Nik Kershaw interview: Eighties star on visits to Kent as a child and learning to respect his biggest hits
PUBLISHED: 13:47 26 September 2017
The singer-songwriter performs this weekend at Margate’s Theatre Royal
Big hair? Tick. Natty line in shoulder pads? Tick. String of memorable chart hits? Tick.
Yes, Nik Kershaw was a quintessential star of the 1980s, a talented singer songwriter who strummed his way up the charts and will forever be remembered for the likes of 1984’s Wouldn’t It Be Good? and the Cold War inspired I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me - all from the million-selling debut album Human Racing.
He wasn’t as exciting as, say, the Frankie Goes To Hollywoods of this world, or as colourful as Culture Club, but he was a purveyor of finely crafted songs which have not only passed the test of time, but continue to adorn any self-respecting Eighties compilation.
He performed at Live Aid in 1985 and his album The Riddle delivered more success. But his time as a solo star was soon in decline and he went on to underline his songwriting credentials by penning the likes of Chesney Hawkes’ monster hit I Am The One And Only.
Now 59, he’s back on the road again, and this Sunday (October 1) performs at Margate’s Theatre Royal for a show combining the hits from his heyday and tales from life in the maelstrom of the Eighties pop hey-day.
But does he not ever tire of playing those hits?
“I did go through a stage, especially when I was asked to do some revival shows and festivals, of having a belief the old songs stop people listening to the new stuff,” he explains to KoS. “At the beginning of the noughties it was a frustration, but you can use the old stuff to usher in the new material. To treat it as an asset rather than a weight around your neck.
“You start having some respect for those songs. And to be still be able to stand on a festival stage in front of 25,000 people and have everyone singing your songs back at you - that’s amazing.”
He’s refreshingly down to earth, even admitting that he still gets stage fright every time he’s about to go on stage. And he takes plenty of comfort in the seemingly never-ending Eighties revival.
“I bump into the acts from back in the day more often at these festivals than I did at the time as we were all so busy. I’ve formed some good friendships through them as you’ve all been through the same things. We’re all just people getting on with it. You rarely find any divas at these things as we’ve all had a good kicking on the way down and we’re just delighted to still be here.”
Among those friends are Go West with whom he will be embarking on a UK tour next year which also includes Cutting Crew - a three-for-the-price-of-one Eighties night out which calls into Folkestone’s Leas Cliff Hall.
It’s a town he’s familiar with from days out as a child.
He explains: “I used to come to the county a lot. My grandparents lived in Maidstone so when as a child we had to get from Ipswich to Maidstone back when there was no Dartford Crossing so through all the towns and across the Blackwall Tunnel. Took pretty much all day to get their. We used to go to Folkestone and Hastings for day trips.”
Nik Kershaw performs Sunday, at Margate’s Theatre Royal. Some tickets are still available.