Meet the Artist: Richard Grewar

Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, singer-songwriter Richard Grewar has put down his roots in Hill City. Known as a blend of acoustic, rock, and looping, Grewar relased his newest album, Cold Feet, this past spring. he’s also focusing on his company, BabyBeats, with his wife, Amy, which creates songs using a mother and baby’s heartbeats during pregnancy. Find out more about the Aussie who happens to also have an Australian Shepherd, Ruby Sue.

YOU MIGHT KNOW MY WORK FROM… If there are any surfers in the audience, they may know my music from the Kelly Slater movie Letting Go that was released in the late ‘90s. Most recently, a lot of my songs have been featured in promotional videos for the Bruce Lee Foundation, which has been a very cool synergy. Yes, that Bruce Lee.

MY NEWEST ALBUM IS ABOUT… The songs on Cold Feet are a direct reflection of my own life experiences from around 2011-2013. Everything from love, death, depression, longing, desire, triumph, joy, family, and anger are explored. In my early songwriting years, I would rely on turmoil to feed the narrative of songs and form ideas based around sadness and angst. Thankfully, in both of my solo albums, Ghosts and Cold Feet, the subject matter has become broader and not reliant on the sad side of life. That comes, in my opinion, with getting older, experiencing more joy, and gaining more of an understanding of my place within the world.

MY INSPIRATION COMES FROM… Predominantly the songs are inspired by life and the people in my life. Writing is cathartic and a source of therapy, so the more I can peel my own layers away, understand and deal with the experiences that directly affect my being, the more I feel I can be a positive influence on others around me and the community at large. My metric for success has always been measured by making a difference for someone, through a lyric or an emotion delivered by a song.

I’VE LIVED IN MANY PLACES, INCLUDING… This is going to make me sound like a bit of a wanderer, but variety is the spice of life, right?! Here goes: Southampton in the U.K. (I was actually born in Southampton and lived there until moving to Australia when I was 9. I moved back there for a short period of time in 2007-08), London, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast in Australia, Las Vegas, San Diego, and now the beautiful Black Hills.

WHAT BROUGHT TO ME TO HILL CITY IS… My wife, Amy, and I found that, although we had access to all the things we needed and loved in Southern California – the ocean, nature, friends, great food – it was near impossible for us to be able to start a family, buy a home, and thrive the way in which we envisioned for the next chapter of our lives in San Diego. Amy’s family is from Rapid City (fun fact: her great-great-grandfather was one of the city’s founders), and still live here, so the Black Hills were a natural fit. Hill City is a charming small town, and we’re very grateful to have our own slice of paradise here. One year on and we’ve discovered that the Hills have everything we need to keep our cups full, and more.

MY FAVORITE PART ABOUT SOUTH DAKOTA IS… The landscape and the people. The community, especially the music community, have welcomed me, and us, with open arms. I have yet to encounter a South Dakotan I haven’t been able to get along with. Everyone is genuinely interested in my story and what brought me here, and are happy to share their own stories in return. The Australian accent tends to help, too. The landscape here is so rich and diverse. The Black Hills are a spectacular hidden gem, not only in the Midwest, but in the entire country. We are very lucky to live where we do.

WHEN I’M NOT PLAYING MUSIC, I LOVE TO… In recent weeks, I’ve developed the hunger to learn more about the craft of songwriting and production. I’m enjoying the process. Otherwise, I love to surf, paddleboard, kayak, cook, play any kind of sport, travel, hang with my wife, walk the pup, and explore the Hills.

MY FAVORITE PLACE TO GRAB A BITE LOCALLY IS… The current faves are Prairie Berry, Harriet & Oak, Que Pasa, and Kōl.

I’M VERY EXCITED TO BE WORKING ON… In August, I launched a new company, BabyBeats, which I’m stoked about. BabyBeats are musical moments and custom keepsakes for expecting parents (baby shower gifts, gender announcements, videos, etc.), using the heartbeat of their baby at the core of the song. I also produce lullabies to encourage babies to sleep, using the heartbeat of their mom. So far, the response has been incredibly encouraging, and I’m very excited to see how the business will develop over the next year. I also produce my wife’s podcast Why Not Now? With Amy Jo Martin, and we’re about to kick off the second season, which is exciting. I would like to start writing new songs in 2018 for another album. We’ll see.

AN ALBUM YOU CAN FIND ME PLAYING CONSTANTLY IS… There are a handful of albums that have made a significant difference in my life, that I always go back to. Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief, Ok Computer, and In Rainbows (okay, so all of the Radiohead albums), Soundgarden’s Superunknown, At the Drive-In’s Relationship For Command, and Jeff Buckley’s unfinished album Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk, as well as his masterpiece, Grace.

IF I WEREN’T DOING THIS, I WOULD BE… On a never-ending search of the planet for the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie.

A MOMENT THAT STANDS OUT IN MY MUSIC CAREER IS… I’m very grateful for all the people I’ve met, bands I’ve played with, and places I’ve traveled because of music. The last four years in the U.S. have been an ongoing highlight.

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