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Rick Astley is cool with not being cool

By | Published on Wednesday 11 May 2022

Rick Astley & Blossoms

Rick Astley says he “would have loved to be cool”, but he never has been “and that’s OK”. He says this as he begins a US tour with New Kids On The Block, En Vogue and Salt N Pepa, so that’s probably a good outlook to have.

“Nostalgia is not an ugly thing to me”, he tells USA Today of his view on the tour. “It’s having beautiful emotions about music you grew up listening to. If I’m singing in front of an audience, I’m seeing what they remember. If I can see someone turn to their husband or wife and give a hug, that’s really special and amazing. But the real emotion comes when I’m performing. You’re just part of the wallpaper of music the last decades”.

Indeed, he is still here, performing and making music 35 years after releasing his first single, which is more than many ‘cool’ acts can say. He’s even played at being one such act, forming a Smiths tribute band with Blossoms. And thanks to the ‘Rickrolling’ phenomenon and now TikTok, new generations are still discovering that debut single, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.

“It’s mad”, he says. “But that is what the internet has changed for everybody. You used to avoid your parents’ record collection like the plague, and I think that’s sort of dumb. I think the younger generation hears something and if they like it, they don’t care if you’re dead – if they like it, they like it. To have a younger audience get into my songs, you have to see that as kind of a bonus, even if it’s Rickrolling”.

“I’ve bumped into artists at festivals who weren’t alive when [’Never Gonna Give You Up’] came out, and they don’t disrespect me; I’m allowed to be involved in the world of music today”, he says. “I would have loved to be cool, but I’ve never been cool, and that’s OK”.

Sort of sounds like he might actually be cool. Don’t tell him I said that though.