Watch Richard Ashcroft's epic Surprised by the Joy performance

19 December 2018, 14:40 | Updated: 19 December 2018, 14:42

The former Verve frontman treated Radio X and an intimate audience to the first single from his Natural Rebel album.

Richard Ashcroft treated an intimate crowd to an amazing performance of Surprised by the Joy this week.

The former Verve frontman was being interviewed by Radio X's John Kennedy at the Hammersmith Club in West London on Monday 17 December - and he closed the event with a short stripped-back set.

Watch his stirring performance of the track - which was the first cut to be taken from this year's Natural Rebel album - in our video above.

READ MORE: Why Richard Ashcroft has remained silent on The Verve split

Richard Ashcroft performs at Radio X presents In Conversation With... at London's Hammersmith Club
Richard Ashcroft performs at Radio X presents In Conversation With... at London's Hammersmith Club. Picture: Jon Mo Photography

Speaking to John Kennedy at the special event, which saw the Music Is Power singer address a crowd of around 100 fans, Ashcroft discussed everything from the first moment he realised he could sing to why he's remained silent on The Verve's split.

The show climaxed with an epic, 10-minute version of The Verve's 1997 classic Bitter Sweet Symphony, which saw Ashcroft at his passionate, inspirational best.

See him play an epic nine-minute rendition of the anthem here:

READ MORE: Richard Ashcroft slams Mad Richard label

Ashcroft also hit out at the press and talked about being labelled 'Mad Richard' so early on in his career.

Asked about fatherhood and the perception of him, the Velvet Morning singer said: "That image of Richard Ashcroft keeping his shit together, marrying someone and having a family and not fucking up funnily enough wasn't the image that people wanted projecting, which I think says a lot of where we are now."

The Song For The Lovers singer added: "It was all about death, negativity and nihilism - that was the engine of this industry. That's why Kurt Cobain's estate earns so much now. Death sells in this industry, nihilism... They want that to be projected at all times.

"So when you're suddenly saying hang on a minute, I was in this crazy band and I was this lunatic. Check me out now. So not only were you calling me 'Mad Richard,' when I was a kid... So now we're all so right on about mental illness now though aren't we?

"But I was 'Mad Richard' then a few year's later I was picking up an Ivor Novello Award for The Drugs Don't Work. So who's the mad one? Who's the mad one?"

Watch our video below: