If you’re after an example of inspirational resilience then look no further than Rob Richings, who jacked in his job as a decorator after a brush with serious illness to pursue his dream of becoming a singer.
Back in 2009 Richings was diagnosed with a rare and severe form of colitis and then cancer. After three major operations, he beat the disease and now leads a relatively normal life.
It was after this life changing experience that Richings, who had spent his teenage years in Ireland gigging in pubs, decided it was time to reach for his dreams.
Out went the day job and in came a new determination to throw caution to the wind and chase his ambitions.
Since then Richings has carved out a successful career as a singer, songwriter and performer. His debut album Parkas and Boots, a collection of insightful, observational folk songs released two years ago, was well received.
“I don’t want my illness to define what I do,” Rob says, “but at the same time, that illness and the way I look at life now has made me a better songwriter.”
Since then he’s toured extensively with the likes of Hazel O’Connor, Ramin Karimloo and British rockabilly guitarist Darrel Higham and made a new EP Lately I’ve Been Wondering. The first track off this new EP is the recently released Be Alright.
“The songs are all very different and I’ve pushed the sound a bit, but they’re all linked by the highs and lows of being a musician,” Richings says of his new EP.
Lately I’ve Been Wondering was recorded in a new studio set up by Richings with his brother James and engineer/producer Damon Sawyer close to home in Swindon.
“Setting up the studio has taken the pressure off, so we can record without having one eye on the clock,” he says.
“The business is changing all the time so now we can respond almost instantly.
“The plan is to keep putting out EPs and changing up sounds while staying true to what I believe in – simple, honest songs sung the way I sing them. It’s the only way I know.”