RICHARD BASSETT - BIOGRAPHY
By PHIL SWEETLAND
(New York Times)
Bermuda, the Canadian Maritimes, Hollywood, and Nashville. Sounds like a dream vacation itinerary, right? In fact, those places are just a few of the stops along the musical journey of songwriter Richard Bassett.
The eventual destinations of this voyage and for Richard's inspiring and intelligent songs will be Country, Pop, Christian, R&B, and Adult Contemporary, as well as film and television scores and soundtracks.
He's that good, and he's that ready!
Songwriting competitions have long been aware of Bassett's work, with the Pop/Country "I Like It Like That (Tic Tac Toe)" getting recognition in the 2004
ISC, and his highly personal Christian song "Don't Try To Push The River" earning a prize in the 2006 Unisong Songwriting Competition.
Now the Artists and Publishers along Nashville's Music Row and the Film and TV Music Supervisors in Hollywood and New York are paying a great deal of attention as well.
Richard was born and raised on the island of Bermuda. "I'm a fourth-generation musician. My grandfather played piano, my Father played drums, I play keyboards and my son is now playing drums and guitar."
He has a remarkable academic background, earning both an undergraduate and graduate degree in Electrical Engineering during a 6-year stint at the University of New Brunswick (Canada).
"What got me into songwriting was moving to Canada, and hearing music both from the States and the UK," he says. "That, combined with being away from home, made me feel inspired to write songs during graduate school."
Within a few years of returning from Canada, Richard began making what he calls "voyages of discovery" to LA. There he met John and JoAnn Braheny of the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase, the staff at the National Academy of Songwriters, and TAXI founder Michael Laskow. His passion for storytelling and love for Country and Christian music naturally led him to Nashville.
The success of "Don't Try To Push The River" has been "a step in the right direction, towards establishing ourselves as pro writers. That song especially came from personal experience, notably the passing of Richard's father.
An uncle asked Richard to write a song for the funeral, but he found it too difficult to do then. "It took about 4-6 years for the ideas to develop within me for the song, and germinate to the point where I was writing about it from the perspective of a woman who has lost her husband," he says. Countless listeners have related instantly to the song.
Richard's other songs, cover a remarkable range of musical styles, yet they all are commercial, and radio-friendly. "Take A Number" is an up-tempo Country song with a huge guitar hook. "Let's Pretend" is a female piano ballad that would fit perfectly into today's Country or AC formats. "My Best For You" is a mid-tempo Country, R&B, or Pop ballad, with a filmic quality that seem to make it a natural for movie and TV consideration. One of the strongest tempo tunes Richard has penned is "Three Left Turns," which has a terrific Retro Country and Pop feel but would fit beautifully on today's Radio.
Bassett has been working with a top Music Row songplugger, and has been getting outstanding responses to his catalogue. "Most of the time, when he plays these songs for industry people they're interested to the point where they want a copy of it."
And how about film/TV music? "I just like the songs that make a listener feel good and give them goose bumps in a film. When you've chosen the right song that supports the scene emotionally, then you can take your viewers on a really emotional journey through the film."
Richard Trevor Bassett's personal ride to discover his own songs has already covered thousands and thousands of miles and many years. Radio listeners and TV/film audiences are about to finally get a chance to share Richard's journey, and make their own life voyages that much richer and more enjoyable.