Interview with Richard Goldsworthy

Interview with Richard Goldsworthy

 

In my internet and musical travels I have been fortunate enough to find and listen to some wonderful music created and composed by some wonderful musicians.

Another musician who specialises in calming music has come to my attention – Richard Goldsworthy.  I would like to bring him to your attention too.

Richard is an Australian who knows his way around the piano keyboard like very few do.  His soft and beautiful style makes the listener close their eyes in pure appreciation when they hear him play.

What follows below is the second of our series of interviews here at our calming music blog.  Richard has very kindly made available a few of his relaxing piano songs here within the pages of Calming Music Weekly – we certainly hope that you enjoy them as much as we have !

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CMW – Richard, can you tell us about your musical history – how did it all start for you ?

RG – My Parents say that from when I was a toddler if I ever spotted a piano I would immediately walk over and start trying to play it.  It seems I came into this world with “pianist” imprinted into my DNA 🙂RichardGoldsworthy

I studied classical piano for 12 years, played in bands, duos hotels and piano bars, but for the past 8 years have been fortunate enough to make a living entirely from the music I write.
I live at Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

CMW – You are a fantastic and very talented musician. What is your main instrument ?

Piano is the only instrument I’ve ever mastered.  I love its lyrical and expressive quality.  I can’t really imagine playing my music on anything else.

CMW – Your calming music style is beautiful and you are well known for this particular style.  What made you decide to play this particular style of music ?

RG – I’ve been composing solo piano pieces of what we’d now call “calming music” since I was a teenager, but for a long time I didn’t record them because I didn’t think anyone would be interested.

One day I bought an album by pianist George Winston (one of the founding artists of the instrumental music label “Windham Hill”) and realised, hey this guy is recording exactly the kind of music I write and people are buying it.

I then recorded my first album, “Firelight Moon” in 1992 and have released 5 more since then, my latest “Lifted” in 2012.

When I listen to music, I always like it to maintain a consistent mood, so have always approached writing my albums that way.  I’ve also realized that for calming and relaxation, many people seem to find the purity and simplicity of Gentle Solo Piano particularly helpful.

CMW – What is your definition of calming music, relaxing music, meditation music, and/or your style of music ?

RG – I think I helped to define that when I made my album “The Quietening”.  I called it that because I wanted to create music that people would use to find their own “Quietening”… the place that they go to just for themselves.  We all have a different “Quietening”… for some it is reading, for some meditation, for some music to drift off to sleep to, for some music to calmly watch the sunrise and start the day with serenity.  I hope I’ve been able to create music that fits all of those kind of moments.RichardGoldsworthy_Lifted

CMW – Can you please describe your creative, composing, writing and recording process ?

RG – I’m definitely a solo artist at this point and I write most of my music on “retreats” – times when I go somewhere to do absolutely nothing else except compose.

For me, half of the process is to take myself somewhere peaceful and inspiring, the other (and most important) half is to get all of what we do in everyday life (phone calls, emails, business, bills etc) completely out of my head – so I can create the purest music possible.

I wrote my album “Silk” in a Japanese Inn in the mountains near Kyoto, worked on my latest album Lifted in Hawaii and in the Arizona Desert, and created “The Quietening” in areas of Queensland that most inspire me like the Bunya Mountains and the Blackall Ranges west of the Sunshine Coast.

One of my favourite retreats is a Mud-Brick cottage on top of a hill in the forest, with a view to the ocean way in the distance.  It has no electricity, just candles, kerosene lanterns, a fireplace, and lots of serenity!

I’ve been fortunate to record all of my albums on a beautiful Bosendorfer Grand Piano at a studio called Grevillea in Brisbane.

CMW – Where do you get your inspiration from ?  Do you have any musical influences ?

RG – Solo Pianist George Winston is my Idol.  I also love Celtic music like Enya and Clannad.  My favourite classical pieces to play were Chopin’s Nocturnes (which later inspired my album “Firelight Moon”).

CMW – In your opinion, what is so good about calming and relaxing music ?  What are the benefits to the listener ?

RG – In the busy and stressful world in which we now live, many people find it incredibly difficult to “switch off”, to clear their mind, and to relax.  Focusing on gentle music, or even music with one sound like the gentle Solo Piano can be incredibly helpful.

CMW – What are the top 3 things someone should know (or be good at, or learn or understand) in order to become a successful musician in your genre ?

RG – To me, this style of music is about creating a feeling, an ambience, music that gently permeates the senses rather than makes a big impression.

I’ve had to learn the power of subtlety, the beauty of restraint, and as the saying goes, to “check my ego at the door”.

CMW – Who is / are your favourite musician(s) and why ?

RG – I absolutely love Sarah Mc Lachlan… she has a piano style something like me… but also the voice of an angel that I will never have!  Her piano ballads just make me melt.

CMW – It is well known that calming music such as yours relaxes the mind and the body. How do you stay balanced, or relax and unwind ?  Do you have any “relaxation tips” or “relaxation suggestions” for our readers ?

RG – Create the space for it… and be clever and diligent about doing that.

We all need some time each day that is just for us, even if it’s a drive to or from work where you just listen to calming music, the few minutes before you fall asleep, or to sit quietly with music when you first wake up.

One friend of mine who has 5 children has turned her ensuite bathroom into her ‘sanctuary’, as it the only place in the house she can go and not be interrupted.  She has candles, essential oils and even a sound system there to listen to her favourite calming music.

CMW – What other “strings to your bow” do you have ? Is music your only or main source of creativity or income ?

RG – I did a business degree majoring in marketing and advertising.  While it wasn’t my calling to work in those industries, there is definitely a business side to being an original musician as well as a creative one, so those skills have come in quite handy.

CMW – How do you market your creative endeavours ?  How do you make your music available to the world ?

RG – Perhaps unlike most creators of Calming Music, I actually love performing live.  I play at festivals, fine art markets… low key places where my music can gently catch people’s attention and add to the ambience.

The digital music world is also growing and evolving very quickly, so it’s important to stay abreast of that.  There are so many different ways to get your music these days, I think you just have to have it available in whatever way people want to access it.

I am surprised though at how many still just want to buy a plain old CD!

CMW – What is the one item that you could not live without ?RichardGoldsworthy_TheQuietening

RG – I’ve been fortunate to live overlooking the ocean for almost 10 years now, and I don’t think I could ever be very far away from it again.  Whether it’s seeing the sunrise over it, swimming, surfing, walking on the beach, or just smelling the salt breeze waft through the open windows.  It’s a very big part of my life.

CMW – Why do you do what you do ? What makes you get up in the morning ?

RG – Almost every day I get a message, a comment, a social media post, or a person come to see me playing live who tells me how my music has helped them or enhanced their life.

It may have put their kids to sleep, helped them through a stressful time, comforted a loved one who is elderly or sick, or simply just given them pleasure.

The fact that people take time to give me such feedback is priceless, profound and incredibly humbling.

I think I have the best job in the world!

CMW – What is the funniest or most memorable music experience you have had ? Did you ever throw a TV out of the window or trash a hotel room ?

RG – A woman stood watching me play for quite some time, then came and asked if I actually ever play live. Because I was playing exactly what was on my CD, she was convinced I was miming.

I guess she probably used to watch Countdown a lot!

CMW – What is your proudest moment ? Musical or otherwise or both, when have you stood back and said to yourself, “you know what, that’s really good” ?

RG – Creating my latest album “Lifted”.

My “mission statement” if you like was to create music to “calm the mind and lift the spirit” – music that was calming but still had a gently positive and uplifting quality.  Music that was relaxing but not sad.

I worked on the composition of Lifted more intensely than I have ever worked on anything in my life… until I was satisfied that every single note of every single piece was calming, positive, and uplifting.

When I listen to it now, almost 3 years later, there is absolutely nothing about the music that I would change. That’s the first time I’ve been able to say that about anything I’ve recorded, so it feels pretty good!

CMW – What is your biggest guilty pleasure ?

RG – Waiting until the tide is way out on a warm sunny day, finding a warm rock pool to lie in, and falling asleep in it 🙂

CMW – Do you have any words of wisdom or quotes that you live your life by or that inspire you ?

RG – Gosh, I could go on for ages here… but in the interests of keeping it simple I can’t go past Ghandi:
“Be the change you want to see in the world”

I think the best way to be of service is to live your own dream, be true to yourself while always respecting others (and our planet), and by doing so hopefully inspire others to do the same.

CMW – Where can people find out more about you ?

RG – My website and facebook page are the best places to find me – both online and live:

Web: www.richardgoldsworthy.net
Facebook: www.facebook.com/RichardGoldsworthySoloPiano

My Youtube channel also makes for some relaxing looking and listening – http://www.youtube.com/user/MusicforSoloPiano

 

 

CMW – Thank you Richard for taking the time to answer these questions and thank you once again for sharing some of your beautiful music !!!

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Matthew

Calming Music Weekly

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