Canadian artist, Rich Chambers, chats with happy about building an independent music career and the process behind his electric tunes.
Coming from the release of his recent colour-bursting single, Summer Looks So Good On You, Rich Chambers opens up about his ventures in the music world, offering advice to artists looking to break ground.
Bursting with creative angst and passion, Chambers talks about his songwriting process, fighting for his work and what we can expect for his brightly lit future.
HAPPY: Hey there Rich! Where do you find yourself today?
RICH: Today was pretty much like most days! I woke up and went out for my morning run. I run at least 5km every day and rarely miss a day. I followed that up with about 30 minutes with a couple of dumbbells. Fitness is big for me. I then spent the majority of the day working at my day job at a local university. At night, I spent my time on social media promoting my songs and/or writing and recording new songs. I am hoping to start making enough of an impact with my music that I can shift out of the day job and just do music full time. I guess that is pretty much every musician’s goal though, isn’t it?
HAPPY: Congrats on the release of your single, Summer Looks So Good On You! Tell us a bit about the track.
RICH: Thank you so much!! I have always been very partial to this track. Its genesis came a couple of years ago during a commute home in a July heatwave. I was sitting in my car, stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, when Lisa Loeb’s song, Summer, came on the radio. I had heard the song before, but somehow the context at that moment was perfect for the song. I soon found myself singing along with Lisa and completely getting into the vibe of the song. When it was done, I decided right there and then that I was going to write my own feel-good summer song.
For the rest of my commute home I thought about how I was going to approach it. I decided to focus on the optimism that often comes with summer and the excitement and innocence of a new love. As soon as I got home, I rushed to my guitar and started strumming some open, jangly chords. 30 minutes later I had the song completed. It lends itself to Lisa Loeb a bit but also leans on The Beach Boys a fair amount. Heck, how can anyone write a summer song without leaning on The Beach Boys a bit?
HAPPY: Who were some artists that influenced the beachy, summer sound?
RICH: Well, as I said earlier, the track was sparked by Lisa Loeb’s, Summer, and of course, the Beach Boys are also in there big time! The theme of “innocent love” in the song is definitely more Beach Boys than Lisa Loeb though. I also wanted to get a fun and bouncy feel to the song in a similar fashion to Katrina & The Waves, Walking on Sunshine. My song doesn’t necessarily sound like Katrina & The Waves, but it has a similar fun vibe to it. Oh yes, and for the guitar solo, I was trying to capture a 60’s-ventures vibe, although, I still ended up playing the solo in a style that is very typical of me.
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HAPPY: How would a typical songwriting process play out for you?
RICH: Great question! I have two songwriting processes. The first is what I like to call the “wow, I can’t believe that just happened” process. That is where Summer Looks So Good On You came from. It is when everything seems to align, for whatever reason, and a song comes out of me fast, quick, and easy. I love it when this happens, but unfortunately it only accounts for maybe 20% of my song catalogue. The other 80% of my songs come from about 10% inspiration and 90% hard work, which consists of a lot of trial and error and experimentation.
I’ll start with a melody, guitar riff, or guitar chord combination and work it through many different iterations to find the best combination. If I can’t find something that “sticks” in my head I will leave what I am working on for another day. As a result, I have had some ideas kicking around for years before they actually become full songs. But the one thing that is pretty much universal for all of my songwriting is that the music almost always comes first, and it is how the music makes me feel that ends up dictating the lyrics, or story, that I write to accompany the music.
HAPPY: What advice would you give to musicians starting out in their solo career?
RICH: Be prepared to work, work, work. But also, be open-minded to all possibilities and all perspectives. The internet, social media, streaming services, etc., have created huge opportunities for the average musician to bypass a record company and do it themselves. But in order to do it themselves, they have to think like a record company. They need to be able to network, market, promote, sell, and do everything else that a record company can do. So, today’s musician has to be willing to learn a lot more than just music!
The other big piece of advice I can give is to don’t let “no” get you down. You will face a lot of “no’s” in this journey. I mean A LOT! Choose to learn from them and to improve and to get better and more determined. Always keep that dream alive!
HAPPY: What is one thing you would change about the music industry?
RICH: Today’s music industry is too compartmentalised and segregated. Why do we have so many classifications of music? People are remaining in their musical taste silos and are not branching out. I would love to come across a radio station that plays Dean Martin, followed by Billie Eilish, followed by the The Jackson 5, followed by Bryan Adams… and so on. I truly believe there are so many different styles of music that so many would enjoy if they were just exposed to it. When we stay in the silos the music industry has created for us, we never branch out to discover the plethora of awesome music that is out there!
HAPPY: What can we expect in the future? a new single?
RICH: I started a huge music push last year at about this time. It started with my 2020 Christmas album, Santa’s Rockin’ Band. I have since followed it up with three singles this year and will be following it up with new singles and/or albums every 8-10 weeks moving forward. (As a bit of an aside, the video for my single, I’m So Tired, has been starting to receive awards from Film Festivals for its stark social commentary, which is something I am quite proud of!). My next single will be out in the first week of September followed by another one in the first week of November.
January 2022 will see a full album and then I will be following that up with new singles released every 8-10 weeks throughout 2022. I have a pile of songs written and ready to go and am writing more all the time. I literally am having the time of my life write now! I should have started this whole music push years ago! But hey, one is never too old to follow a dream!
HAPPY: Thanks for your time Rich!
RICH: Thank you!
Check out Rich Chamber’s glistening new single, Summer Looks So Good On You below, and hold on tight for the wild array of releases to come: