Britain’s Daily Express likened pop singer Rick Astley’s coup to David beating Goliath.
After retiring at 27, the Brit pop star behind big ’80s pop hits like “Never Gonna Give You Up” and “Together Forever,” resumed his career at age 50, entering a music business that favors youth, and saw his new homemade album, “50,” come straight in at No. 1 on the British album chart last June.
Now, Astley is on his first North American tour since 1989 and performs Feb. 7, at downtown Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
Here are six things you should know about him.
1. He retired at 27.
“With our daughter being born, I looked around at my life. I had a good go at it, got lucky, kept my money. I had good people around me,” Astley says. “Something inside me said, ‘You’re done. You had some hits in America and that doesn’t always happen with British artists. Get out when the getting’s good.’ Boxers quit when they are ahead, and everything’s intact. It was a bit weird to retire at that age, but it was the best decision I ever made.”
2. He came back at 50 and hit No. 1 with “50.”
“50,” in which Astley plays all the instruments, is more mature compared to the dance-pop Astley is known for. The album “started from the fun and joy of doing it,” he says. He wrote and recorded it in a home studio behind his kitchen.
“I played it to a few friends who write hit songs for young guys, and they are honest enough to say to me, ‘Actually, that’s really good. You should do something about this.’ I got the right message from them. I feel like I’ve been given like a magical moment with this record.”
Astley also briefly returned to the spotlight during the Republican National Convention last year when now-First Lady Melania Trump told the audience her husband would “never, ever give up. He will never, ever let you down.”
3. Rick Astley was a punk rocker.
After 27 and pre-“50,” Astley played drums and sang in a three-piece punk rock trio at Shepherd’s Bush Empire music venue in London for charity gigs. His band played songs by the Sex Pistols and Foo Fighters.
4. There’s always a Miami connection.
“I was in Miami but not for work about a year ago on my birthday [Feb. 6]. We went to the Florida Keys because we love the ‘Bloodline’ TV show,” Astley says of the Netflix drama that is filmed in the Keys.
Astley, his wife, film producer Lene Bausager, their daughter Emilie and her boyfriend, spent a couple nights in Miami Beach and then drove south to trace the show’s Keys locations.
“I’d been to Miami once or twice before but never that Florida Keys trip,” Astley says. “It’s great. It’s one of those places if you don’t live there, if you’re from the UK, you’ve seen it so many times in movies and in TV shows. We were quite impressed with Miami as a city. We went to a few museums and stuff.”
5. Astley is cool with Rickrolling.
“It’s been good to me,” Astley says of the 10-year-old viral internet phenomenon that redirects viewers to a video for “Never Gonna Give You Up” after they click on an unrelated link.
“It’s not mean, it’s not horrible and, to be honest, it could have been any cheesy ’80s video, but someone chose mine. My main concern was, would it upset our daughter, and it didn’t. She was about 15 when that happened and she, to her credit, said, ‘Don’t sweat it. It’s got nothing to do with you. Let it do its thing.’ She is of this generation that could see it for what it was.”
6. Astley has plans for “75.”
“At 75, I want to own a restaurant on the beach in Italy with my wife and wear a different-colored outfit every night and croon on stage.”