Lancashire Times
Voice of the North
Graham Clark
Features Writer
9:52 AM 12th September 2020

Interview With Andrew Roachford

Andrew Roachford will probably be remembered for his hit, Cuddly Toy back in the late 1980’s. Latterly he has been a member of Mike and the Mechanics, the band led by Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford. Roachford still has his solo career and has just released his new album, Twice In A Lifetime. I chatted to him about his career to date and about the new album.

The new album, Twice In A Lifetime has a Memphis sound on there was that intentional?
It was really, I listened to a lot of southern soul music, artists such as Al Green and Bobby Womack. It was a great platform to start with, we use real horns on the album and it makes such a difference to the sound. I am really pleased with the album and I want people to hear it.

Beverley Knight appears on the album, how did that happen?
I’ve met Beverley many times whilst touring and we always wanted to do a song together so when we came to record the song, What We Had it was a no brainier really, she nailed the song in one take. Beverley is for me one of the best soul singers from this country.

Cuddly Toy is still played on the radio now, did you ever think that the song would be so popular?
I never thought that when I recorded the song when I was in my 20’s that the song would be still popular 30 years later. I don’t really listen to what is in the charts now, I am more about gigging. When I was growing up artists had a mystique about them, now with social media it is like you own the artist.

Was it a big surprise being awarded a MBE for services to music?
Yeah, it was a complete shock. I had to read the letter a few times when it arrived. I called my mum straight away and she was over the moon, I felt unworthy at the time as you think of all these medical people doing wonderful things and saving lives.
Going to Buckingham Palace was a surreal moment for me and also my family who went with me to collect the MBE.

What is it like working with Mike Rutherford in Mike and the Mechanics?
Mike is a lovely guy, we actually met when he and the band were doing Top of the Pops when Living Years came out. When we got into the studio together it was a new challenge for me. We all have different strengths in the band but now we have been touring as a band with myself being a member, for 10 years. We have stayed in touch too when the band are not working together, we all called each other up when the lockdown was on. Mike is a great friend to me as well as being a great musician.

Do you listen to any current artists?
As I said I do not follow the charts these days. I listen to the radio and it is great when I hear something that hits me and I want to discover more about the song and artist.

How successful has the operation been on your vocal chords?
I had the operation over a year ago and I am back stronger than ever. I am a natural singer but I never had any training such as how to warm up your voice, as you get older you get more cautious.

You are going back on tour next spring hopefully, do you miss touring?
I do, I need to get back on tour as I miss performing. I have had some good gigs up in Yorkshire and Lancashire, Manchester is good as is Leeds and Sheffield - the Leadmill in Sheffield is one of my favourite venues to play - it is always a great crowd. I don’t think we are playing Sheffield on the tour but we do get to Manchester at The Ritz in early June. I am really looking forward to getting out there and letting people hear my music.

The album Twice In A Lifetime is out now on BMG Records
See my review here:

Roachford plays Manchester Ritz on 10 June 2021