If this wet and windy winter is getting you down, then you could do far worse than escape with the sunny vibes of Portsmouth singer-songwriter Richard Morris.
After four years of travelling, including two years of being a surf instructor in France, Richard decided it was time to come home and have a serious crack at his music, and now he’s got a headline gig lined up for The Wedgewood Rooms to mark the release of the new video for the track What Is Love from his EP Await The Sunset.
Despite giving up what sounds like an enviable lifestyle and moving back home, Richard says: ‘It’s been brilliant, so many great things have been happening since I’ve moved home. I won a Vocalzone competition, so I got loads of cool stuff from them, I’ve got this gig and I’m releasing the video with Vevo.’
He’s also been keeping an eye on the local music scene: ‘Since I left it seems like the music scene in Portsmouth has skyrocketed, with lots of cool things going on, and I want to be involved with that. I’m missing all the fun!’
Although Richard was born on the Isle of Wight, his family moved over here when he was 10 and the former South Downs College student says: ‘I’ve never really gone: “Right, I’m going to concentrate on my music”, but it’s now or never, and I’ve still got so much more to give, I’m excited about it.’
With his seven-strong band, mostly made up of friends and associates he’d known for some time, Richard hopes to start making a big impression.
Since I left it seems like the music scene in Portsmouth has skyrocketed, with lots of cool things going on, and I want to be involved with that. I’m missing all the fun!Richard Morris
Richard had originally been a solo performer before recording the EP, but since playing with his band, he’s discovered the songs have developed further: ‘The songs have flexed and changed, not heavier, but more festival friendly.
‘We’ve got a couple of songs with some horrendous dance moves,’ he laughs, ‘but we like them.’
‘My band are brilliant, most of them run Portsmouth Music Academy, so they do lots of cool things with kids and I try to support them as much as possible and they help me. It’s their first original band they’ve been in for a while.
‘I knew the band for a long time – I did music at South Downs, and that’s where I met Shaun, my guitarist, he’s been my best mate since college.
‘Through him, I met loads of them. When It came to doing the EP, originally it was going to be a little acoustic, solo thing, and then I invited Shaun in to the studio and he bought his banjo in, and his mandolin, and his guitar, and before we knew it, we had this massive sound on one track and it was like, well we can’t do that on one track and not the others...
‘It turned out to be a great couple of months in the studio. At the end of it, my producer was like: “Well I suppose you’ll need a band now? Can I be in it?” And he’s now our keyboard player.’
The band toured through France and Spain, but Richard now has his sights set on his home.
And he’s proud of the sound of his debut EP: ‘The EP itself it’s quite heartfelt, emotive writing, but the way we tried to portray it, I didn’t want it to be too produced.
‘I wanted people to hear how it was put together, and I think it’s come across that way. It has that nice warm sound to it.’
The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea
Friday, January 15