Tuesday, 13 March 2012

"Singing is what I love best." Rise to Kim Richey- By James Nuttall

In the words of Steve Horowitz of popmatters.com: "Kim Richey would rule the charts in the land where Marshall Crenshaw was king, Aimee Mann queen, and The Beatles never put out another record after Revolver." One only has to put on her debut album, Kim Richey, to understand what he means.

Richey has been nominated for two Grammys for songwriting,  one of them being nominated for Song of the Year. She has has a hand in writing songs for the Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood and Patty Loveless, and collaborated with Ryan Adams. Top this off with her music has also been played on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and appearing on the Angel soundtrack, Richey has developed quite a cult following.

Before her gig on 4th March, I spoke to her about her career, and future plans.

Have you enjoyed touring the UK this time around?

"Yeah, quite a bit. I do it quite often because I've been living in London for a while. I've been going back and forth between Nashville and London but then I decided to kinda be over here more; but I love it over here, I'm having a great time."

Out of all your albums does one stand out to you?

"Well, you know they're all different, that's what I like about them. The first one will always be a really great experience for me because I'd never been in the studio making a record before, and I got to work with Richard Bennet and he played a lot of guitar on my records. He was wonderful to work with and I had so much fun on that first record.

I really loved working with Bill Bottrell on the record called Rise."

What do you listen to when you're not on the road?

"You know, I don't listen to a lot of music. I listen to a lot of pod-casts, just trying to keep up with news, and I'm always working on songs.

I've just been over in Australia for about five weeks before I came here and I really loved some people that I heard over there playing at a festival. One guy was called Shane Nicholson, he just has a new record out and I love that, so I've been listening to that a lot, and he's married to Kasey Chambers and I really like what both of those guys are doing."

What has been the highlight of your career?

"I've met a lot of people that I never thought I would have met. I've traveled a lot. I never would have been able to travel as much as I have and seen as many things without being in music. I got to meet Dolly Parton, she's fantastic, and all kinds of people like that. But I think the thing I love the best about it is just to be able to do it for as long as I have; and also to make music with other people, and to sing and play with other people, and with a whole band around you it's pretty amazing. "

Is there anyone you've particularly enjoyed working with?

"I wrote for the Dixie Chicks, but it was before Natalie Maines joined them, so they weren't the gazillion-selling Dixie Chicks, they were the two sisters and another girl who's not there anymore. They used to sing old country and western songs, so it's kind of a different band. I loved singing with Ryan Adams on Heartbreaker. That was a great thing. And I did a little tour with him so we got to sat up a writers-type show, so I got to sit up and sing with him all night on those tours."

Who influenced you to pick up the guitar?

"Well, my mom bought me a guitar for Christmas, and I'm not sure why! But it was a really cheap, bad guitar and she probably got it at a drug store. I remember it had an old, plastic, zippy case. But when I was about 12 we went to a guitar store and it was a Valentines Day present, and I got a hollow-body electric, it was really great.

I mostly started playing guitar so I could have something to sing with, because singing is what I love best "

So how do you write a song now?

"I'll play with music a little bit and then that will inspire me and an idea comes from that. Recently in Australia I wrote with this girl who is just a lyricist. She had a verse and chorus idea she said "We need music." I was just like "Where do you start?" I couldn't figure it out because the word go into the music for me. We figured it out in the end, but it was a different way to work."

So on the road or in the studio?

They're different. The studio's great because you just kind of hide out in it, and it turns into your whole world. You're in their with friends and you're making music, and just trying all these really great creative things. The studio's like a bubble. If you're a escapist in any way, shape or form the studio's a great place for you to be because you're not taking phone calls, you're keeping up with stuff because you're in the studio! You'll stay in there for hours on end and you can just get lost in it, which I love.

With performing live... when it really goes and there's this connection going back and forth between you and the audience, that's a really amazing, immediate kind of high jolt. They're different things and I really love both of them"

What are your plans when you finish the UK tour?

"I have about five weeks of touring in the States, so I'll be over there doing shows straight from here. I'll stay here and do some writing for a couple of weeks, and I'm going to go to Copenhagen and do some writing over there. I have a friend who I write with, who has a record out now that's doing really well out there, we're going to do some more work.

Then I'll go home to Nashville and I think I'll probably set up house over there in the Spring. I gave up my apartment in London this summer because I had the chance to stay in Stockholm. I've just been homeless touring, which maybe sounds more fun than it is! When you're not touring and you've got to stay with friends, or at your family's house... it's not very relaxing. And you can't keep track of your stuff! I don't know where most of my stuff is."

Richey sounds yet to fully settle into the British culture. The night before the interview she wrote on Facebook: "‎Wife swap starts in 30 seconds according to the guys out in the hall. I think it's a TV show. I hope it's a TV show."
"That was a noisy hotel I was in last night! I didn't go to bed until about two, and they were still at it all over the place."

If you could pick anyone to work with, who would it be?

"God, that's a good question. I'd love to sing with David Hidalgo. I love his voice. I'd love to make a record with Bill Bottrell again. 

I love singing with people. In a perfect world for me I wouldn't be the lead singer, ever. I love singing harmonies with people." 

Somehow we venture off topic towards the end and discuss her out-of-date Wikipedia page. "Wikipedia's just crap! I can't even go on my page, it makes me so mad when I look at it. It's just wrong! Don't even get me going on Wikipedia. 

Commenting on plans for a new album, Richey said: "We haven't started anything yet, but I think July we're starting. We were going to record in December, then we were going to record in May and I just said that I couldn't even think about doing it until I get settled. 

I've got a lot of songs. I always keep writing, right up until the end. I've got a lot of old songs that maybe other people recorded and I never did, or songs that were maybe more country than the records, so didn't make it on that I really like." 

Kim Richey's music can be purchased at: 

Follow Kim at: 

By James Nuttall

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