Richard Bruce

Singer/songwriter with a story to tell

Originally from Philadelphia, Richard's parents divorced when he was just a year old. Abandoned by his mother, Richard was raised in the Philadelphia 'burbs by his grandparents and a physically and verbally abusive father. His dad remarried when Richard was 7. At 13, Richard witnessed his step-mother shoot and kill his father for cheating on her. After living with relatives for a year, Richard was sent back to live with his step-mother when she was found not guilty by reason of what would today be called "temporary insanity". He spent most of his teens running away from home, and during that time was inspired to learn how to play guitar by a neighbor, who played guitar for Bill Haley's Comets. Richard formed his own band with some high school buddies, and had his first paying gig at the age of 15. But after flunking out of high school for excessive absenteeism, he left home at the age of 17, never to return. Just before going into the Army, Richard had a chance meeting with one of his boyhood musical heroes, John Lennon. It was a meeting that sealed Richard's lifelong love for music. After serving a 3-year stint in the Army, Richard earned an Associates Degree in Electronics Engineering. Despite a drug and alcohol addiction that began shortly after his father's murder, his love for music and playing guitar continued. He played in several Philadelphia-area cover bands until finally, his addiction cost him his day job and even his passion for music. After 2 rehab stints, Richard found his voice again in an original song, written and recorded while he was still in rehab. He became active in several local singer-songwriter groups, where he met Philadelphia area singer-songwriter and former Frank Zappa protege Essra Mohawk. She took him under her wing, and introduced him to other singer-songwriters, including the great Richie Havens. Having setup a basement studio in his Philadelphia suburban home, he crafted his songwriting for several years while returning to school full-time at night and earning his BA in Psychology and later, a Masters in Instructional Design. Having set his music aside for 7 years, Richard was called by his church and relocated to Prescott, Arizona, where he studied guitar and bass with Beach Boys sideman Ed Carter. Richard served on praise and worship teams in both Arizona and later, after a brief stint overseas, in Florida, where he was reunited with his biological mother, who he had found thru the Salvation Army. But after a short two year reunification and ultimately estrangement, he was called to work for Uncle Sam in beautiful Monterey, California. He retired from his job after 10 years with the Department of Defense, and now devotes his energies to writing and recording his own original music. Richard recently released his debut EP "Sins of the Father" recorded at TikiTown Studios with famed SF Bay-area music producer Scott Mathews at the helm. Richard is registered with BMI.






What is music to you? What does it give you?

Music is my passion. It gives voice to my inner self.

What is your music dream?

To have at least one of my songs picked up and recorded by an established artist.

If you could change the world - what would you start with?


Which is the most memorable song from your childhood?

El Paso by Marty Robbins. It was a 45, and my first record. My dad bought it for me.

Who are your favorite musical artists or bands?

The Beatles, the Allman Brothers Band, the Talking Heads, Cake

What inspires you to make music?

While I'm often inspired by people, places, or God, I've found that if I wait for inspiration, I'm not very productive. A professional singer/songwriter must be able to produce whether inspired or not.

What is the message you want to send with your music?

There is hope.

How do you feel when you perform in front of an audience?

Nervous at first. Once I settle down and get comfortable, I love entertaining a crowd.

How do you see the musicians’ reality nowadays? What could be improved?

The market's appetite for free music is having a majorly negative impact on the quality of music being made today. Artists can no longer count on record and CD sales for a significant portion of their income. They must rely more and more on live performances and touring. Yet except for the very few major acts, the number of venues for live performance are disappearing, and the proceeds are drying up as well. And I think that doesn't bode well for the future of music. In 1966 the Beatles gave up touring to focus on being creative in the studio. The results were massively influential albums like Rubber Soul, Magical Mystery Tour, Sgt. Pepper, the White Album, and Abbey Road. Such groundbreaking creativity would not have been possible had they continued to tour like they did from 1963-1966. I feel like today's musicians have no other choice but to tour to support themselves, and the quality of music suffers as a result. We need to rethink our priorities as an audience. Do we want lots of free mediocre music? Or do we want to continue to push the bounds of creativity and artistry? We can't have it both ways. Think about that the next time you walk by the merch table. Why do you think artists are forced to sell all that swag? Buy the CD instead. Buy 2 and give one to a friend. Don't upload all the songs to YouTube - they pay some of the lowest royalty rates of all the streaming services! Appreciate the album cover artwork. Read the lyrics, and try to understand the artist's story. These are just some small steps we can take to keep artists making music in the home or professional studio. And artists - visit one of the remaining studios in your town or city. Appreciate the sounds of the instruments you would not otherwise have access to, virtual or real. Talk to the engineer, and ask about a producer. It's almost always better to have a second and maybe a third set of experienced ears to listen and help guide your music. Make a CD. Pay someone to do the artwork - artists need to make a living, too! Put the lyrics inside. And for God's sake, tell us your story! The music is just a vehicle for the story. Keep music human!

What do you think of Drooble?

It's better than the other music "social networks". It seems to be an ego thing for some. I don't like that our music is being shared with no remuneration. But there are features like karma that help mitigate that. So I'll stay for a while.

What frustrates you most as a musician?

See above

Do you support your local scene as a fan? How?

Yep! I frequent local music venues, buy a drink or put $ in the tip jar, and purchase a CD at the merch table.

What qualities should a musician nowadays have in order to get their music heard by a larger audience?


Share some awesome artists that we’ve never heard of.

Monte Montgomery, John Flynn