NIK Kershaw doesn’t have the same fresh face and big hair he did in the Eighties, but he’s
NIK Kershaw doesn’t have the same fresh face and big hair he did in the Eighties, but he’s still on the quest to write the perfect song.
Despite the fact he rocked the Live Aid stage back in 1985 just as his fame was ballooning after his hit Wouldn’t It Be Good helped him break through, he still feels he has more to deliver.
“I haven’t achieved everything I want. Every day I get up and I think today is the day where I might write the perfect song,” he says.
“I feel I have never quite delivered that. I think in this business you always have to believe there are better songs to come and better things to come.”
The time that Kershaw broke through, in the mid-Eighties, the fame hit him hard — taking away part of his life and putting it in the hands of others.
He says: “It was completely crazy when I came through back in 1985. It sort of taught me be careful what you wish for.
“I got the success I wanted, but it is almost part of your life you lose — it stops being your own and so many other factors affect it.
“A group of people want to know what’s going on and what you do. Everyone is hanging on until it stops, so it’s all very out of control.”
Despite two top-10 albums and his Live Aid performance — something he describes as “right on the edge of what was possible at the time” — Kershaw was dropped by his record label in the early Nineties.
At that point he decided to focus on writing and production — something he had loved since he dropped out of school during his A-levels to focus on music in 1975.
“My choice to step away and focus on production and songwriting was about timing. I was readying to go out on tour with Elton John as a support act at the time.
“Me and him were on our way back to London and I knew my deal with the record company, MCA Records, was almost up. I knew they would not want to renew it.
“It was either go and find another deal to carry on or have a change and do something in the back room like write and produce for others.”
Unfortunately, letting a piece of music he had written go and giving it to someone else was not something he found particularly easy.
Kershaw says: “It was all very different when you’re discussing an idea with someone else and when you are putting a song together for yourself. For me, I really loved writing songs.
“But when you are writing for others you have no control over the final process — the artist chooses what they want to do with it.
“When you hear the final outcome it isn’t how you thought it would be. When you spend a lot of time writing something it’s hard when you don’t like the outcome. You just think ‘that’s not what I would have done.’ ”
Despite working with artists such as Elton John and Chesney Hawkes on his 1991 number one hit The One and Only, Kershaw decided to go back to performing and touring in 1999.
“Now I am in a position where I can pick and choose what I do, which has been my rough approach since I got back into performing in 1999,” he said.
“I can make a record every five years and do some touring. It’s the ideal situation for me.
“I still do a fair amount of gigging and getting out there — I’m touring the UK and Australia with T’Pau early next year.
“It helps keep me off the streets too! It’s amazing to go abroad and perform.
“I see it as a real privilege to still go out and perform in these places, such as South Africa, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
“I like to appreciate how lucky I am to still do this 30 years after I broke through. If there is still an audience that wants me to do it, then that’s a huge blessing.”
Kershaw is now in his fourth year at the Rewind festival, and the fact his hardcore fans keep turning out is why he keeps returning.
He says: “The festival has been going for a while now and it seems to get better and better each year, in my experience. It was quite big when I started doing it, but it’s better now — especially the facilities for performers and the crowd.
“There must be some kind of audience keen to have me back, otherwise they wouldn’t keep asking. Everyone who comes is there to see a few specific acts, but they might enjoy some others. I have some hardcore supporters who turn out for me.”
He adds that he can’t expect to sell out 30,000 on his own, but Rewind allows him to play in front of that size audience. The festival at Temple Island Meadows has other perks for Kershaw too.
He says: “Live Aid was a huge event back in the Eighties but it was very unorganised — not like it is at Rewind!”
l Nik Kershaw is playing the Rewind South festival in Henley on Sunday, August 23. Visit the festival website at www.rewindfestival.com