CATHY RICHARDSON has done it all in the music industry. Currently the lead singer for Jefferson Starship, the talented singer tells us “What I live for…”
[By Monica Harris]
In an era of one-hit wonders and autotune, Cathy Richardson continues to wow audiences with her stunning live performances, powerhouse voice and, as we discovered in our interview, a good sense of humor. The current lead singer for Jefferson Starship, one half of The Macrodots, past Janis Joplin ‘channeler’ in “Love Janis,” and producer of her own albums for The Cathy Richardson Band, this singer has done it all and explains that performing live is what she lives for.
Q. Cathy, some have claimed you have the “best female voice in rock today.” How does that make you feel?
CATHY: It feels great but I think that title sometimes overshadows the fact that I am also one of the world’s premiere cowbellists!
Q. You are currently touring, with dates set in locations all across the world. Any particular place you are most excited to see?
CATHY: I love the whole world, but what I am really hoping for is the opportunity to someday play on other planets. Or other dimensions, where it’s possible that I may already be very famous.
Q. You played Janis Joplin in the production of “Love, Janis.” Do you have an interest in being in musicals in the future? (We hope so!)
CATHY: Yes! I love theater! I’m developing a show called Mommy Dearest: the Musical (based on the classic 1981 film) where I will portray the late Joan Crawford and perform songs with titles like “Wire Hangers We Hate You,” “I’m Damn Mad” and “Don’t Fuck with Me, Fellas.” I also have this amazing idea to turn Spiderman into a Broadway show. What could go wrong? But seriously, yes. I love theater. I have dreams of staging my 2007 album Delusions of Grandeur into a multimedia theatrical experience.
Q. Do you feel that with the state of music today and how everything is turning digital, it’s a must that singers and bands play live shows, or do you feel it’s not as necessary anymore?
CATHY: Yeah I think that you used to break a band on the road, now you can break a song on YouTube but it’s still kind of like lightning striking. The internet can serve the purpose of promotion for artists who can’t afford to get on the radio and you can make fans that way, but you don’t get the same exchange of energy from likes and comments on the internet as you do when you get people singing along, grooving and cheering for you. That’s what I live for. For me, playing live is the best way to reach fans, sell records and make a living. Spotify streams pay in the fractions of pennies. Even if you’re a DJ, you have to get out and take it to the people to turn those streams into cash. That said, it is truly amazing to be part of the digital age. I love how anything you want to know, hear, see, buy is pretty much instantly accessible. It also creates a very short attention span so I don’t see a lot of artists these days having longevity. Overnight sensations happen faster and more frequently, but lasting power is still a very rare and special gift.
CATHY: I can’t say that I have one. Oh, except for Let’s Have a Kiki by the Scissor Sisters. That song has stolen my heart and will not give it back.
Q. What is the most important piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to get into the music business?
CATHY: There is no “one way” to have success in the music business. The more you do something, the better you get, and that is true with playing music, the business of music or anything. Be clear with yourself about what you are trying to achieve. Do something every day to work towards that goal and when you reach that goal set another one. As long as you keep doing it, you will get better and better and the doors will open in their perfect time. When you are happy with where you are, be grateful. Voila! You are a success!