn Brown, The City Girls, The Counterfeit Stones, Cheryl Baker & Shaun Williamson. Funfair with free rides & many military attractions, (assault course, BB range, full size Harrier Jump Jet,flight simulators, parachute display team.

Tickets are £25. For more details go to >>>

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