I specialize in vocal harmony. I use vocals heavily in songwriting, production, and film scoring. I've worked with Flo Rida, NBC/Universal, Sara Bareilles, Ben Folds, freelance artists. I do music outreach globally. I actually answer my emails. I believe in this fully: Work hard, be kind.
Hmm, about me... These are always pretentious and I hate writing bios.
Basically, if we work on a project, I'll work my ass off to make it my best and something you connect with emotionally.
I tour with a trio doing "cultural diplomacy" with the US State Dept--we teach/produce/perform with underserved people (usually young people). I love it.
I built a studio in Melbourne and run classes and productions out of it. We work with a film production company.
My recent film projects from this year:
Sacrifice (short film score)
NFTA (promo vids)
Best Film Score of 2018 - Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival
Outstanding Performer. Best Arrangement. Best Original Song - Harmony Sweepstakes
My name is Richard Steighner, I was born and raised in Colorado, USA. I currently live in Melbourne and travel frequently for music. I play a few instruments, passably speak a couple languages, and am a sucker for doughnuts.
Contact me through the green button above and let's get to work.
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Interview with Richard Steighner
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most clients give me 1/2 developed ideas and I make them into songs. That means a lot of beat making, songwriting, and recording/producing.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Anybody who treats people around them well. I have a lot of time for nice. I have no time for mean in the name of being professional. Brad Delp (from Boston) was nice to me one time. Maybe that's where it came from.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Most of my work is done on a mobile setup. I live for flipping the mattress on end and putting up a mic in the hotel room. My studio in Melbourne is pretty simple (NS7s, NT2-A)
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Most of the work is just getting to know somebody. We can spend 2 hours just chatting and write a song in 30 minutes. Sometimes, you gotta just grind it out, and I find that switching between doing and being analytical gets me through speed bumps.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Emotion. I mean, I can tune and align and mix all day, but who cares if there's no heart, right?
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: This is gonna sound lame, but listening to people. Met a TON of "pros" who are happy to tell you why they are right, but when it comes down to it, it comes down to what sounds good. I can listen and adapt to what people want.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Vocal pop music
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't be precious.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Lady Gaga. She seems awesome and her musicality is off the charts (and earned). I feel like I could learn a lot from her.
Q: How would you describe your style?
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Got my degrees in Psychology and Architecture. Did music part time (learned on the fly). Then got accepted to The SingOff just after I got laid off from my job as an architect. We lost but regrouped to travel the world (now at 50 countries). I learned more. We got hooked up with doing work with at-risk youth overseas and fell in love with those missions. Started a studio in Melbourne with a film company and produced albums and film scores/trailer music. Still travel/tour as I produce and learn more and more.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Guitar, Pen/Paper (that's 1 right?), and 3 other singers.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Let's work hard. Let's pour some heart into this. And give me your honest, best effort.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are your influences? What reasons and intentions are behind your [song/movie/album/etc]? What do you want to say?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That anybody knows better about what you want to hear, than you.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: The biggest question is usually how much. I tell them. Otherwise, the questions are usually about whether we can try something, and the answer is almost always yes.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: People and the way we all evolve together.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I'll do my best and I will listen to you. No guarantees--this is a creative field. But I do have your best interest in mind.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital. It's way more accessible to people around the world. Analog certainly sounds amazing, but the photographer's adage of "The best camera is the one you have" extends to music creation. Many more deserving artists have access to top-quality music creation now; the barriers to entry have toppled and I think that's extraordinary.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: That'd depend on the client.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Creating a concept album with a video series. We have a few tours coming up this year. I'll be running sound for a few things in Melbourne.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: We recorded a group of young, homeless singers in Madagascar. They sing for money, and the Embassy in Antananarivo brought us in to work with them. We recorded in a gym and produced a track as well as a live show for about 40 other ambassadors as a show of the talent and capabilities of an otherwise ignored population.