Patricia Richey is a 23-year-old vocalist of Irish descent who describes her music as country-alternative-pop. “Most of my songs are kind of pop, influenced by alternative music and country, and ethereal with a Celtic quality to the songs,” she explains. Richey is a native of Chevy Chase, Maryland and a dual citizen of the United States and Ireland. “My maternal grandfather was an Irish immigrant. He loved and sang a wide variety of music: opera, Irish ballads, folk rock and old cowboy music. It was an eclectic mix.” That exposure to multiple genres of music began forming Richey’s personal style. “He used to play “Phantom of the Opera” on tape. He took me to see the play for the first time when I was five, and I have since seen it four times. I also love Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” and “Streets of Laredo.”
There wasn’t a time in life that she didn’t remember singing and performing. Richey recalls, “I grabbed any opportunity to perform – at family gatherings, school events, in college and at weddings.” When she performs, she literally absorbs the energy of the room and goes into that place deep inside a singer’s soul when (one) is lost in the pure magic of the moment that both the singer and the room feel. “It’s kind of a sad note. I sang at my grandfather’s funeral. He and I were really close. We are two people with the same musical passion. I sang “Ave Maria” and “Danny Boy” a cappella. I felt his spirit, as did the room. I know he will always be with me.”
Richey is a full-time medical student at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Her chosen field is most likely reconstructive surgery. She has always wanted to find her niche in both medicine and music. “I realized that in college music was something I seriously wanted to do. I didn’t want to look back 10 years from now and see that it was something I wish I had done,” she says. Encouraged and supported by tons of feedback from family and friends, she took the bold step to begin pursuing her musical goal.
Oddly enough, Richey recorded her self-produced debut EP Patricia Richey in the Nashville studio that Marty Robbins built, now Omni Sound Studios. “I started the project in the summer of 2012. This was my first time in the studio and the first step in my music career. I was pitched songs from publishing companies and picked the ones suited to my vocals (“Putting Off Loving You” and “Lonely Alone”). The others songs were collected over the years. I’ve performed them and they each have different meanings (“Safe and Sound,” “Knowing What I Know About Heaven,” and “Run”)” she says of the A&R process.
Some of Nashville’s best players worked on the album: Pat McGrath, Brad Benge, Brain Pruitt, Shawn Fichter, James Mitchell, Jim Hyatt and Jeff Roach. “This was my first time in the studio and I had no idea what to expect. What happened was a warm welcoming from the general manager, Chris Holloway, and engineer, Rory Rositas, who made making music so easy and fun. There was a really cool vibe with all the musicians in the room…it was very comfortable. I like that about Nashville. It’s a great, friendly place.”
Her passion for music is unique in and of itself. “In terms of performing I love Stevie Nicks. I also really love contemporary country like Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood and alternative music like Grace Potter, Mumford & Sons and Lana Del Rey.”
Succeeding in medical school and pursuing a music career present its own set of challenges. Richey’s time is her scarcest resource. She was very deliberate in taking the time to go to Nashville and Los Angeles, to meet with people about the music business and to evaluate her investment. Richey expounds, “I think my fan is someone like me, who listens to a bunch of different types of music and is open to something new and different. I picked covers from Snow Patrol, Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars. Randee St. Nicholas did the photo shoot and the images she captured compliment the songs on the EP.” There are snow scenes showing a deeper, somber side that are mixed with warm tones showing a softer, vulnerable side to the artist and her music.
Her approach to the industry and what she is trying to do to market her music is unique. In a more surgical way (no pun intended), she intends to find the fans that consider Pandora their favorite music source. “I’m going to connect to those people that listen to all sorts of music – a little country, a little pop, a little alternative. I don’t see myself being categorized. I just want to get my name out there, and my music and image, to give people the opportunity to decide themselves whether they are fans.”
What is Richey’s take on success? “I think success is being happy in what you are doing. I am happy making music and plan on being able to build a living doing that. I want people to have a chance to listen to my music, for it to affect them and for them to enjoy it. My music makes me feel happy…I don’t know if that’s a cliché’ answer or not. I’m passionate.”
Patricia spends every free minute at the beach, the mountains of Sedona or in the New York City theatre district when not in school. “I really think this is supposed to be what I am doing – blending my passion for music with the practice of medicine.”
Somewhere in heaven, her Grandfather is saying, ‘Job well done. ‘