This time on The NAS 10 Questions, we get to know Rich Allen, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter based in Florida with a distinct rocky, bluesy, jazzy sound that transports the listener to somewhere magical and dreamy with nods to the 60s and 70s. Influences include The Grateful Dead, Counting Crows and Lyle Lovett to name a few.
The track "Surrounded By Love" is featured in the New Artist Spotlight Family of Playlists.
Link To New Artist Spotlight Playlists:
1. Tell us a little about where you are from and what you are currently doing.
I am originally from New Jersey, but I now live in the vibrant songwriter community of Tampa, Florida. I am currently hard at work recording a collection of songs for my Thursday Child project.
I am excited to share that I recently released a powerful new song called "Surrounded by Love," which touches on the delicate issues of depression and suicide. It is my hope that this song will provide comfort and solace to those who are struggling with their mental health.
2. What inspired you to start playing and making music?
My love for music has always been a part of me. Even as a child, I always found myself singing, but lacked the confidence to pursue it professionally. As I navigated my way through life and dealt with my own personal battles with PTSD and depression, I turned to music as a form of therapy. It allowed me to express myself and find solace in a world that often felt overwhelming.
I quickly realized that music was much cheaper than therapy and was able to bring me joy and peace. Through music, I found a way to escape my surroundings and work through my emotions in a creative and powerful way. This inspired me to pursue my passion for music and to share it with others who may be going through similar hardships.
𝟯. Who are your biggest influences?
My biggest influences are Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead on the instrumental side, and Adam Duritz and the Counting Crows on the lyrical side. However, I have a deep appreciation for many different styles of music and find inspiration in the storytelling abilities of artists like Lyle Lovett and the unique sound of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. Each of these artists has had a profound impact on the way I approach songwriting and creating music.
4. What are your goals in the music industry?
As an indie artist, it can be challenging to breakthrough in the mainstream and get the recognition that you deserve. Often, the industry relies on a few tastemakers who have their own preferences and agendas, which can make it difficult for artists to get their music heard by a wider audience.
However, I believe that true creativity, originality, and purpose will always find a way to shine through. As an artist, my mission is to create music that inspires and heals those who listen to it. I want to use my art as a way to exchange energy and love with my audience, and to create a powerful, positive impact in the world.
While it may not be easy to get mainstream recognition as an indie artist, I believe that the most important thing is to stay true to your vision and purpose. With hard work, dedication, and a commitment to creating music that truly resonates with people, I believe that any indie artist can find a way to make their voice heard and connect with a passionate audience.
5. Tell us about your creative process when you make new music.
My creative process of songwriting and recording is fluid and dynamic. Sometimes I find inspiration from a particular line in a book or poem that moves me, and I'll build the song around the meaning of that line. Other times, I want to capture a particular memory or feeling, and I'll work on finding the right progression and feel to develop the lyrics.
Regardless of where my inspiration comes from, I always start by creating a scratch track and setting my BPM to get a good sense of the tempo of the song. I also make sure to record to a click track to keep everything in time and on beat.
Typically, I start with the piano or keys and build the song from there, adding guitars, bass, and other elements as needed. I find that by building the song in layers like this, I can create a rich, nuanced sound that captures the emotion and purpose of the song.
Overall, my approach to songwriting and recording is flexible and adaptable, allowing me to respond to the needs of the song and create music that truly speaks to my audience.
6. What is your all-time favorite song?
As a musician, it's difficult to answer the question of my all-time favorite song because my preferences are always changing and evolving. Depending on my mood or current influences, my favorite song can shift from day to day. That being said, I can name one of my current favorites, which is "Deeper than Crying" by Allison Krauss. This beautiful bluegrass tune resonates with me on a deep emotional level and features some incredible musicianship and vocal performances. Of course, ask me again in a few weeks, and my answer might be completely different! As an artist, I'm always exploring new sounds and genres, and finding inspiration in unexpected places. That's what makes music such a powerful and ever-evolving art form.
7. What is the best advice you have either given or received in terms of music?
The best advice I've ever received is to stay humble if you want to work. It's important to always pay your band fairly and never undervalue your time or energy. Life is short, so you might as well go all out and embrace wild endeavors!
8. Proudest accomplishment?
It's difficult to pinpoint just one proudest accomplishment, as I feel proud of many things I've achieved throughout my life. However, overall, I feel the proudest about my ability to persevere through challenges and pursue my passions in an ongoing effort to better myself and those around me. Whether it's my academic achievements, my creative endeavors, or my personal growth, I take pride in the progress I've made and the dedication I've put into reaching my goals. Despite setbacks and obstacles, I've pushed myself to keep moving forward and strive for excellence in all aspects of my life. This resilience and determination is what I consider to be my proudest accomplishment.
9. Just for fun! What's been your most embarrassing moment so far?
I've had a few embarrassing moments that come to mind, but two stand out as the most memorable. The first was during a performance when I realized mid-song that my fly was open. I had to quickly turn around and discreetly zip it up while trying to keep my composure and not let the audience know what had happened.
The other embarrassing moment that comes to mind was at a concert when I saw someone from behind who I thought was an old friend from high school. I went up to her and gave her a big hug, only to realize moments later that it was a complete stranger who looked similar from behind. I was mortified and apologized profusely, but it was definitely a cringe-worthy moment.
𝟭0. Tell us about your lowest and highest points in music so far.
I often find myself torn between continuing my music career and dealing with the challenges of depression, which can cloud my perspective on the highlights of my journey. The music industry has its share of ups and downs, and I would say that the lowest point for me was when I made the difficult decision to dissolve the FR music project. It was a painful process, but one that I knew was necessary. I listened to my heart and aimed my compass true north, and ultimately it turned out to be the best decision I could have made.
On the flip side, the release of my first solo single "Crazy U" was an incredible high point for me. It was a thrilling experience to see my hard work and vision come together in that way, and the positive feedback from listeners only solidified my love for music and the path I'm on.
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