Nik Kershaw (born Nicholas David Kershaw, 1 March 1958) is an English singer-songwriter. The one time jazz-funk guitarist was a 1980s teen idol. His 50 weeks on the UK Singles Chart in 1984 beat all other soloists. Kershaw appeared at Live Aid, and penned hits for Let Loose, The Hollies and a number 1 for Chesney Hawkes, "The One and Only".
Born in Bristol, Kershaw grew up in Ipswich, Suffolk, and after leaving Northgate High School in 1976 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", which reached Number 4 in the UK Singles Chart, and was a big success in Europe, particularly in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and in Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand. The music video, featuring Kershaw as a chroma key-suited alien, received heavy rotation by MTV, helping the song reach No.46 in the United States. He enjoyed three more Top 20 hits from his debut 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 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 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. Also in 1985, Elton John asked Kershaw to play guitar on John's hit "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 the same year, his third album, Radio Musicola, was released to critical acclaim but to little commercial success. The Works was released in 1989 to little success. Two singles were released from the album, "One Step Ahead" and "Elisabeth's Eyes".
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 two of the tracks ("Seventeen" and "Everybody Say Everybody Do") achieving reasonable success.
1999 saw the release of 15 Minutes. Kershaw revealed that he decided to record the tracks himself, when he could not envisage them being recorded by other artists. The album spawned two singles, including "What Do You Think Of It So Far?", 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".
The follow-up album, To Be Frank, was released in 2001. Over the years, 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 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.
Kershaw performed at Fairports Cropredy Convention on the 15 August 2009 and the Rewind Festival on 23 August 2009, on Temple Island Meadows at Henley-on-Thames. Kershaw also performed at The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich on 15 November 2009.
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 .
In June 1983, Kershaw married Sheri and they have three children. Nik and Sheri Kershaw separated in November 2003. Kershaw married Sarah, his girlfriend of four years, in June 2009 and is stepfather to Renee. On 10 June 2010, Kershaw revealed his wife had given birth to a son. They now divide their time between their homes near Little Dunmow, Essex and West Cork, Ireland.
Official Website: http://www.nikkershaw.net/