'80s - Nik Kershaw (2010)
'Ladies and Gentlemen ... Akoustnik!'
Nik Kershaw was born in Bristol in 1958. His formative years were spent in Ipswich where he discovered his love for music.
In 1978, after three years working as a civil servant, he turned professional, serving his apprenticeship playing guitar in jazz fusion and functions bands.
He signed with MCA Records in 1983 and released his debut album "Human Racing" in 1984. It achieved multi platinum sales and launched Nik's career worldwide. The equally successful "The Riddle" followed and, in July 1985, he took the Wembley stage to perform at Live Aid.
In 1990, after four MCA albums and sales of over 8 million, Nik left the spotlight to concentrate on song writing and producing. The following years saw him working with Elton John, Chesney Hawkes, Cliff Richard, Bonnie Tyler, Lulu, Ronan Keating, Jason Donovan, Tony Banks, Michael W Smith, Conner Reeves, Nick Carter, The Hollies, Colin Blunstone, Imogen Heap, Gary Barlow and Let Loose.
He rekindled his recording career in 1998 with the critically acclaimed album "15 Minutes" and has subsequently released three further albums, "To Be Frank" (2001), "You've Got To Laugh" (2006), and just recently the acoustic set, "No Frills" (2009).
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Nik Kershaw about his new CD, 'No Frills,' and so first wondered, and knowing that the very same album title had already been used by such artists as Mark Farner, Bette Midler and even The Persuasions, what other titles had crossed his mind? "One of the fans suggested "Akoustnik", which I thought was hillarious."
With 15 newly-recorded, stripped back songs on this CD, how long did it take to put together/record - and which one song came out the best; and in what way? "Believe it or not, it took the best part of 3 months. You'd think you could just stick a few mikes up, sing the songs and you've got an album. But no. I must've done 15 or so takes of each track before I got it right. I'm not ashamed to admit there might be a few edits here and there."
"'Dancing Girls' came out rather well, I think. Same words, same tune, same chords but completely different song."
Was there another song that you wanted to strip down and put on this new album, but after several attempts just couldn't get it the way you wanted it to sound? "I play 'Wide Boy' on my solo acoustic gigs. It works fine live but just didn't cut it in the studio."
Being that you are now on tour playing/singing this 'No Frills' set each night, what's the word when people come up to you after the show? Being that they are not the way they remembered them, obviously, are you finding that you can't please all the people all the time? "Actually, no! I haven't received a single negative comment (so far). We advertise the gigs as "solo acoustic" so people know what to expect."
Noting that 'No Frill's contains most all of your hits (UK), is there a song on there that still to this day you wish you had titled differently - and if so, which one and for what reason? "'I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me' - can't fit it on the setlist!"
After all that '80s/'90s pop fame whirlwind came to an end, it seems to me (from press now that relates to it back then) that you were kinda relieved - was that the case at the time? "It was my choice to take a step back when my deal with MCA came to an end in 1989. I was never comfortable with the constant self promotion. It was great to be able to have a bad hair day without worrying about how it would effect your record sales."
How's 'Frank' doing today? Has he been up to anything we should know about, perhaps? "He's still around unfortunately. He sits on my shoulder during gigs and tells me I'm about to forget the words!"
Fun Five - OK, it's now time to fire off some quick questions - to allow those that think they know Nik Kershaw to perhaps think again!
a) Can you remember your very first TOTP appearance? What song/year was it and at what level of nervousness were you at that whole day? "It was 'Wouldn't It Be Good,' Jan 1984. I don't remember being that nervous, just dazed and confused. Got pulled over by the police for jumping some lights on the way there. They didn't believe my excuse!"
b) At what point did Nicholas become Nik (instead of Nick)? "When I was signing the deal with MCA. Anything eastern bloc was cool at the time so some idiot came up with the name Nik Berlin. We decided to stick with my actual name but I never got the c back!"
c) Do you have a recurring nightmare or dream - and if so, how does it usually end? "I used to dream the earth was about to collide with a burning planet. Turned out ok. School was cancelled. Haven't had that one since I was 7."
d) What is your sweetest, guiltiest pleasure late at night? "Mind your own business!"
e) If you could meet any deceased celebrity, who would it be - and what would be the first question you would ask them? "Jimi Hendrix - Can I borrow your pick?"
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today...and why? "'Up Where We Belong.' It would be a duet with Marlyn Manson. I think people would pay to see that!"
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins (the flightless bird, not the chocolate bar!) ...do you? "Couldn't eat a whole one!"
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
'No Frills' CD Purchase Link
So, if you would like to win a SIGNED copy of Nik Kershaw's new CD, 'No Frills,' and you think you know all there is to know about the man himself, just answer this easy question: At the beginning of 1984, Nik released his breakthrough song "Wouldn't It Be Good" which featured a music video of him as a ... what?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful new CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before May 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: NIK KERSHAW SIGNED CDs to: firstname.lastname@example.org