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Rick Astley: “I’ve never been cool, and that’s OK”

Lorne Thomson/Redferns

Along with New Kids on the Block, En Vogue and Salt-N-Pepa, Rick Astley is one of the stars involved in the just-launched Mixtape Tour, and the “Never Gonna Give You Up” singer says he has no problem being on a bill that’s all about ’80s and ’90s nostalgia.

“I kind of feel all I have to do is show up and do what I’m supposed to,” he tells USA Today, adding, “Nostalgia is not an ugly thing to me. It’s having beautiful emotions about music you grew up listening to.”

Rick’s debut album, Whenever You Need Somebody, is getting the re-release treatment on May 20, and he says seeing the audience’s reaction when he sings the hits from that album — not just “Never Gonna Give You Up,” but also “Together Forever” and “It Would Take a Strong, Strong Man” — means a lot to him.

“If I’m singing in front of an audience, I’m seeing what they remember [about the songs],” he explains. “If I can see someone turn to their husband or wife and give a hug, that’s really special and amazing.”

Rick’s enjoyed a fairly high profile in recent years — not just because of the “Rickrolling” phenomenon, but also because he’s become an unlikely star on TikTok. Plus, “Never Gonna Give You Up” was used to great effect in the touching season-two funeral scene of the Emmy-winning comedy Ted Lasso.

“I was really moved by what they did with the song,” Rick says of that scene. 

He adds, “To have a younger audience get into my songs, you have to see that as kind of a bonus…I’m allowed to be involved in the world of music today. I would have loved to be cool, but I’ve never been cool, and that’s O.K.”

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