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Check Out Richard Wilson’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard Wilson.

Hi Richard, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I grew up in the UK near London – and my earliest memories as a little kid in the 1960s were singing along to all the great songs on the radio at that time – including The Beatles, Peter Paul, and Mary, Donovan and Simon and Garfunkel. In fact at that time – I wanted to be a Beatle!

I got my first guitar when I was nine years old and learned old folk songs – as those were the only tuition books at the time. I always loved writing my own tunes – and just vamping off a few chords I had learned and come up with my own melodies.

The emergence of Punk and the New Wave in 1977 in the UK, galvanized me to get more serious, form a band, play live and create an individual sound – which was the requirement at the time: Basically start something exciting, new, and fresh! It’s the template I still have to this day – just be yourself.

I played the network of pubs and also the college circuit gaining experience. I worked in the music industry for years selling recording studio tape and equipment – but still continued to perform music. I moved to the USA many years ago – settling in Los Angeles and now Memphis – where I now focus exclusively on live music -performing every week at The World Famous Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street!

I play solo electric guitar: An old pine Fender Telecaster into a reverb-drenched Fender Blues Junior tube amp – and sing exclusively my own music: Soulful jazz and blues. I channel everything into my writing: From Muddy Waters, and Clarence Gatemouth Brown to Dinah Washington, Aretha Franklin, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

I release original albums every year -and am currently working with great Memphis producers and musicians including Grammy winner Boo Mitchell and Charles Hodges of Hi Records fame at Royal Studios.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The post-punk and New Wave scene in the UK in the late 70’s/early 80’s made for some pretty rowdy gigs – and certainly sharpened up your stagecraft and musical chops! I guess you could call those early gigs my UK “chitlin’ circuit!”

Also – being true to your own vision of your music does come with challenges – as you strive to keep improving your songcraft. However, the rewards are immense when an audience appreciates your songs and responds to you.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I play my own blend of soulful jazz and blues exclusively. I explore the jazz side of blues and the blues side of jazz – as well as writing spirituals and gospel-inspired songs.

My mandate has been to keep moving the music forward – and these amazing genres provide such a deep well of expression to work with! I guess that what sets me apart – is when you see me live – you will hear familiar genres – but taken somewhere else!

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
I was always interested in singing initially.

I remember singing along to the Andy Williams and Tom Jones TV shows when I was young. There were Dean Martin and Perry Como albums in the house too – so I like smooth vocalists. My love of Bossanova and samba music comes from Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66.

I also liked writing poems and stories – so it was inevitable. I would become a songwriter – finding the right words to convey meaning in a concise way in a song! Punk and New Wave in 1977 was a revolution in guitar playing, to just get out there and do it -and learn on the stage by doing gigs and presenting your songs!

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