Rick Astley Sues Yung Gravy Over Voice Impersonation
English singer Rick Astley has sued U.S. rapper Yung Gravy for getting someone to impersonate his voice on his 2022 track “Betty (Get Money).”
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles, the 80s pop star alleges Gravy (aka 26-year-old Matthew Hauri) caused “immense damage” by having Popnick (aka Nick Seeley) imitate his voice.
“In an effort to capitalize off of the immense popularity and goodwill of Mr. Astley, defendants … conspired to include a deliberate and nearly indistinguishable imitation of Mr. Astley’s voice throughout the song,” reads the statement of claim. “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.”
Gravy and his track’s producers reportedly got permission to interpolate the music and lyrics from Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up,” which was written by Matthew Stock, Matthew Aitken and Peter Waterman. But, since they did not get the rights to sample the song, they could not use Astley’s voice.
"A license to use the original underlying musical composition does not authorize the stealing of the artist’s voice in the original recording,” reads the lawsuit. “So, instead, they resorted to theft of Mr. Astley’s voice without a license and without agreement.”
MORE: Rick Astley Revisits "Never Gonna Give You Up" Video In Commercial
In an interview with Billboard published last August, Gravy admitted his team “basically remade the whole song. Had a different singer and instruments, but it was all really close because it makes it easier legally.”
Gravy said he tried to reach out to Ashley “and all I know is they came back saying he’s on tour right now. They said he digs the song and you’ll hear more later. He approved it and he’s a fan.”
The lawsuit claims that statement is “false.”
Astley, 56, is “extremely protective over his name, image, and likeness,” his lawyers note, alleging that by impersonating his voice on “Betty,” Gravy has ruined any chance that Astley can collaborate with another artist.
Listen to music from Rick Astley & Yung Gravy