In the heart of Middle America – Mansfield, Ohio to be exact – Becca Richardson was surrounded by music on a daily basis. When she wasn’t in her bedroom plucking along on an old Yamaha guitar, Richardson found herself being influenced by the music in a variety of ways. There were those nights in the kitchen that her mother dancing around the kitchen. After long days of work, Richardson’s father spun records from the likes of Coltrane and Phoebe Snow.
From her time living in Northern California and cutting her teeth in the San Francisco music scene to her current setup in Nashville, Richardson has spent countless nights honing on her goals. Today, the singer/songwriter’s bluesy lyrics examine womanhood, otherness, and the concept of autonomy are highlighted within her album We Are Gathered Here. Ghettoblaster recently talked with Richardson to talk about her childhood, life, and she feels “just left of inside”. This is what she told us.
You have traveled around the United States, setting up roots in various cities. From your childhood days in Ohio to Nashville, what has been the one thing that’s helped you along the day?
There are good people everywhere you go, you just have to find them. In some places it was harder to find ‘my people’, but i always found them. In any place I’ve lived, my happiness has always been directly correlated to the people and relationships I had there.
What was it about Nashville that intrigued you so much that you moved there?
I visited Nashville once before I moved here. I don’t know that I was necessarily intrigued. I liked it okay enough. Honestly, I wanted try create a better version of myself and I wanted something different than my Bay Area life. Nashville seemed like a place where I could do that. I’m pretty lucky that I ended up falling in love with this city and wanting it to be my longterm home.
You had some great influences growing up; bands like Fleetwood Mac and artists such as Cat Stevens are some examples. When did it become clear that you wanted to pursue you passion for music?
I’ve been musical since I can remember. I used to write songs on the bus on my way home from elementary school and get scolded for singing too loudly at the dinner table. But it wasn’t until my early twenties that I really started believing in myself and sharing my music.
I read that you always feeling “just left of inside”. What do you mean about that?
I’m a black Japanese girl that grew up in a small, white, rust belt Ohio town. At 18, I moved to northern California to go to college where I finally met people who looked like me but coming from my small-town upbringing I felt uncultured, and a little redneck compared to my peers. I’ve never had a good box to put myself into, which I used to resent a whole lot. Now I’ve learned to embrace it.
When did you start writing We Are Gathered Here?
I started making the record in the studio in spring 2016 but some of the songs were written long before that.
You worked with Roger Moutenot and Courtney Little on the new album. How did collaborating with the two come about?
I was introduced to Courtney and Roger through friends. I came into the studio to sing on some songs they were working on and then convinced them to try out some of my songs.
Listening to We Are Gathered Here, I hear your growth as a musician from the 2015’s Becca Richardson. Do you feel that you have continued to grow as a musician?
I’ve absolutely grown a lot being in a new place and collaborating with lots of talented folks. As an artist and a human I hope to always be evolving. If I ever stop growing I think I would be very bored and depressed.
I noticed that you have been on the road pretty heavily as of late. What is it like for you to be on the road?
Being on the road is great, I love playing for new audiences and getting a mini snapshot of what a city is like over the course of 1 day. I get worn out from traveling, but the shows energize me and keep me going.
What are the future plans for you?
I’m going to keep touring to promote this album for the next little bit and I’m in the process of writing my next project. After that, I plan on conquering the world.
(We Are Gathered Here is out now)
Becca Richardson – Website // Facebook