If one were to artistically refer to biblical characters as both a singer and songwriter, RICHLIN is probably most-reminiscent of King David; this is due in part to his impassioned longing to create worship music. Don’t let the phrase “worship music” throw you, though; his music is far from traditional or churchy. Instead, his sound is something that subtly-yet-boldly brings listeners back to the truest essence of the word “worship”: honor, homage, praise and service to the source of all good and great things.
“I love seeing people encounter the Lord,” shares RICHLIN. “So much more can happen in a moment of worship than what can happen in a message. There’s something that’s always been exhilarating for me to see people touched in the moment of the presence of God.”
A southern Oregon boy from the ranch town of Paisley, population: maybe 250. The son of a rancher and farmer’s daughter who, from his earliest teen years, served as a worship leader. He openly listened to CCM and country music, yet privately consumed the 90s-era hip-hop culture. He was both a basketball player and a drummer. Even with all of the things that deﬁne newcomer Brandon Richardson (aka RICHLIN)’s upbringing—and, in some ways, even his current life—if there’s one word that would sum him up succinctly and poetically, it would have to be “paradox.”
Here’s a man who has a genuine heart for Christ and, also—thanks to his biblical literature collegiate education—a profound knowledge of the Scriptures (something that he says has developed him into a solid songwriter). Here’s an individual who makes no qualms about the fact that he wants to “facilitate an encounter with the presence of God” via his art and his life—and yet, upon ﬁrst listening to his music, you’d probably be caught totally oﬀ-guard. In many ways, his voice is reminiscent of a favorite alt-rock artist, while his sound is progressively haunting. Deﬁnitely not something you’d expect from a CCM fan, a country music enthusiast or a hip-hop head.
But again, therein lies the paradox.
When you ask RICHLIN who inspired him to take the musical path that he is currently on, he immediately speaks quite fondly of the song, “Obsession” by iconic UK worship band, Delirious?. “I remember hearing that song at 13 years old at a youth conference in Albany, OR and it just gripped me,” RICHLIN recalls aﬀectionately. “I remember thinking, ‘whatever that is, I want to pursue that for the rest of my life. And I want people to encounter what I encountered through that song.’”
“I want to craft and produce art that’s vertical, but say it and produce it in a way that’s reaching a diﬀerent demo,” RICHLIN explains. “We’re missing an entire generation musically. I want to create something that is synergistic with reaching people in their 20s and people in their 50s. I don’t even know if it’s possible, but I want to go after it and it’s in my heart.”
Take a moment to listen to even 30 seconds of “Royal Blood” or “You’re the Wine,” and one could be able to tell that his desire is quite possible. There’s something about his music that is commercially appealing, but still true to the mission; it has a way of compelling listeners to want to hear more, regardless of age or genre preference. It’s the kind of music—not just worship music, but music, period—that's necessary and relevant for such a +me as this. Maybe not what one might expect worship music to sound like, but at a +me when so many people are questioning so much about themselves— their spirituality and this world—RICHLIN’s words very plausibly might be exactly what many individuals need.
In many ways, RICHLIN is the kind of newcomer who you didn’t really see coming. An artist who’s unpredictable in some ways, and going to make an impact regardless. And, it’s all thanks to everything that brought him right to this very moment. Country and hip-hop. Basketball and drumming. All of it is what makes RICHLIN a name to remember.
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