(born Nicholas David Kershaw
, 1 March 1958) is an English singer-songwriter. The former jazz-funk guitarist was a 1980s teen idol. His 62 weeks on the UK Singles Chart in 1984 beat all other soloists. Kershaw appeared at Live Aid in 1985, and has penned a number of hits for other artists, including a UK number one single in 1991 for Chesney Hawkes, "The One and Only". Kershaw is known for the tracks, like "I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", "Wouldn't It Be Good" and "The Riddle".Elton John, a friend of Kershaw, said Kershaw is "one of the best songwriters of a generation".1970sBorn in Bristol, Kershaw grew up in Ipswich, Suffolk. He was educated at Northgate Grammar School for Boys where he played guitar and was self-taught. He 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 September, 1983, a young Kershaw released his first single "I Won't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", however it reached Number 47 in the UK Singles Chart. It has become very popular only in Scandinavia, Switzerland and in Netherlands.At the beginning of 1984 Kershaw released first breakthrough song "Wouldn't It Be Good", which reached Number 4 in UK, and was a big success in Europe, particularly in Ireland, 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, released in November 1984, proved to be third international hit single, reaching Number 3 in the UK and Ireland, and Number 6 in New Zealand, 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, 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, "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".
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 & Gary BarlowIn 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
.In August 2009, Kershaw performed at Fairports Cropredy Convention and the Rewind Festival on Temple Island Meadows at Henley-on-Thames.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
), 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, he was featured as the lead singer on a new recording of "The Lamia", an old Genesis song from The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
album, with Steve Hackett for the latter's Genesis Revisited II
album. He also is featured as a guest performer on the same song on the Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith
CD and DVD, that was released in November 2013.Kershaw performed a solo acoustic set at Fairport's Cropredy Convention in August 2013.
Kershaw's first wife was Canadian-born Sheri, herself a musician who featured on several of Kershaw's early albums. They had three sons, the second of whom has Down Syndrome. In the early 2000s they divorced after more than 20 years of marriage.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.