To Top

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!

Contact Info:

Suggest a Story: VoyageMemphis is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Local Stories