At the age of 21, Rick Astley emerged from the shadows of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman production house as their former tea boy became one of the biggest stars on the planet. His era-defining classic ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ topped charts the world over and catapulted the young Lancastrian on a journey that would encompass 8 consecutive UK Top 10 hits and 40 million sales.
In 2016, Rick celebrated his half-century by releasing ‘50’ - an album title that put a cheeky, middle-aged twist on Adele’s ‘19’, ‘21’ and ‘25’. “I thought rather than buying a Harley-Davidson I'd make a record,” he notes with characteristic dry wit. Having written and produced the album as well as playing all of the instruments himself, suddenly it was like he’d never been away. It raced to the top of the charts and began a seven-week run in the Top 10. In the months that followed, he sold 400,000 albums and 100,000 tickets to his headline shows.
He cemented that comeback with 2018’s ‘Beautiful Life’. It was an emotionally-charged collection with songs that celebrated his love for his wife, his daughter and music as a whole. His commitment was rewarded with a #6 chart position - his fifth Top 10 album. And the shows continued to scale up too, including special performances with Foo Fighters.
The BRIT awards winner of Best British Female Solo Artist of 2006 needs little introduction these days - the evidence of her success is unavoidable in Britain today. By her own testimony, her rather personal and reflective music is rooted in her adopted childhood; 'I grew up knowing I could have had a million different lives. It makes your life mysterious and your imagination go wild.'
She's earned a solid reputation as a live performer and also pioneered the use of live sampling in chart music, which features significantly in her concerts with the use of a pedal she refers to as 'Wee B**tard'.