Rob Richings’ deeply inspired songs have attracted the likes of Massive Attack and Tom Baxter. Not only is he a local hero, selling out his local arts centre, he performed at his favorite iconic London venue.
Rob gives us advice about how to prepare like a professional and stay true to yourself.
Why do you feel compelled to write songs?
I am the type of person that cannot think fast on the spot (I’d be rubbish on a game show). I find writing songs gives me the chance to say exactly what I want to say and get my point across. I have time to think about what I want to write about and put the best possible words down.
Name one influential singer and what it is that makes them stand out to you
Damon Albarn because of his ability to write such diverse songs, they stand the test of time.
Have you faced any battles in life which have affected your music?
I had a 5 year battle with a serious illness. I suffered from Ulcerative colitis that also resulted in cancerous tumors, resulting in three major operations and life-saving ones at that. In this time my music style totally changed and song writing became a natural process for me. Music helped me through this in a major way and I promised myself I would give it my all to try and make this my career once I was back on my feet.
Biggest challenge to breaking out and sharing your music with new people?
Because of the sheer amount of music that is out there you need to do something very special to stand out.
Something’s that’s worked for you in reaching a larger or different audience?
Putting on a secret gig with a limited amount of tickets. This got everyone interested straight away!
A performance FAIL?
The strap broke on my guitar mid-song resulting in me dropping the guitar and damaging it. I didn’t have a spare one that night to carry on the set – Lesson learnt, always have a spare guitar!
A performance SUCCESS?
Playing the Union Chapel, London. I always wanted to play at this venue but didn’t think it was possible due to the amount of talent that has passed through that stage. A really inspiring place.
A musical lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
Watching the likes of Tom Baxter live and realizing how awesome some people are and how much I needed to get practicing.
A singing lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
When you go for a singing lesson you then understand that there is so much more to singing than just singing the words!
Most important lesson you have learned about social media?
Stay true to yourself and don’t take anything to heart. You will always get people disliking what you do no matter how good you think it is!
Most important lesson you have learned about vocal health?
Siren lots before you actually sing to get those vocals warmed up. If you are not sure what a siren is, look it up as it really does work.
A few ingredients of a memorable vocal performance?
The best vocal performances for me have been when I have been totally relaxed before a set. This is easier said than done though as anyone who performs will tell you.
At the heart of Rob’s songs are stories inspired by his own life experiences. With the tale-telling style of songwriting intertwined with his rich and sincere vocals the EP is reminiscent of The Housemartins and The Beautiful South.