Deondre Charelle Richmond is electrifying and intense, with soulful melody and reckless abandon while playing his focal instrument, the guitar.
Deondre began playing music age seven, when he started singing in choir before playing clarinet. He briefly played jazz bass while in middle school before learning the guitar in high school. He has been writing and playing ever since.
Classically trained, as well as learning to jam live, Deondre has played mainly in Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, and Detroit, Michigan.
He has learned to play bluegrass, jazz, rock, soul, funk, some classical and ethnic styles such as gypsy jazz, and his style combines jazz and funk rock, which can be found within every song structure that is play. From ‘Fire and Lightning’ to ‘Tantric Dance’, walking bass lines, Latin jazz influences, and funk rock are abound in all of his playing.
After being influenced to pick up the guitar from a dream while still in Ann Arbor, Deondre began to practice incessantly.
After being accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston and University of Toronto, but not having the money to attend, he pursued private lessons from Robert Huffman, jazz guitarist Johnny Lawrence, and various other private teachers. He played nonstop for 6 hours a day, sleeping with his guitar in his bed.
At 20, he wrote a song titled ‘Fire and Lightning’, a song that is as infectious as it is driving, with his original, recorded track containing four guitars, three vocals, and hand percussion, all performed by Deondre on the track. He then put them on YouTube and MySpace as he began to play solo. Since then, Deondre, now 26, has played with various musicians.
From his brief stint with Heart of the Mandala, based in Ypsilanti, to playing various benefits, and his recent breakup with up and coming band Foecus, Deondre has continued playing despite all odds as a solo act while jamming with other musicians.
Recently, the artist has found reprieve in jamming with members of Parliament Funkadelic, Muruga Booker and Gabe Gonzales. He met both musical legends while working in classes at Eastern Michigan, and began jamming with them. He also has an album that he has finished writing, and an acoustic demo, along with tracks recorded with Heart of the Mandala available on MySpace for download.
Currently, he is booking solo sets at Crossroads in Ypsilanti, Michigan, as well as other places, and is making his way to Europe.
His influences are many, and range form Jimi Hendrix, SRV, RHCP, Jaco Pastorius, Sly and the Family Stone, Parliament Funkadelic, To Metallica, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Beethoven, Bach, and various other musicians. His musical tastes have no end; he enjoys all styles of music.
Recently, clips from his live performances have made it to NME magazine and website, as well as First Post, an international paper and webzine based out of India. One independent song, called ’1000 Candlelights’, made it to NME’s award ceremony from YouTube, his other song ‘Fire and Lightning’ making it as well.
For all the hardships that may have taken place, Deondre seems to be moving forward with no plans of stopping. His playing is both beautiful, and stirring, unpredictable, and his songs, catching in their melodies, leaving one both longing to dance and questioning life. ‘Foreclosure Lane’ is one such example.
The rhythm is driving, and haunting, leaving the body wondering if you should dance while listening to the lament of the current housing crisis that has affected the world. The song, written about a conversation with a man who said “the bank owns my money” in a conversation while working door to door, alluding to the loss of his house due to foreclosure, is a sign of his gift, able to take a person’s agony and turn it into a haunting, real life story that seems to be gripping the entirety of society at this moment. Check out his music and be on the lookout for this artist and his work.
Connect with Deondre Charelle Richmond