Rick Astley: ‘I had a record out in August and by March I was a millionaire’

From The Telegraph:

Over the six years following his first hit, Never Gonna Give You Up in 1987, Rick Astley sold more than 40 million records, including eight consecutive number one singles. Born in Lancashire, he lives in south London with his Danish wife, Lene. They have a grown-up daughter, Emilie.

How did your childhood influence your attitude towards money?
I was the youngest of four kids, and Dad, who had a garden centre before he retired, came from a large Lancashire family. Every one of my uncles had their own business, including a post office, two fish and chip shops and a painting and decorating business. None of them were titans of industry who made loads of money, but they were grafters who had the spirit of being an entrepreneur within them. It also meant I grew up understanding the problems that came with being a small business owner, like bad debts, VAT and cash flow.

When I was still at school I’d help Dad at the concrete yard he had prior to the garden centre. I was doing things there, like driving the tractors and forklifts, that most kids my age couldn’t. After I left school at 16, I was a driver for Dad’s garden centre. Ironically, after Dad sold it the new owners pumped in lots of money and it’s a massive going concern now.

Did getting signed to Stock Aitken Waterman when you were 19 spell big bucks?
Not right away. When I signed with them, they weren’t yet the powerhouse trio and they already had several artists on their books ahead of me in the pecking order. Then all of a sudden they were making number one singles right, left and centre, and I wanted a piece of the action. But I had to sit tight for a year – I watched them in the studio, I was a glorified gopher, but it gave me a really good perspective on the entire recording process.

So when did you feel like you were sorted?
A year later, in 1986, Pete got me a deal with a major label, RTA Records as it was known then, and I got a £15,000 golden signing bonus. These days that might seem like peanuts, but it was enough for me to not have any money worries. I had a record out in August and by March the next year I was a millionaire. But I’m a typical Northern lad, I didn’t go crazy with it.

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