Nik Kershaw regrets nothing of his chart days. He wouldn’t change a thing about the days when the hits seemed never-ending.
But there were moments when it all seemed a little bit too much. He admits he didn’t cope with it all particularly well.
“I was playing professionally from the age of 21. I was in a functions band and used to earn my living playing music, but the band split up – and then it all happened in a two-year period. I didn’t have any work so I wrote some songs and got the deal. And then in 1984, it just all went mental.
“And then for some reason, everybody thought it would be good if I released another album nine months later.”
Whether that was a bad thing, Nik admits it’s difficult to know: “That was the Riddle album, and those songs came from energy and passion.
“But maybe it would have been a good idea to step back for six months. I don’t know.” says Nik, who will be returning to Worthing this autumn for an evening of songs and stories at the Assembly Hall on Saturday, September 30.
Described by Elton John as “the best songwriter of a generation”, Nik released eight singles which entered the top 40 in the UK 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 charts between 1984 and 1985 beat all other solo artists. He also performed at Live Aid in 1985.
“But it was very bizarre. Not even I could get away from me.
“I remember sitting down on a rare day off and pouring some cornflakes into my bowl and a badge dropped into the bowl… with my face on! I didn’t cope with it very well. I am not a natural ‘look at me’ kind of guy. When I was in the functions band, I used to stand at the back with a pint. But I have only got myself to blame!
“Of course, it was great, though. You would walk into the room and people would know who you were. People would come up to introduce themselves. That was great. I was shy, but people were interested in me, but part of that was that you became public properly.
“People would come up to you and poke you and just grab you for a photo.
“And then it quietened down. It was a natural process. Things just calmed down.
“I was nearly two years on the next album. I released it and it didn’t do as well as the other two and the writing was on the wall, and the last album… well, I think at least my mother bought that!”
It all called for a degree of readjustment. As Nik says he had years of seeing himself how other people saw him. In the early 90s, he concentrated on writing and producing… as he says, a chance to rediscover who he actually was.
Now he enjoys it all more than ever: “I can pick and choose. I can spend a day in the studio or not. I can take a gig or not, and I have now got a huge amount of control.
“I didn’t have that at all. It’s the old cliché, but it was like I was on a run-away train. And I think I enjoy gigging much more now.
“It’s completely different. I have got 30 years’ experience, which means that I hope I know what I am doing. But also now, I can just stand there and be in the moment and actually enjoy what I am doing.
“I didn’t really get the chance to do that back then.”
Tickets are available from the Worthing Theatres box office on 01903 206206 and online at worthingtheatres.co.uk.