Fuel The Fire: An Interview with Kyle Richardson

by - February 20, 2024

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Sobocan

With a pile of demos dating back almost 15 years and a strong message of hope and friendship to string them together, Canadian pop artist Kyle Richardson wanted his debut album to be timeless.

When Richardson first began production for Louder Than Words, he knew that he wanted to stop chasing what he thought could be popular or work for television or radio. Focusing on current trends was not how he wanted to create music, so instead he focused on what he could bring to the table: his voice and his songwriting abilities.

“I said to [producer Jeff Dawson] ‘I don’t really care about chasing whatever popular trends are happening right now, I just want to make music that will endure and last and not sound dated in a couple of years,’” he said. “I’m ok with just focusing on what matters to me and I learned a lot about what my voice can do in the process too because I had pushed myself a lot more vocally than I have in the past. I also got to work with a lot of different artists that really added a unique perspective and brought out some ideas that I wouldn’t have seen coming.”

Co-writing with Dawson, Alan Poettcker, Andrew Allen and Tea Petrovic brought forth an energy that Richardson had yet to experience in the studio, and changed the way he looked at the creative process. It inspired him to continue to try something new.

After releasing Louder Than Words in October, Richardson decided to scale the songs back and release an acoustic version of the album. Half of the songs feature a single guitar, while the other half feature a piano.

The concept for a reimagined, acoustic album was inspired by Gavin DeGraw, who re-released his debut studio album, Chariot, a year after the original release and included stripped back versions of the songs as well as a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Change Is Gonna Come”. It was an album that really left an impact on Richardson, so it was only fitting that he do the same for his debut album.

He thoroughly enjoyed the studio sessions creating these acoustic sounds and said that the process was surprisingly quick.

“All the players came very prepared and it was very rewarding seeing how the songs could still resonate when they were so paired back,” he said. “I know it’s a pop album, and I wasn’t sure exactly how everything would sound without all the production and without all the backing vocals and everything, but seeing how they could hold up with such a minimal version of everything was really cool to me.”

He knew certain songs - “Anything”, for example - would be perfect in an acoustic setting. Being that it was written with just an acoustic guitar, the original demos showcase just how stripped back he wanted to go. Other songs, such as “Fight The Good Fight”, took a little more crafting to get just right. Richardson said it is the biggest sounding track on the album, and he was nervous that it wouldn’t translate to just a guitar and vocal. In the end, he found a way to do it justice.

The first single he released, “Can You Hear Me”, was another track he was excited to strip down. Its lyrics encourage the listener to live in the moment and keep the faith.

“I wanted the three singles to be positive songs and happy songs that would encourage people to be true to themselves and love the people they know,” he said. “I wanted the album to have some really strong messages of hope and love and friendship and I thought that those were universal things that still resonate even though I had written several of these songs a long time ago.”

Timeless is what Kyle Richardson was going for, and timeless is what the listener gets. From full band to stripped back acoustics, Louder Than Words is everything a debut album should be.

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