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 Niks 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), Youve 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 hilarious.
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 would think you could just stick a few mikes up, sing the songs and you have got an album. But no. I must have done 15 or so takes of each track before I got it right. I am 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 could not get it the way you wanted it to sound? I play Wide Boy on my solo acoustic gigs. It works fine live, but just did not cut it in the studio.
Being that you are now on tour playing/singing this No Frills set each night, what is 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 cannot please all the people all the time? Actually, no! I have not received a single negative comment (so far). We advertise the gigs as solo acoustic so people know what to expect.
Noting that No Frills 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 Wont Let The Sun Go Down On Me - cannot 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 is Frank doing today? Has he been up to anything we should know about, perhaps? He is still around unfortunately. He sits on my shoulder during gigs and tells me I am about to forget the words!
Fun Five - OK, it is 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 Wouldnt It Be Good, Jan 1984. I dont remember being that nervous, just dazed and confused. Got pulled over by the police for jumping some lights on the way there. They did not 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. Have not 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 Marilyn 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? Couldnt 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 Kershaws 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 Wouldnt It Be Good which featured a music video of him as a ... what?!
Send us your answers and if you are correct you will 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
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