Rick Astley vs Ren: Newcomer album chart challenge to 80s legend

Ren has been undergoing intensive treatment in Calgary after being diagnosed with the tick-borne infection Lyme’s Disease, after a long period of living with the autoimmune condition that he said left him virtually bedridden.

It followed a promising career in his 20s after making Brighton his base, where he was signed to a major record label. But he was dropped after becoming ill.

Since then he has rebuilt his career as both a rap artist and powerful songwriter, drawing on both his illness, and also his own battles with mental health issues.

In June he made a rare return to his home on Anglesey to present a cheque for £21,000 to RNLI volunteers, in recognition of their efforts to find his best friend who took his own life in 2010.

The death of Joe Hughes, 19, has played a key role in Ren’s career – with his first album Freckled Angel named in his honour, and a track describing Ren’s emotional pain at the loss on the new album.

It has also prompted him to call for more open conversations around suicide and mental health.

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