Rich Stephenson.

22 02 2012

After last nights disgraceful Brit awards, I felt the urge to just give up on believing in the UK music industry. If you look at it, you will see how awfully predictable it is. How the hell can you pick Adele over Kate Bush? If it wasn’t for Kate Bush, half these “artists” wouldn’t be around. Respect your elders, or more importantly- recognise that Kate Bush is THE ONE. That’s all there is to it. Don’t get me started on a bunch of teenagers with zero talent getting an award either. I’d love to rant about this, but I’d probably offend some jumped up arse who actually believes that X-Factor is important to the music industry.

I’ve just come home from unleashing some of this rage at the gym. I had some rage whilst I walked home, so I listened to Cold Cave and felt a wee bit better. I had a cup of tea and checked my email. What do I find? A lovely email from a chap called Rich Stephenson. As I read his email, I thought “To hell with what these mainstream wankers force upon us- I am sticking with the wonderful and unknown. At least it is honest.” Most of the music I listen to is strange, passionate and true. Rich Stephenson is another name I am happy to add to that list.

I should attempt to write a review on his single, Dust Storm. But I don’t want to. I want to tell you why you need to listen to his music. Sure, go ahead listen to the song here : http://soundcloud.com/rich-stephenson/dust-storm You don’t need me to tell you just how beautiful it is. You really really don’t.

I love any singer that just doesn’t give up, and keeps going- even when it’s all a bit shit. I admire that in a person too. If you can keep hold of your dreams and never compromise yourself and art, then I will think you are a good person. This just shines through in Rich’s music, so perfectly. In the email he sent, he said :

“I called off a session at the Royal College of Music Studios as, quite frankly, my recordings in my flat (with mandolins recorded in my wardrobe) were better.”

Having this independent and DIY approach to music is lacking right now. It seems to be about who can sell the most records and win the most awards rather than doing what you want, and reaching people’s hearts.

On thing in particular that did it for me is the fact that Rich has supported one of my favourite bands, and one of the best UK bands- The XX. Pretty cool, right? Rich has also supported We Are Scientists and has written tracks for E4’s Skins. How someone who has done so much is unknown is beyond me. I don’t get it, but he’s happy enough.

“I’m currently on my last legs: I’m independently releasing tracks, run out of finance – but wouldn’t want it any other way.”

How many other bands or singers would think the same way? Not many. Having this independent ethos is fading, and we cannot let it happen. Us true music lovers need to stick together and support talent like this. STOP illegally downloading music and go to your nearest record store and PHYSICALLY buy the music. Tell others about what you’ve bought. Champion local bands, go out of your way to find someone unsigned. This is why I love music, because you can do it. You CAN make the difference. This is why I keep at this blog, because I want to help artists like Rich. Maybe just one person will read this, and tell someone about him. For most it may seem like nothing, but it helps. It really does help.

Oh, and Rich is Yorkshire lad too. So, I will obviously have more love for him than most. You can listen to a recent BBC Introducing session here : http://soundcloud.com/rich-stephenson/bbcintrosession02-12


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