Rick Astley sues Yung Gravy over voice imitation
Lawyers claim that Astley’s distinctive voice is a resource that needs to be carefully managed.
Rick Astley, best known for his hit song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, is suing rapper Yung Gravy for allegedly imitating his voice.
The singer’s 1987 hit is sampled in the rapper’s ‘Betty (Get Money)’ and features an alleged imitation of Astley’s vocals, something the singer had not agreed to.
As a result Billboard report that a lawsuit has been filed by Richard Busch, a music litigator who won the copyright case over ‘Blurred Lines’, in Los Angeles.
“The public could not tell the difference. The imitation of Mr. Astley’s voice was so successful the public believed it was actually Mr. Astley singing,” the outlet quoted the lawsuit, which alleges the singer’s voice was used, “In an effort to capitalize off of the immense popularity and goodwill of Mr. Astley.”
Nick Seeley (aka Popnick), who is the vocal impersonator on the song, has also been included in the legal action according to TMZ.
“My boy Nick, who does a lot of sample replays and recreating original samples, we basically remade the whole song. Had a different singer and instruments, but it was all really close because it makes it easier legally,” Gravy told Billboard in an August 2022 interview, which the lawsuit makes reference to.
Astley alleges song cost him a future collaboration
Deadline reports that the legal documents also state that Astley wanted to use his voice for a collaboration with another artist for a future project, but that the release of the song stopped that from happening.
The suit adds that Astley’s distinctive voice is a resource that must be carefully managed, and that he never granted permission for his voice to be impersonated.
While Astley is best known for ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, he also topped the charts with ‘Together Forever’ and ‘It Would Take A Strong Strong Man.”
As for Yung Gravy’s ‘Betty (Get Money)’, the song helped the rapper make his first entry on the US Billboard Hot 100, debuting at number 68 in July 2022. It also reached gold status in Australia, Canada and the United States.
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