Kershaw in Germany, 2019
|Birth name||Nicholas David Kershaw|
|Born||1 March 1958|
|Origin||Ipswich, Suffolk, England|
Nicholas David Kershaw, often known as Nik Kershaw, born 1 March 1958, is an English singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer.
Kershaw came to prominence in 1984 as a solo artist. He released eight singles that entered the Top 40 charts in the UK during the decade, including "Wouldn't It Be Good", "Dancing Girls", "I Won't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", "Human Racing", "The Riddle", "Wide Boy", "Don Quixote" and "When a Heart Beats". His 62 weeks on the UK Singles Chart through 1984 and 1985 beat all other solo artists. Kershaw appeared at the dual-venue concert Live Aid in 1985 and has also penned a number of hits for other artists, including a UK No. 1 single in 1991 for Chesney Hawkes, "The One and Only".
Kershaw was born on 1 March 1958 in Bristol, England, and grew up in Ipswich, Suffolk. His father was a flautist and his mother was an opera singer. He was educated at Northgate Grammar School for Boys where he played the guitar – he was self-taught on this instrument. He left school in the middle of his A-levels and got a job at an unemployment benefit office. He also 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 solo career as a musician and songwriter.
Kershaw was unemployed for a year after leaving Fusion, but during this time he found manager Mickey Modern after placing an advertisement in the magazine Melody Maker. Modern secured a record deal for Kershaw at MCA. In September 1983, Kershaw released his first single "I Won't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", which reached No. 47 in the UK Singles Chart. It became a major hit in Scandinavia, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
At the beginning of 1984 Kershaw released his breakthrough song "Wouldn't It Be Good", which reached No. 4 in the UK, and was a big success in Europe, particularly in Ireland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Scandinavia, and also in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The music video, featuring Kershaw as a chroma key-suited alien, received heavy rotation from MTV, helping the song to reach No. 46 in the United States. He enjoyed three more Top 20 hits from his debut solo album Human Racing, including the title track and a successful re-issue of "I Won't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". This track ultimately proved his biggest hit as a performer when it reached No. 2 in the UK.
Kershaw's second album was The Riddle. The title-track, released in November 1984, proved to be his third international hit single, reaching No. 3 in the UK and Ireland, and No. 6 in New Zealand. The album also spawned two more UK Top 10 hits, "Wide Boy" and "Don Quixote", as it went multi-platinum. During this time, Kershaw toured extensively with his backing band the Krew, consisting of Keith Airey, Tim Moore, Mark Price and Dennis Smith.
In July 1985, Kershaw was among the performers at Live Aid, held at Wembley Stadium. He described the experience as "absolutely terrifying". The concert turned out to be the peak of his career, as his stardom 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 on a number of projects. Also in 1985, Elton John asked Kershaw to play guitar on John's hit single, "Nikita".
A cover of "Wouldn't it be Good" by the Danny Hutton Hitters appeared on the soundtrack of the 1986 teen romantic comedy-drama Pretty in Pink. Later that same year, Kershaw's third solo album, Radio Musicola, was released to critical acclaim but to little commercial success. The Works was released in 1989, also to little success. Two singles were released from the album, "One Step Ahead" and "Elisabeth's Eyes".
Kershaw's 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 No. 1 hit 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 two of the tracks ("Seventeen" and "Everybody Say Everybody Do") achieving reasonable success. Following this year, Kershaw appeared on Elton John's 1993 'Duets' album, where Kershaw not only wrote the song but produced, and played all the instruments on the track.
The year 1999 saw the release of the album 15 Minutes. Kershaw decided to record the tracks himself, when he could not envisage them being recorded by other artists. The album spawned two singles, "Somebody Loves You" and "What Do You Think of It So Far?", the latter a song described as "an elegant and soaring ode to the transience of time, infused with both self-doubt and an acceptance of life that can only come with maturity".
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 the musician's own label, Shorthouse Records. Neither Then And Now nor You've Got To Laugh was promoted by a tour. The year also saw the digital re-release of his 1980s back catalogue including Human Racing, The Riddle, Radio Musicola and The Works.
On 13 May 2010, Kershaw appeared on stage and hosted "Our Friends Acoustic" in aid of Mencap. He performed "The Riddle", "Wouldn't It Be Good", "Dancing Girls" and "I Won't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". Other 1980s performers joined him and performed their own songs, including Andy Bell, Carol Decker, Howard Jones, Jimmy Somerville, China Crisis and Steve Strange at The O2 in London.
Kershaw wrote songs and performed for the soundtrack of the 2010 film, Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks. He wrote and sang the theme song, "If It Gets Much Better Than This". He also appeared as an extra in the penultimate scene, presenting a copy of the book to Hawks for signing in the book shop.
Following the release of his eighth studio album in 2012 (Ei8ht, his first release to reach the UK Top 100 since 1986), Kershaw undertook a small tour of the UK, with some European dates. As part of each show he played the entirety of his debut album, which had been re-mastered and re-released in March 2012.
In 2012, Kershaw was featured as the lead singer on a new recording of "The Lamia", originally recorded by Genesis for their 1974 album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, with Steve Hackett for the latter's Genesis Revisited II album. He is also featured as a guest performer on the same song on Hackett's Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith CD and DVD, released November 2013.
Kershaw performed a solo acoustic set at Fairport's Cropredy Convention in August 2013. He was on tour in the UK and Ireland in Autumn 2014. He continues to perform at 80s revival events and festivals each year. In the latter part of 2015 he performed a 31-date tour of the UK, on a double bill with Go West, supported by Carol Decker.
Kershaw's first wife was Canadian Sheri Kershaw, herself a musician who featured on several of Kershaw's early albums. The couple married in July 1983, had three children together, and divorced in 2003. His second son was born with Down syndrome. Kershaw remarried in 2009 and has also had a child with his second wife Sarah.
In 2019, Kershaw received an Honorary Doctorate for his services to the music industry.
|Year of release||Album title|
|2001||To Be Frank|
|2006||You've Got to Laugh|
- 1985: "Nikita" by Elton John – Kershaw on electric guitar and backing vocals with George Michael.
- 1985: "Act of War" by Elton John – Kershaw on electric guitar
- 1991: Still by Tony Banks – Kershaw on lead vocals on "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 Kershaw. All instruments by Kershaw. Vocals by Kershaw and John.
- 1994: "Seventeen" (single) by Let Loose - co-writer and producer.
- 1996: "Walls of Sound" (single) from Strictly Inc – B-side "Back to You" was co-written by Banks and 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 featured 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.
- 2001: "Island" by Orinoko – co-written by Kershaw.
- 2010: "Come Out and Play" by Kim Wilde – duet with Wilde on the track "Love Conquers All".
- 2010: Heavy Rain (video-game) "Falling Backwards" Written and sung by Nik Kershaw
- 2012: The King of Number 33 by DeeExpus, song "Memo" – lead vocals Kershaw.
- 2012: Genesis Revisited 2 by Steve Hackett, song "The Lamia" – lead vocals Kershaw.
- 2015: "Lonely Robot" Guitar on "Humans Being"
- 2016: "The Sky's The Limit" on Fly (Songs Inspired By The Film: Eddie The Eagle)
- 2019: "Master Moley" 'BBC Production' - Composer/Writer
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- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 299. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
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- Archived copy of Dark Glasses article, 21 October 2001, archived from the original on 21 October 2001, retrieved 20 November 2011
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- Nik Kershaw - Then and Now, retrieved 1 June 2016
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- "Our Friends Acoustic @ IndigO2, London". Music OMH. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
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- "Genesis Revisited II – Steve Hackett | Credits". AllMusic. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- "Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith – Steve Hackett | Credits". AllMusic. 10 May 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- "Nik Kershaw to hit the road in the autumn – IRELAND ADDED". Nikkershaw.net. 5 February 2014. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "Nik Kershaw, Go West and T'Pau hit the road!". Nikkershaw.net. 2 April 2015. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
- "Todmobile, Special guest Nik Kershaw". Nikkershaw.net. 16 September 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- "Nik Kershaw plays on Radio 2 in Iceland". Nikkershaw.net. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- Kershaw, Sheri. "sherikershaw.com". sherikershaw.com. Web. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- "How Nik Kershaw didn't let the sun go down on his career". Belfast Telegraph. 23 May 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
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