Singer, songwriter and producer Rick Astley is delighted that live performances are possible once again and he’s looking forward to an autumn of arena tours and much-needed local downtime at home in the Court…
Words | Lucy Donoughue
As the leaves in the Court start to turn golden, the nights draw in and many of us slip happily into semi-hibernation mode, there’s no sense of a slow down for local resident and world renowned singer, songwriter and producer Rick Astley. Following a summer of gigs including Latitude Festival and Chris Evans’ Carfest, he now has a packed schedule through to the end of the year, with arena events across the UK, Copenhagen and a sold out show at the London Palladium.
The prospect of this is far from daunting for Rick, who explains that being able to perform once again, following Covid, brings him a huge amount of happiness. “I really missed playing live,” he shares, reflecting on the past eighteen months. “Having concerts come back is so great for everyone in my industry and for people needing to feel that they are getting the joy back in life. The few gigs I have done already have been amazing, people need connection with others and music is a great way to get that.”
“People need connection with others and music is a great way to get that.”
‘Joy’ is the perfect word to describe the response Rick and so many artists and audiences have felt as they’ve flocked to stages and events. This summer’s Hampton Court Palace Festival had an electric atmosphere, maybe because of our new collective appreciation to gather en-masse and be moved by music and live performances.
The HCPF audience of Bastille ReOrchestrated also got a very special surprise this year, as Rick joined them on stage for a beautiful rendition of his classic Never Gonna Give You Up, which he later shared on Instagram. Hearing the crowd roar as he appeared and then sing his hit back to him is smile inducing.
“It’s always a treat to perform at Hampton Court Palace,” Rick says musing on the evening. “The Palace itself is incredibly beautiful as a backdrop and the atmosphere there is electric. I also love the fact that I see friends and neighbours in the audience, it keeps me on my toes.”
It’s hard to believe that after such a long and successful career Rick would feel anything other than completely confident about his talent and each and every performance. His popularity endures, and in late July he celebrated one billion views of Never Gonna Give You Up on YouTube, a massive achievement.
While sold out shows and astronomical views of his music videos are now the workday norm for Rick, outside of performing and producing he likes to take the opportunity to relax in and around his home in the Court. There’s a lot to love about it, he shares, and his sense of gratitude for the local area increased during lockdown.
“I learned to appreciate how lucky I am to live where I do,” he says, smiling. “We have a lot of open green areas and having the Thames close by is great for a walk to clear your head.”
The tranquility the area offers is important to him. “I enjoy the slower pace of living here. I can’t imagine living in a city again,” he continues. “I like being able to get into London easily but I love the vibe of Molesey, not too much going on but enough. Being able to walk everywhere for most of what you need is great.”
“I love the vibe of Molesey. We have a great selection of bars, restaurants and coffee shops for such a small place.”
Rick also appreciates the wide array of local, independent businesses and finds it almost impossible to single any out, above others.“We have a great selection of bars, restaurants and coffee shops for such a small place,’’ he explains. “Having the choice is what makes it great and there’s a healthy competition which keeps the standard up.”
However he was pleased, he shares, that The Mitre was shown the love and care it deserved last year, and has emerged as a great hotel and a vibrant local restaurant. “It was really in need of a reboot,” he notes. “And it’s great to have another fab place to walk to.”
Local downtime is precious to Rick and he’ll be making the most of his spare time in the coming months, before the festive season arrives and we welcome 2022. But what are his hopes for the rest of 2021,
now that covid restrictions are hopefully in the rear view mirror? “They’re simple,” he offers. “To see more of the people I love and do more of what I love. On a wider, less personal note, I just want people to get through this year and have hope for better years to come.”
Find out more about Rick’s upcoming performances at rickastley.co.uk
Follow Rick on Instagram @officialrickastley