When Faith Richards left Junction City for Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, she had no idea she was about to launch her music career instead.
But over the past year or two Richards has created a name for herself as a rhythm and blues/pop singer.
“I grew up singing, but I’ve only been pursuing it as a career since the summer of 2018,” she said.
Richards is a Junction City High School graduate who said she received an immense amount of support from Junction City community members. She had help in going to Los Angeles and in paying her college tuition from local companies and individuals, she said, and JCHS teacher Brian Hagemeister helped her with audition pieces for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, which she graduated from in 2017 with an associate’s degree.
In acting school at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she realized music was her true calling. Music stressed her out less, Richards said, and she was good at it.
Richards said it was an experience in networking and community connections among artists such as herself in Los Angeles.
She recalls singing at one of her professor’s theater company's talent shows and then at a show where the people in charge took note of her.
Richards had her first studio experience after these individuals noticed her and invited her to perform in their studio. After that, Richards said she met a drummer who introduced her to other musicians, after which she was able to produce her first EP — a music industry term which stands for “extended play” and which indicates a small album.
This past summer, Richards said, music became her career. She was able to quit her side job and take on music full time.
“I can’t wait until it’s just about making music, not about having to make money from it,” Richards said.
Having a positive relationship with her producer has helped Richards, as has the ability to make connections with significant companies in the industry. She’s grateful for this good working relationship because, she said, she has sometimes had to work with sleazy people in the industry who made her uncomfortable. Richards said she learned the hard way not to make music before going over a contract with someone.
“Honestly, it’s just all a learning process,” she said. “I’m going to make big mistakes and then get a lawyer and then never make that mistake again."
Licensing with big music distribution companies has helped Richards more than anything, she said. It has expanded her audience exponentially. People in the music industry have begun reaching out to Richards instead of her reaching out to them. Her music has been picked up for commercials, movies, and even by YouTubers. Richards' music is gaining traction in Korea, she said, and she just signed with a Korean distribution company. This is significant for her, Richards said, because Korean fans really appreciate the musicians and bands who produce their favorite songs.
“They just will love you and put you out there forever,” she said.
The Korean company she has signed with will eventually have her do a tour in South Korea, something she’s eager to do.
“I can’t wait to tour,” Richards said.
She said she’s open to performing in concert here, perhaps at the C.L. Hoover Opera House, if she has the chance.
She is working on another EP right now.
These developments have only taken place over the past few months.
With or without this success — though she much prefers life with it — Richards is passionate about her work.
Richards enjoys the level of creativity music affords her.
She does not confine herself to one genre of music.
“I used to be really concerned about sticking to one genre or one style, but now I just kind of go into it fresh and no idea how it’s going to sound,” Richards said.
She draws inspiration for her music from her every day life and from other musicians such as herself.
“I try to always write music at the peak of my emotions,” Richards said.
Richards will sometimes just sit down and play a few notes on the piano to put herself in the right mindset to create music.
Music often flows freely from her mind into reality for Richards, but that does not mean her career is without its challenges and pitfalls.
She has experienced writer’s block before, especially when she’s stressed out, and sometimes creates songs she looks back on the week after and is underwhelmed by them, feeling they’re less-than-genuine.
Like most people, Richards has her moments of self-doubt.
“Everyone is very talented out here, which doesn’t diminish my talent,” she said. “But there’s a lot of competition."
But her work — and her confidence in it — has improved as she has learned to just go after what she wants in life and not be concerned about what others think of her. The more Richards personally enjoys the music she’s making, the better it comes out.
“Being — I don’t want to say reckless, but just living my life for me,” she said, has helped her out.
For anyone who wants to do with their art what she has done with hers, Richards suggests just scrapping their fallback plans and jumping headlong in to what they want to do.
“Don’t have a Plan B,” she said. “You’ll fall into that. You have to just do it. Yeah, you just have to move to the city that you’re called to, get a side hustle for awhile because you’re not going to be able to pay the bills. Yeah, just go after it, honestly."
Richards is a multi-talented musician, writing her songs, singing and playing the piano.
Richards has two EPs out and in 2020 she released a single each month. She has considered releasing a full album, but she would likely need to sign with a label and do her first album with them in order for that to happen.
People can find Richards' music “on pretty much every platform," she said.