Richard Anthony

Today's PEV feature, Richard Anthony, a talented musician and longtime high school physics teacher has quite the story behind his latest release, "Connected". It's best to give him the floor to tell the tale:
"'Connected' all started with the song 'Even If' that I wrote when I fostered a 6 year old.  My family thought I was crazy...because I would get attached and it was a good possibility that he would go back to his mother one day.  So 'Even If' was my response.  That no matter what, the time we had would be worth it...It's hard to explain why it's so important to create the song once I had the idea, but I just felt as if I had to record it."
You can expect this kind of uplifting feel throughout "Connected", supported by sound that Anthony is told is reminiscent of James Taylor himself. Richard continues: "There are several songs on my cd that are in that folk-ish style, but I also like to experiment and try new things, so there are other songs that are electronic/dance. I didn't limit myself in the styles on this cd.  If I felt lyrics that would fit a dance song, I wrote a dance song.  If I felt lyrics that would fit a ballad I wrote a ballad. The styles of the songs relate to the mood I wanted to set." Anthony sure knows how to make the best use of his time, expecting the release of another CD later this fall. Keep an eye out. There's so much more to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ's.

XXQs: Richard Anthony
PEV:  How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

Richard Anthony (RA):  I've heard someone say I was like a new James Taylor.   There are several songs on my cd that are in that folk-ish style, but I also like to experiment and try new things, so there are other songs that are electronic/dance.   I think the thing that makes me stand out is that I didn't limit myself in the styles on this cd.  If I felt lyrics that would fit a dance song, I wrote a dance song.  If I felt lyrics that would fit a ballad I wrote a ballad.  The styles of the songs relate to the mood I wanted to set.  Writing something as personal as "Even If" was for me and making it into a dance song just wouldn't feel right to me...but writing a song about how I would do anything to be with someone seemed to fit a dance song and would probably sound cheesy it I tried to make it into some ballad or acoustic guitar song.   I limited my styles to fit the feelings I was trying to convey and my abilities.  I now I can't rap or sing hard rock, so that isn't part of the cd.  But there is anything from a ballad to dance.
PEV: What kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?
RA: I like a lot of different types of music.  I think my first CD I bought was Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" but I also liked 'pop' music such as Michael Jackson and even Debbie Gibson.  But there was also a time I was hooked on Tracy Chapman.  And then there are influences I probably don't even remember.    Someone mentioned that I reminded them of James Taylor and I remembered the name but couldn't think of the songs he sang.   So I YouTubed it and heard songs like "Shower the People" or "You've Got a Friend" and memories came flashing back. I would sing those songs in my head for hours and hours when I was a pre-teen. I think my style has a lot to do with what I loved when I was too young to buy records and people like James Taylor and others I have forgotten are with me today.  
PEV: A longtime high school physics teacher, you sing in the teacher’s choir and part of the school’s “Arts and Communications Academy”. How did you go from teaching to where you are now?
RA:  I still teach high school.   But I worked all summer long last year getting this album done and teaching gives me the time to spend weeks at a time creating new material.  Over my spring break, I worked on completing 4 videos for my songs.   One for "Connected" is on youtube now, the other three will be up when I release my next cd this fall.
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?
RA:  I want to be able to connect with the audience and have them feel what I felt when I wrote the song.   My first thought is that I hope I'm able to do that.
PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?
RA:  At times I feel held back because I'm not in a band and I'm just a solo artist, because I can't just create a complete song any day of the week with the help of the band.  But being a solo singer also gives me the ability to get inspired by so many other talented musicians.  I can work with whoever wants to work with me.  There are songs I wrote the melody for after being inspired by something in my life (many times love), and then had others work the music around that.  Then there are other songs that I hear the instrumental and that itself inspires me.  An instrumental can invoke a feeling and I try to convey what it makes me feel with the melody and lyrics that I write.    

For example, the idea for the song "Connected" started out after I watched a video on how some animals were mistreated.  I went into the studio knowing that I wanted to write a song about how we are all connected...to the animals and earth as well as each other.   Then I was amazed at the other talented people that made the song complete.   Then there are songs like "Make Me Yours" that after listening to many songs written, I heard this one and the idea of what I wanted the song to be about as well as the melody just struck me.  If I was in a band, I don't think I'd be able to experiment as much with such a variety of styles.  I'm not trying to record a lot of styles just to say I did...but if I hear a slow song it can bring a thought of a lyric that I suddenly have the urge to finish, and the same thing can happen with a dance song.  
PEV: Tell us about your latest release,  "Connected" and the unique bond that was formed to create this album. What can fans expect from this work? What made you choose this title for the album?
RA:  "Connected" all started with the song "Even If" that I wrote when I fostered a 6 year old.  My family thought I was crazy...because I would get attached and it was a good possibility that he would go back to his mother one day.  So "Even If" was my response.  That no matter what, the time we had would be worth it.    It can be related to other relationships that have to end even though neither want it to.    It's hard to explain why it's so important to create the song once I have the idea, but I just felt as if I had to record it.   What good was it in my head?   And after recording, what good is it on my shelf?  So I'm trying to get people to notice songs such as "Even If" and who knows, maybe it will even inspire others to foster a child?

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Richard Anthony?
RA:  I didn't like high school while I was a student, and now I'm teaching in one.  I suppose it helps me to relate to those that don't like it.  I wasn't a bad student because my parents made it clear that they expected good grades.   I'm glad they pushed me because without that, I wouldn't have the career I have now (which I love)
PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?
RA:  It isn't a career yet... I'm still working on that... It would be awesome to tour and make a living doing that, or get signed to a major label, but without either one, I need another job.   
PEV: What one word best describes Richard Anthony?
RA:  Determined.
PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
RA:  I'd love to visit Australia and see the kangaroos.
PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
RA:  Finding new physics demonstrations to show my students, anything outdoors such a bike riding, camping, gardening...
PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
RA:  I love looking for unsigned talent.  I heard there are around 13 million independent artists online today.  And most people only pay attention to the ones that get a major label deal and can spend $100,000's on recording and promoting.  But there is so much talent out there, it's overwhelming at times.  I can go to a musical at my school and get inspired by the singers there.   So I can't predict what's 'up and coming'...  I did get hooked on Nelson  Clemente's  song "90 Days" but he's not on a major label so I can't say he's 'up and coming' but you should search for him and listen.  He kind of reminds me of Pet Shop Boys which I also love.  
PEV: So, what is next for Richard Anthony?
RA:  I have another Cd coming out in the Fall of 2011.  I already have 3 videos made for 3 of the songs.  One of the videos turned into a 15 minute mini-movie.  I'm not even in that video, but it turned out to be one of my favorites.  I even got my parents to help with the video and they are one of the couples in the video.  It's about being able to love who you want to love.

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