The first time I saw Rich perform at a local bar in Toronto, I didn't quite know what to expect. He looked too preppy to be rock, too young to be folk, too unconventional to be pop. And then he stepped up on stage and sang So I Can Leave, and I threw all my misconceptions out the window. On stage, Rich is confident, aggressive, and anguished. Off-stage, he's friendly, amicable, and dare I say, a little goofy. But his mannerisms, his tone, it's all Rich. He talks with an introspective, unpretentious air that is littered throughout his songs. And he's got a cool English accent. Raised in England, Rich began his foray into the music world almost unintentionally. He began guitar lessons at thirteen, but it never took off until he attended high school in Toronto. He describes his high school days at Harbord as 'incredibly relaxed, like a big party,' which allowed him to hone his artistic skills with other students who were also musically inclined. The music bug hit, and soon he was making his first CD, a full-length Christmas album entitled 'A Special Christmas With Rich Lowenberg.' It was comprised of eleven songs, which were downloaded from Napster and sung over Elvis-style. He cites Jay-Jay Johanson, a Swedish singer, as one of his biggest influences. He was the first male vocalist that Rich enjoyed listening to, and after a while, he noticed that his voice had risen and become much stronger. 'Before that, I had Helen on lead, and I didn't have to do anything [with my voice].' He also cites Jamiroquai as a funk influence, Prodigy as a rhythmic influence, and Ani Di Franco as a song writing influence. With a newfound confidence in his vocal skills, Rich embarked on the next natural progression of his career: the release of his first serious and career-minded CD. When we start discussing the recording process of Point A, Rich's eyes light up. The project took two weeks to finish - everything was recorded in one week and mastered the next. 'Everything was recorded in exactly the same room, at the same time... there was no corrective editing, no overdubbing. With this, it's very natural and you can hear the interaction between the musicians and you can hear the drum stool squeak every so often. It's much more down-to-earth.' Indeed, listening to the CD is almost as good as seeing Rich live, although the CD doesn't quite encompass the passion and jaded yearning that his live shows provide. So what's next for this young singer/songwriter? 'Maybe try something different... a comedy thing?' he says playfully. 'Create different sounds. Electronica maybe. I'm eager to experiment in different styles.' And you know, with a talented artist like Rich, something different will always equal something good.
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