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20 Questions With Kyle Richardson

The Vancouver artist on staying caffeinated, being free as a bird & his travel goals.

Photo by Jeremy Sobocan.

Kyle Richardson has something to say — and isn’t shy about speaking his mind. The Vancouver singer-songwriter made that crystal clear with his confident new single Can You Hear Me, an uplifting and empowering pop-rock anthem that previewed right HERE a few weeks back. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about him, well, you’re in luck: He just spent some time answering my ridiculous questionnaire. Let’s hear what he has to say:



Introduce yourself: Name, age (feel free to lie), home base and any other details you’d care to share — height / weight / identifying marks / astrology sign / your choice.
Hi, my name is Kyle Richardson! I grew up in the outskirts of Vernon, B.C., but have lived in Vancouver since 2010. When I’m not working on music, I’m doing late shifts at my nightclub job, or pouring way too many hours into the latest Legend of Zelda game, or at the nearest movie theatre catching a new release!

What is your musical origin story?
When I was in elementary school, my music teacher was a family friend, and she picked up on the fact that I had a better grasp of pitch than the other kids in my grade. I suddenly found myself forced to sing at every school assembly / recital / Christmas show… I didn’t realize until high school that I actually enjoyed singing and performing, and took some very casual singing lessons while enrolling in my school’s musical theatre program. From there, I started learning some chords on guitar and began writing songs, which led to many trips to Vancouver to start recording and eventually I moved to the city to more seriously pursue music.

What’s your latest project?
My newest project is called Can You Hear Me, which is the lead single off my first full-length album, Louder Than Words. The single is an upbeat pop/rock song that I believe sets the tone for the album in a big way. I’ve taken a little bit of a break from releasing music to kind of refocus, and Can You Hear Me was the perfect track to come back with. I wrote it with fellow B.C. artist Andrew Allen and hit producer Jeff Dawson, and we wanted to write an upbeat song about living in the moment and being the best version of yourself!

What truly sets you apart from other artists?
I think my music has a lot of heart and feeling behind it. I work really hard to make sure the vocals exude emotion and positivity, and I try to come at my songs lyrically from a perspective that looks on the bright side.

How will my life improve by listening to your music?
I think my music could bring a smile, encouragement, or elicit memories of good times. There’s a heart and soul to my music and I think genre-wise it has a broad appeal. Some of the songs are much more modern pop, some have a rock edge, some have a bit more of a throwback, but I think there’s a soulfulness that permeates across them that will make you feel something.

Tell us about the first song you wrote and / or the first gig you played.
The first song I remember writing was a very depressing song called Maybe, with a main lyric being ‘maybe I’m not alone today, maybe I am.’ A little too upsetting, so I soon pivoted to writing some more upbeat songs about the good in life!

What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you have given?
I used to perform in a bunch of local talent contests in the Okanagan, and I had a group I used to play with. We won a chance to open for Steppenwolf at a local music festival, which was cool. We weren’t a rock band by any means but it was an awesome opportunity. Once we got there, we realized we were basically just playing to an empty field hours and hours before the main show actually started. I think the worst performance I gave was in the middle of a shopping mall in Vernon, as a teenager, with a single piano accompanying me. I sang Imagine by John Lennon and I had the worst voice crack of my life. I thought my career was over.

What is the best / worst / strangest / most memorable performance you’ve seen?
I think the best performance I’ve seen was Queen with Adam Lambert. The way Adam seamlessly fits with the band is amazing. His vocal is just insane on every song, and the band sounded amazing. Everyone had big moments to shine and it was so fun hearing their catalogue live and in person. John Legend was another show I saw and he was just in perfect form the entire show. The way he sang, played, moved — everything was just so smooth. The most memorable show I saw might have to be Bryan Adams. I obviously grew up listening to him on the radio, but I had no idea how many of his songs I knew. I think he played for almost three hours and there was maybe ONE song I wasn’t familiar with. He sounded amazing and I even got to meet him after the show.

Photo by Jerry Sobocan.

What living or dead artists would you like to collaborate with?
I’d love to sing with Kelly Clarkson, though I’m not sure I could keep up! She just can sing any song, any genre, and sound amazing doing it. I’d love to write music with John Mayer. I feel like his guitar skills are just insane and he has a cool way of phrasing his lyrics and I’d love to see how his mind works.

What artist or style of music do you love that would surprise people?
I really enjoy country, or country pop music. Two of my favourite shows I’ve seen in recent years were Shania Twain and Carrie Underwood. The vibe was so fun and the production at the shows was next level!

What words do you hope people use when they describe you?
Fun, friendly, talented, funny, empathetic, and nerdy.

What useful (or useless) skills do you have outside of music?
Useful skill: The ability to thrive on almost zero sleep.
Useless skill: An encyclopedic knowledge of televised reality singing competitions.

Who can you do an impression of?
I don’t really know any single person I do a great impression of, but I can do a pretty good Chewbacca roar!

Tell us a joke.
I love telling dad jokes… Sometimes he laughs.

What do you collect?
Too many video games, too many comic books! Haha — anything kind of nerdy. Once I’m in, I tend to need to finish whatever series and get everything related to it. I also indulge in a lot of bath bombs, for when I need to relax!

If money was no object, where would you live?
I would love to live in L.A. or New York City. I feel like they’d be such great places to live. There would be so many creatives to work with, so much culture in one place, and so many fun shows to see.

Photo by Erich Saide Photography.

What would you like to be reincarnated as?
Probably a bird, it would be so cool to just be able to take off and go anywhere! And they can still sing too!

Which historical event do you wish you had witnessed?
I wish I could have seen the Queen Live Aid concert in 1985. That was such a legendary performance — one of the all-time greats!

What’s your idea of perfect happiness / total misery?
Perfect happiness is how I feel whenever I’m working on a new song in the studio. I love the creative process and seeing how something changes from the first kernel of an idea into a fully produced song. Total misery is the dark version of the future where I don’t get to work on music anymore. Having a creative output is so vital to me. If I couldn’t do that, I don’t know how I’d function.

What are your pet peeves?
People who talk or have their cell phone screens on in movie theaters, singers lip synching, people on FaceTime in public, lineups.

What’s your greatest regret?
My greatest regret is not traveling more in my life so far. I haven’t left North America… this is something I can work on, but I wish I would have done a LITTLE more exploring by now.

What are you afraid of?
I’m afraid of settling into a routine and not challenging myself. I want to keep pushing the boundaries of what my potential is and work with new and exciting artists and musicians. I want to get out and perform at crazy venues, and I want to make sure I keep pushing myself to go further and further in this crazy music industry!

What would the title of your autobiography be?
Can You Hear Me.

Who should play you in the movie of your life?
It would have to be an actor who can sing, haha maybe Zac Efron, though maybe I need to start doing crossfit or something to make that a bit more attainable!

Photo by Jerry Sobocan.

What’s your motto?
A favorite saying of mine is ‘Where words fail, music speaks.’ Which I can relate to because if I ever need to say something, and I’m not quite sure how to get it out… writing music, or turning to a favorite song can really help express what’s going on.

What’s always in your refrigerator?
Caffeine of some sort. Whether it’s a caffeinated cola, an energy drink, some sort of coffee beverage… I have a very opposite work/sleep schedule to a lot of people so if I want to function… caffeine usually is a good assist.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I was a bit quicker to act on impulses and what I want to do. I tend to take my time and overanalyze what I am doing or what I’m working on, and I think I need to work on being more impulsive and get stuff done!

If you had one day to spend as you please without any consequences, what would you do?
I think I’d want to be in New York, see some Broadway shows, see a concert at Madison Square Garden, see some crazy sights, and do a pop-up performance somewhere! It’d be such a fun time.

What’s the silliest thing you believed as a child?
I remember one time at a family friend’s house, the kids caught a black widow spider in a jar, and I touched the jar and felt a static shock. They convinced me I actually got bitten (through the glass) and had only hours to live. We did an entire last day, last meal, last everything… I guess I was a gullible child! It probably wasn’t even a black widow.

What was your favourite class in school and why?
Musical theatre was the class I felt really opened up my eyes to the fact that I enjoy being on stage, and I love performing. It was a great environment to be around creative people all the time and have a collaborative space where we could express ourselves.

What world record would you like to break?
I’d love to break some sort of music record, maybe have the quickest single to reach No. 1 on Billboard!

What was the worst job you ever had?
I did one shift at a fast-food restaurant when I was around 19 years old. Never again, never again.

What’s the best and / or worst advice you were ever given?
The best advice I’ve been given is that there’s room for everyone. There’s always going to be talent – new talent, known talent, unseen talent – and there’s space for everyone to do their thing. Basically to be humble and gracious and always encourage talent to thrive.

Watch Can You Hear Me above, hear more from Kyle Richardson below, and find him on his website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.