Richard is a hugely talented musician and songwriter who has played with us for many years now. He currently plays primarily with Beat It, and develops his own music through our Horizons mentorship programme. He wrote this for us back in 2018:

As a self taught musician, I’ve been in a few bands over the years and also written my own songs, recording them as simple home demos.

Meeting other musicians with the same musical goals as me has always been difficult – I’ve had to learn the basics of several instruments so I can accompany myself!

I came to Paragon’s Tuesday morning ‘Beat It’ class with a mixture of curiosity and anticipation that I might meet other like-minded musicians and also improve my bass guitar technique by being in a live playing setup.

The Beat It classes are a joy to work in – Paragon’s staff and the attendees are always enthusiastic, kind, patient and focussed. I’m kept on my feet by the constantly shifting creative process and the need to come up with bass guitar accompaniment on the spot is always a delightful challenge!

Recently I was invited by Ninian and Zac to join the Horizons project where they mentor me, assessing my own songs with a view to recording them in a professional studio. Their feedback has been immensely valuable and motivated me to stretch myself, writing more concisely and learning to use the music software properly as a creative tool.

I’ve been to the studio twice, experiencing the challenges and technical discipline of that environment with Ninian and Zac’s guidance (as well as the studio producer) to record four of my songs at a high technical standard. This has been an immensely positive experience and I’m looking forward to more.

As far as I’m aware, no other organisation in Scotland provides an opportunity for musicians like myself (from a non-standard musical background) to be mentored in this way. Thank you all for giving me such a unique and stimulating experience – and I hope I can continue to be part of the Horizons project.

Listen to more of Richard's music over on his website, Soundcloud and Facebook page.

And watch his terrific video for the single, Constitution Square: