In which I ask a musician some questions and have some fired back at me.
This fine Black Country singer-songwriter has a voice to stop you in your tracks. 2016 is set to be an exciting year for him following the March release of his debut record Into The Fire.
Richi Jones is a 20-year-old singer-songwriter from the small Staffordshire village of Albrighton. His beautifully crafted songs are carried by a voice that has a depth, range and tone that most of us could only dream of. I worked closely with Richi for a number of weeks at the end of 2015 on his debut EP Into The Fire which is now released and available to purchase.
We recorded 4 songs across 3 studios with 5 guest musicians. It was a delight working with a young man with such a degree of motivation and confidence, coupled with a friendly, down to earth character. Looking back, I can see how we brought the best out of one another and what a blessing it was that our paths crossed at the right time.
What does it mean to you to write and perform your own music and why do you do what you do?
It sounds pretty cliché, but I do it because I genuinely love it. Music is such an exciting journey because it is so unpredictable. You never know what is waiting around the corner, what your next song will be like, how good your next gig will be, and this is what makes music so exciting.
Can you describe the ideal Richi Jones gig?
My ideal gig would be an audience of people, wedged right up close to the stage. There is no better feeling than playing a gig where you can really feel a connection with the audience, and you can almost feel them taking the journey with you for that brief time.
What are some of the challenges you are facing at the moment and how would you advise other fellow artists facing similar challenges?
My main challenges are just getting my music heard to a wide audience, which is always difficult for an artist who is in the early stages of their journey. But my advice would be to not rush. Being successful in music is about passion, love and hard work, and if you have these 3 things, there is nothing stopping you from getting where you want to be, and even if you fall short, you should have the time of your life trying. I am just enjoying my music, not everyone is lucky enough to find a hobby or job that they are incredibly passionate about, so don’t forget that!
What has recording your music shown you about yourself and your music?
I suppose it has just given me a clearer vision of who I am and where I see myself genre wise. Recording is all a learning curve, and I have no doubt my second EP/album will be slightly different than the first. But it has given me a fantastic platform to build on and I am over the moon with how this first EP has come out.
What does the near future hold for you?
Well I plan to keep gigging and busking as much as I possibly can to get word of my EP out there. I also have a lot of stuff to organise for when I hopefully move to London in September! I am writing new music and am already thinking about what will be in my next EP in maybe 12-18 months time.
Turning the tables
Ask me any random question you like, it doesn’t have to be music related, just not rude ;)
Ok, I have wondered… if you could work with any artist in the world who would it be? And why them??
You know I was never one of those guys who could list their top favourite movies or albums! But for me at the moment I’m pining to work with the likes of the next Hozier or Jake Bugg – a new artist with undeniable charisma, where the voice, songs and persona, plus the backing of an incredible label and PR team all point towards an album that’s destined for success. At this point in my career I’m working with new artists and I love that. There’s a freedom in the way the music’s created and there’s an authenticity there. This seems to appeal to me more than getting to work with a musical legend on their 10th album, but who knows this may change over time!
Ask me any music production or studio related question – something that interests you or you want to find out about.
Ok, this is an in depth question! Similar to lots of musicians, I hope to one day have a home studio where I can record high quality music. If you had a budget of £5000 to set up the studio, what equipment would you recommend buying? (excluding a Mac and Logic Pro X because I already have them!)
Well my biggest advice here is to prioritise spending money on making your studio rooms sound good and continuing to invest in good instruments. This is way more important in my opinion than what microphone, preamp or compressor you own. If your live room doesn’t have a sweet sound then you’re up against it and perhaps even more importantly if your control room has acoustic and frequency related issues which prevent you from hearing things properly, you’ll struggle to making good engineering decisions. So spend money on getting your studio acoustically designed by a professional like John Brandt, but then build it yourself and with the help of friends to save money. Then buy a set of studio monitors that are as honest, revealing and unforgiving as possible. Monitors that make you work hard because they show you the honest truth about what you’re hearing.
Your creative brain is the most powerful tool you have in the studio, and after that it’s your ears. So you need to invest in making sure your live room, control room and monitor setup are helping you make great sounding music.