Saturday, July 5, 2008

Nik Kershaw

Nik Kershaw (born Nicholas David Kershaw, March 1, 1958, Bristol, England) is an English singer-songwriter, popular during the 1980s.

Although born in Bristol, Kershaw grew up in Ipswich and after leaving Northgate High School in 1976, Kershaw worked as a shop assistant and in the Department of Employment for several years, during which time he played guitar and sang in a number of underground Ipswich bands. However, when the last of these, Fusion, split up in 1982, he embarked on a full time career as a songwriter and performer. In 1983, he signed a recording contract with MCA Records, a deal which spawned his debut single, "I Won't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". At the beginning of 1984, Kershaw released his breakthrough song "Wouldn't It Be Good", featuring a music video of Kershaw as a chroma key-suited alien. The song reached Number 4 in the UK Singles Chart, and was a big success in Europe, particularly in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and in Scandinavia, and in Australia. He enjoyed three more Top 20 hits from his debut album Human Racing, including the title track and a successful re-issue of his debut single "I Won't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". This track ultimately proved his biggest hit as a performer when it reached Number 2 in the UK.
Kershaw's second album was The Riddle. The title track proved to be another UK and international hit single, and the album also spawned two more UK Top 10 hits, "Wide Boy" and "Don Quixote", as it went platinum. During this time, Kershaw toured extensively with his backing band The Krew, consisting of Keith Airey, Tim Moore, Mark Price, Sheri Kershaw (his wife), and Dennis Smith.

In July 1985, Kershaw was among the performers at Live Aid, held at Wembley Stadium. His star began to wane soon afterwards and he enjoyed only one more UK Top 40 hit. He continued to record and release records, and collaborated with others. His 1986 album Radio Musicola was released to critical acclaim but to little commercial success and it seemed that he had outgrown his original audience with increasingly mature releases; The Works, his final album of the 1980s, was released in 1989 to little success.

His prowess as a songwriter served him well in 1991, when his song "The One And Only" appeared on the soundtrack to the British film, Buddy's Song, and in the American movie, Doc Hollywood. "The One and Only" proved to be a UK Number 1 for the star of Buddy's Song, Chesney Hawkes. In 1993, The Hollies had a minor hit with another of Kershaw's songs, "The Woman I Love". During the mid 1990s he also wrote and produced material for the boy band Let Loose, with three of the tracks ("Seventeen", "Crazy" and "Everybody Say, Everybody Do") achieving reasonable success.

1999 saw the release of 15 Minutes, a collection of songs that Kershaw considered more personal and mature. Kershaw revealed that he decided to record these tracks himself, when he could not envisage them being recorded by other artists. Both 15 Minutes and the more commercial To Be Frank (2001) were stylistically different from his earlier work, being underpinned by acoustic guitar rather than synthesiser.

Over the years, Nik Kershaw has collaborated on albums with artists such as Elton John, Bonnie Tyler, Tony Banks, Les Rythmes Digitales, Michael W. Smith and Imogen Heap.

In 2005, Kershaw released Then And Now, a collection of earlier material with four new tracks. In 2006, he completed another solo album, You've Got To Laugh, available only through his website or digitally through iTunes. This album contained twelve tracks and was released on his own label, Shorthouse Records. This year also saw the digital re-release of his 1980s back catalogue including The Riddle, Radio Musicola and The Works. Neither Then and Now nor You've Got To Laugh was promoted with a tour.

Personal life
In June 1983 Kershaw married his Canadian girlfriend of long standing, Sheri. She is credited with backing vocals on several of his albums, and was the uncredited lead singer on the B-side of "Don Quixote", "Don't Lie,". They have three children. Nik and Sheri Kershaw separated in November 2003.

1984 Human Racing UK #5, U.S. #70, AUS #35
1984 The Riddle UK #8, U.S. #113, AUS #39
1986 Radio Musicola UK #47, AUS #92
1989 The Works
1991 The Collection
1991 Wouldn't It Be Good
1993 The Best of Nik Kershaw
1999 15 Minutes UK #194
2000 The Essential
2001 To Be Frank
2005 Then and Now UK #182
2006 You've Got To Laugh

1983 "I Won't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" - #47 UK
1984 "Wouldn't It Be Good" - #4 UK, #46 U.S., #5 AUS
1984 "Dancing Girls" - #13 UK
1984 "I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (re-issue)" - #2 UK, AUS #17
1984 "Human Racing" - #19 UK
1984 "The Riddle" - #3 UK, #6 AUS
1985 "Wide Boy" - #9 UK, #7 AUS
1985 "Don Quixote" - #10 UK, #83 AUS
1985 "When A Heart Beats" - #27 UK, #92 AUS
1986 "Nobody Knows" - #44 UK, #73 AUS
1986 "Radio Musicola" - #43 UK
1989 "One Step Ahead" - #55 UK
1989 "Elisabeth's Eyes"
1999 "Somebody Loves You" - #70 UK
1999 "Sometimes (Les Rythmes Digitales featuring Nik Kershaw)" - #56 UK
1999 "What Do You Think Of It So Far?"
2001 "Wounded"

1991 Still by Tony Banks - Nik Kershaw on lead vocals "Red Day on Blue Street", "I Wanna Change the Score" and "The Final Curtain". "Red Day on Blue Street" and "I Wanna Change the Score" co-written by Banks and Kershaw.
1993 Duets by Elton John - "Old Friend" written by Nik Kershaw. All instruments by Nik Kershaw. Vocals by Kershaw and John.
1996 "Walls of Sound" (single) from Strictly Inc - B-side "Back to You" was co-written by Tony Banks and Nik Kershaw.
1998 Live The Life by Michael W. Smith - "Let Me Show You The Way" co-written by Kershaw, Smith and producer Stephen Lipson. Also features Smith and Kershaw on guitar.
1999 Darkdancer by Les Rythmes Digitales - "Sometimes" co-written by Jacques Lu Cont and Kershaw. Lead vocals by Kershaw.
1999 This Is Your Time by Michael W. Smith - "Hey You It's Me" - co-written by Kershaw and Smith. Backing vocals by Kershaw.
2002 The Riddle by Gigi D'Agostino - "The Riddle" - Dance version of The Riddle by the Italian DJ Gigi D'Agostino.

External links
Official Nik Kershaw Website

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