“The best songwriter of a generation”, those were Elton John’s words when describing Nik Kershaw. At 20 something years old, Kershaw was on top of the world. A teen Idol, one of the leaders of British pop taking the world by storm during the 1980’s. But Elton John was right. Unlike a lot of other teen idols that time, Kershaw was more than just a star, he was (and still is) a gifted songwriter.
Growing up in Ipswich, Suffolk, Kershaw released his first album, ‘Human Racing’ in 1984, When he was 26 years old and after founding proper management that noticed his song writing skills. The album climbed the charts with songs like ‘Wouldn’t It Be Good’ and ‘I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’. But it was his second album, ‘The Riddle’ where he really exposed his musical skills. Behind the crazy hair and 80’s clothes, the bombastic synths and dancing, stood a skilled musician, experiencing with sounds and untypical musical arrangements.
The title song, ‘The Riddle’ is a great example. Kershaw hooked lyrics together with no meaning at all, “Just for the vocal guide in the studio”, he once said. But with a very powerful melody, he was able to make those lyrics larger than life, making them stick into people’s heads, especially the song’s C-Part, going into deep dramatic zones, with lots of going on in the background.
Among others, Kershaw performed the song on stage at Wembley Stadium, playing Live Aid in 1985 in front in 72,000 people and millions watching around the world. He was only 27 years old, and looking at him on stage you could tell he is a little nervous (Who wouldn’t be?), But he delivered a great performance.
Today, Kershaw doesn’t stop touring with shows coming up in Denmark and home in the UK. You can stay updated with concert dates on his site, where Kershaw always keeps a sense of humour, one of his recognisable features from back in the day too. “Neither Nik Kershaw nor any of his representatives will ever contact you via email requesting your username, password, credit card or bank details”, It says on his homepage, “He may however turn up uninvited and demand to see your stamp collection.”