Artist Spotlight: Richard Hawley

Artist Spotlight: Richard Hawley

After 30 years in the industry, Richard Hawley has cemented his image as stoic rock star cool. The Sheffield native is loyal to his hometown, and from what we hear, his pet collie called Fred as well. Like many before him, Hawley seems to have been born with his uncanny guitar skills. He was recruited to his uncle’s band at only 14-years old. So while other kids were trying to keep up with what was cool, Hawley was epitomizing it and helping to craft the sound of his generation and those to follow. 

Hawley certainly has a tireless work ethic young new musicians can look to learn from. It seems like he always has a new project under his sleeve, whether it’s collaborating with other artists, playing with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra or writing new material, we know we can always expect something exciting from him.

Flash forward to modern day, where Hawley released his seventh critically acclaimed and Mercury Prize nominated album, Standing At The Sky’s Edge which resulted in his most successful European tour to date. Without a doubt the veteran guitar aficionado’s career has seen its share of highs and lows, but 2012 will surely go down as something of a special one, topped off by a special 2013 BRITs Nomination for British Male Solo Artist.

For this seventh record, Hawley reconnected to some of the music that provided him with some of his maiden epiphanies. He may have grown up listening to his parents’ country and rock’n’roll 45s. As a teenager though, seeking to establish his own musical identity, Hawley’s recreational experimentation led him to lysergic expeditionaries like Syd Barrett, The Stooges, The Seeds, Strawberry Alarm Clock and The Chocolate Watchband. 

If there’s an overarching theme to Hawley’s album, it’s that there’s beauty and meaning to be found in accepting how tiny we are in the general scheme of things. On the smouldering cinematic declamations of Leave Your Body Behind You, the grief felt at the passing of friends is alchemised into something almost celebratory. “So much damage has been done to this world by people who get all their knowledge from one book – be it The Bible or whatever. And if we could just allow ourselves to be liberated by the fact that this is our only time here, we could just get on with what really matters. I really think we could have put a man on the moon 1000 years ago if we accepted that.” It’s a theme to which Hawley returns on the album’s final song.“ 

If you haven’t listened to his record, check out the interactive album sampler below and we’re confident you’ll be cheering him on at the BRITs on February 20.