Interview – Rich Chambers

I recently completed a round-up review of songs with a holiday/Christmas theme to them. One of the tracks I reviewed was by Canadian musician Rich Chambers, with the song being called It’s Christmas Time (All Over The World). Read on below to find out more about Rich and his music!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a new track titled It’s Christmas Time (All Over The World). What can you tell us about the track and where can it be purchased?

For my day job, I work at a University in Vancouver, Canada. I am a huge advocate of education and firmly believe in its power, so in many ways, it has been a very natural fit for me to work in the post-secondary field. I am quite proud of the work I do there. Okay, I don’t want to digress too much into the attributes of education, at least in this particular context, but I do have to at least mention it as this song has its roots there.

A few years back I started recording Christmas songs that I would send out just before Christmas to all my post-secondary colleagues. These songs were kind of like my Christmas cards to everyone. I had a pile of fun doing it and most seemed pretty appreciative of my efforts.

One particular year, in early August, one of my colleagues stopped me in the hallway and asked me if I was going to be sending out another Christmas song that year. I was kind of surprised with how excited she was about it and I told her that I had no idea that anyone was enjoying my songs to the extent that she was. She said that she most definitely was and that she had all my previous efforts saved on her computer and was super excited to hear what I would be sending out that coming Christmas. I thanked her profusely and told her she had literally made my day, which she most definitely had.

That evening, when I got home from work, I was still feeling the effects of such wonderful feedback. I sat down with my guitar and just started thumbing through a few chords. I guess you could say the inspiration had been planted because in no time at all, I was humming the chorus of It’s Christmas Time (All Over The World). From there, the rest of the song came out quickly and easily. It was a wonderful moment, sparked by the heartfelt and sincere sentiments from my colleague, which in many ways constitutes the foundation of what Christmas is, at least to me. Christmas is all about wonderful moments filled with heartfelt sincerity. That is where this song came from and that is a big reason why I am so proud of it!

The track can be found on every streaming platform, including Spotify, Amazon Music, iTunes, Deezer, etc.

Would you ever consider doing more Christmas/holiday songs in the future? How do you celebrate the holidays?

I absolutely love Christmas songs, so I would most definitely consider doing another Christmas album in the future. But I would only do it if I could find the right cover songs to record with arrangements that are respectful of the original sentiment of the song while also having an original flare to them. I would also want to include some more original Christmas songs, so I would only do it if I had a few new originals ready to go, which I don’t at the moment. But I am always writing songs, so I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if a few new Christmas songs come out of me in the next little while.

I celebrate the holiday with family and friends at the forefront! I love my Christmas music and my Christmas movies as well. One particular tradition I do every year is on Christmas Eve. We always host Christmas Eve at our place, and after the guests have gone and the family is gone to bed, I watch, in honour of my mom, Alastair Sim in the 1951 British A Christmas Carol. Mom introduced me to the movie when I was a young boy and we used to watch it together every year on Christmas Eve. Since she passed, I have been watching it on my own, with her memory, every Christmas Eve since.

Have you got any plans to release a full-length album or an EP anytime soon?

Yes, I most certainly do! I have just released one single called I Wonder and will be releasing two more in early 2022. The second of these singles will also be accompanied by a full album, which will be made up of the two singles from 2022 as well as all my singles from 2021 plus a few other songs. After that, I will start releasing singles again, which will eventually lead me to my second album, planned for late 2022. This release strategy is all about keeping my name constantly at the forefront. As a new emerging artist, I never want people to say, “what happened to Rich?” I want to always be present and have a new song leading the way, so every eight to ten weeks in 2022, you can expect to hear a new single from me. I am fortunate in that I have a pretty big backlog of songs written, which is allowing me to utilize this release strategy.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

I absolutely love the writing and recording process. Yes, I love the guitar and I love to sing, but they are merely the tools for the songwriting. Songwriting is where my true passion lies, and since becoming my own producer, I have realized how important recording and arranging is in giving a song its shape and design, which has led me to a love of recording.

Songwriting for me, can happen anywhere and anytime. It seems that there is always some kind of music going through my head 24/7. Lots of times it’s other people’s songs, but sometimes it is just an ‘idea’, or it can be a full song of my own creation completely arranged inside my head. The key is that I always try and keep myself in tune to this and when I do come up with an idea or a song, I will quickly fire up the computer and record the idea. From the idea, I will ‘roll up my sleeves’ and go through the work of putting a full song together. Sometimes though, I simply enjoy sitting down without any preconceived ideas and telling myself, “I am going to write this type of song today.” It doesn’t always work out, but more often than not it does. Songwriting is something that I have always loved to do and something that feels extremely natural to me.

I am very particular when it comes to the recording process. The best thing I ever did was get a good computer, some great software, and a really good audio/digital converter. This has allowed me to set up my own home studio, which has given me the freedom to take my time on the recording process and experiment with all kinds of different playing and sounds. It is not uncommon for me to spend four hours working on a 15 second guitar part. Prior to setting up my own studio, I was paying for studio time so did not have the luxury to get things ‘just so’. As a result, I would settle for parts that were merely adequate and I would not branch out to experiment. Not paying for studio time has been such a blessing and all the experimentation and trial and error I now have the time to do has done nothing but make me a better musician, producer, and songwriter.

Do you plan to release any singles at any point in the near future?

Yep, after the album I previously mentioned is released in early 2022, you can expect to see a new single released every eight to ten weeks, which will culminate with my 2nd album of 2022 at the end of the year. I am very excited about what 2022 holds in store!

Whereabouts are you based and what is the music scene like in your part of the world?

I am based in Vancouver, Canada. I hate to say this because I love my city, but the music scene here completely sucks. The city has little to no live music scene, which is very unfortunate. Mind you, I don’t think Vancouver is much different from many other cities. Everything seems to be about DJs and pre-recorded music at the moment. Hopefully, that will change. I personally think that nothing beats a great live band when they are playing in the groove.

What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

I am influenced by so many things, and lots of things beyond music. As a songwriter, I find I am often writing a commentary to something I see happening around me or something that is happening to me directly. Essentially, I am very influenced by the human condition and what makes us all tick as human beings. Music and songwriting just happen to be the way I find I express this interest the best.

As for my musical influences themselves, I have been influenced by so many different artists and genres. I am a huge Beatles fan and a big Springsteen fan. I also love artists like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. Dean Martin is big on my list, so is Buddy Holly, Green Day, and Elvis Costello. I am a huge fan of BB King and Stevie Ray Vaughn. I actually could go on and on. There are so many musical artists I admire, listen to, and try to learn from.

What am I listening to now? Since it is December 23rd as I am writing this, it is all about Christmas music right now. Melissa Etheridge’s Christmas album and the Phil Spector Christmas album are my favourites at the moment. Love both of them!

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

I am not currently a live performing artist. I will be putting a band together at some point in the future once my singles and albums start catching on more and more, but currently I am simply writing and recording on my own. So, the pandemic has not hindered my work at all. I feel very fortunate to be able to say this.

Do you have any tour dates lined up? What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

A full band and live shows will be coming in late 2022 or early 2023. It all depends on how much of a following I build up by then. I can say this though: when I do finally hit the road with a live act, fans will be able to see a true rock n’ roll performance with some great music, lots of stories, a few wrong chords, and basically anything that makes the whole live show a real human experience and interaction. People will have fun at my shows!!

Any last words for the fans?

I just want to send a huge heartfelt thanks to anyone that has streamed or downloaded one of my songs or spent some time reading my posts and/or watching my videos. Thank you so much for your support. I hope that everyone enjoys all the songs I have coming out in 2022 and let’s hope for a prosperous and forward thinking 2022!