'We woke everybody up': BMG's Alistair Norbury on the return of Rick Astley

'We woke everybody up': BMG's Alistair Norbury on the return of Rick Astley

BMG's Alistair Norbury has tipped Rick Astley's upcoming new album Beautiful Life to be another hit for the resurgent singer.

Astley's comeback LP 50 was a surprise smash upon its release in 2016 and has sold 307,811 copies to date, according to the Official Charts Company. 

Norbury, BMG's president, repertoire & marketing, said Beautiful Life, which drops on July 20, was the label's "big Q3 release", but stopped short of setting specific targets.

He told Music Week: "Will it do as well as the last record? I’m not going to say that. Is it going to do extremely well for us? Yes, it will, the signs are already extremely positive.

"The fact that for the second time running he's written, played every instrument, produced the record and delivered another classic album in the space of two-and-a-half years is remarkable." 

Norbury said the record, Astley's ninth studio album, was completed much sooner than anticipated.

"I remember when we finished the campaign of 50, people were queueing up to work with Rick in terms of co-writers and producers," he said.

"I imagined that this next record would take a fairly long time for him to travel around the world and write with different people in LA and Nashville, in London. So when he called up and said, 'I've been back down the garden shed and I want to come in and play you the record,' it was quite a surprise."

Astley will soon hit the promotional trail in support of Beautiful Life, and Norbury likens the 52-year-old's media appeal to that of his former Stock Aitken Waterman associate Kylie Minogue, with whom he was recently reunited at BMG. 

"He's very willing to do promotion and the experience that we've had - whether it's doing TVs, press, radio - it's always done with incredible goodwill and a great sense of humour," he said.

"The promotional plot that they're putting together at the moment is fantastic. We have it similarly with Kylie, she's absolutely TV gold and everybody loves her and Rick is very similar. He embraces his history as well as the future so he's absolutely delighted to be on TV, on the radio and in the newspapers and presenting and promoting an album that's so deep rooted in his talents. 

"We woke everybody up last time and everyone now knows Rick's back, they know that he's capable of writing and producing great music and frankly he's done it again. It is a privilege to have him on our roster."

See the new issue of Music Week or click here to read our cover story with Astley, including contributions from BMG executives Norbury, Gemma Reilly and Korda Marshall.

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