Michael Green Interviews...Eleanor Richardson
By Michael Green, Apr 15 2020 03:29PM
Here is a Q & A with singer songwriter Eleanor Richardson. She talks about her experiences in music.
Where did it all start for you getting into music?
As far as being into music, my parents raised me on Nirvana, Pearl Jam and many more of the bands I love today. I think I first picked up a guitar when I was 8 or 9. I was absolutely obsessed with Avril Lavigne, so I guess she was the first influence I had who made me want to be a musician. My late Grandad was a very skilled guitarist, so whenever we used to go and visit him he used to teach me bits and bobs, as well as having acoustic guitar lessons at school; learning how to play Scarborough Fair and other such songs. I started having electric guitar lessons with the very talented Robbie Miller when I was about 10, for a couple of years. Learning with Robbie was my first exposure to recording; we made an E.P when I was 12 which I’ve still got kicking around somewhere. It’s interesting to listen back on it.
Who are your influences?
I have a few influences for different things. Vocally I tend to take inspiration from grunge artists. I like the raspiness in a female vocal. I think it adds a certain intimacy to a voice. I’ve always loved Ben Howard’s style of writing lyrics and playing guitar; so I definitely take a lot of inspiration from him. The songs I perform tend to be a very different mix of vocals varying from soft and high to husky and lower. Some of my musical influences in terms of style are The Murder Capital, Wolf Alice, Novo Amor and many others. I like to put my own twist on things, so I think having a variety of influences is really important.
With your music where do you tend to get your inspiration from e.g how do you start your songs & what's your process?
I take a lot of inspiration from poetry. I’ve got a book called I Wrote This For You, which is full of beautiful words and images. Sometimes I sit on my sofa, pick a random number, read the page and take a level of inspiration from it. I write about things that are personal to me, or at least have an effect on me. I always start with lyrics, every single time. I’ll noodle about on my guitar until I find something that I like that I can put with the lyrics and then the tune will come naturally from that. Always lyrics first though.
How do you decide on what songs to cover?
When I cover songs, I like to put my own spin on things; or do songs that I’ve not heard many people cover before. I choose songs that matter to me; or hold a significant memory or feeling. Being a musician is an incredibly intimate experience because you’re giving people a piece of yourself every time you play a song, so it’s always best to be something that you can put some gumption and emotion into.
Jackson C. Frank - My Name Is Carnival (demo)
How important is it do you feel it is to listen to current music as well as music from the past?
I think it’s very important to listen to a variety of music; not just from different eras but different genres as well. My music taste varies from laid back acoustic artists, to punk bands leading the way at present such as IDLES, to goth, to jungle, techno, trance and beyond. It frustrated me when people pigeon hole themselves into liking one genre; there’s so much more out there to be discovered, and so much that can be adapted to create your own unique style. I used to be like that, and since I’ve branched out I’ve become a much more open minded and understanding person; as well as more musically capable, I feel.
Do you feel it is important to watch other acts perform and to watch other live music?
I cannot stress how much watching live music is my favourite thing to do. While we’ve been in isolation, I’ve been a member of the Socially Distant Fest, which had 5,000 members when I joined and it’s now at over 100,000 in just 2 weeks. It’s amazing because everyone live streams their performances and it’s been amazing to watch. I would rather go to a gig than a club any day of the week. Whether it’s an open mic or a stadium full of people, I’ve never been able to match the feeling of experiencing an amazing live performance. Supporting local artists is a massive deal for me as well. It would be selfish of me to expect support from my peers if I wasn’t prepared to support them. Sometimes local artists can be beyond belief in terms of their talent, so it’s always worth really making the effort to support your fellow musicians.
Finally what tips do you have for anyone starting out when it comes to making music & performing live?
When I first started out performing, I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous. It took a lot for me to get up there for the first time and I’m sure in hindsight it was probably the hardest performance of my life. But every single time you do it, it gets a little bit easier. I guess I got to a point where I thought; in 5 minutes, no one will care if it didn’t go well. When I’m 80, I’d like to look back on my 20’s as a time where I performed, did what I loved, made good memories, and most importantly met some amazing people.
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