`Music saved my life’ – former NQ delinquent tours for 22 years, releases five albums

Well I had the extreme pleasure of sitting down and having a long chat with Ann Leung and talking about the impact that music and singing has had on my life and why I am so passionate about sharing everything I’ve learned by teaching others.  She put together this beautiful piece that aired on ABC radio. You can download and listen to the 7 minute piece here 

`Music saved my life’ – former NQ delinquent tours for 22 years, releases five albums

22 July 2015 , 8:18 AM by Spencer Howson

LisaLeft: Lisa Richards. photo by Peta Rudd

Music quite literally saved Lisa Richards’ life. And what a life story she can tell.

Her mum was a concert pianist – yet playing a musical instrument was forbidden in the family.

Lisa describes her upbringing as ‘feral’ and says she was a ‘delinquent’ by age 14.

Fast-forward to today and the Queensland-born singer has been touring for 22 years – based in New York and Texas. And she’s released five albums.

Now Lisa Richards is back home in Queensland, running singing workshops in Kelvin Grove, Southport and Kenmore.

612 ABC Brisbane Community Correspondent Ann Leung caught up with Lisa to hear how her how singing saved her from a path of self-destruction.


This last weekend, I taught a 2 day workshop on singing, songwriting and guitar. Now I do admit, I have an agenda. I WANT people to embrace their creativity and dive into the wonderful unknown of making music, img-thingof creating music, of singing and writing songs. One of the participants had a fine strong voice, but he said he didn’t have a big desire to sing, and in fact he really was mostly interested in playing guitar. He also said he thought he had a horrible voice, which, though it clearly wasn’t true, was (I felt) having an impact on his desire to sing. I make a point of meeting people where they are at, so while I did work with him on this particular belief, the thing I have to be clear about is, that getting him to love and appreciate his voice is not something I have the power to do instantly. I can plant seeds, introduce ideas, make suggestions, I can teach things.  I can tell him what I see and hear and give him tools and techniques that have made a difference for hundreds of people I have had the pleasure of teaching. But I am with a group for a weekend. Each person has been living with themselves and their ideas and thoughts and opinions for a lifetime. And while breakthroughs are common, each person I work with needs to have a spark of their own   desire to have things be a different way. To experience life a different way. To see themselves in a different way. A desire for exploration and a willingness to spend time with themselves and their instrument…their voice…their guitar..their pen..their piano and to be open to possibilities they had previously drawn a big red line through. The possibility that they might in fact be a decent( or even an amazing!) singer or songwriter or guitarist or writer

Sing Out People!!

Your Voice — Your Ambassador to the World

Scientific evidence for the benefits of singing are growing all the time. The things we intuitively ‘know’ are now able to be quantified.

Singing makes you feel GREAT.  Many people don’t learn to sing because they are POSITIVE they can’t sing. People confuse lack of experience and deliberate practice with a shortage of ability. We think that because this instrument is inside our bodies, we should ‘automatically’ know how to play it. That’s like saying “If I can’t pick up this saxophone and be amazing right off the bat, I have absolutely NO talent and no ability and no right to even think about learning to play the saxophone”  Ridiculous Right?

But these are the things we tell ourselves about our voices. CRAAAZY!!!!! The good news is….you can stop thinking this way and you can start singing. Why would you NOT sing?? It’s the built in instrument you take everywhere. You already use it for speaking. It belongs to you. No one can take it away unless you let them……

Singing –  increases poise, self-esteem and self confidence in work and play

Singing- strengthens concentration and memory.

Singing develops the lungs and promotes superior posture.images-19

Singing enhances your expressive communication skills

Singing adds a rich, more resonant quality to speech.

Singing enlivens the body, the mind and the spirit.

Singing gives you a window into characterization and acting.

Singing awakens an interest in words, poetry and storytelling

Singing enriches your ability to appreciate the art of great singers.

Singing knows no age limits– you are never too young or too old.

Singing has proven therapeutic benefits both emotionally and physically.


Friday 13th @ Smiths Alternative

Woo hoo……..

Who Needs Football?

…When you can kick off the weekend in style with me! I’m playing  a live set at Smiths Alternative at 9pm and it would be great to see you there.


 If you haven’t been to Smith’s yet, it’s a cafe, bookshop and bar.  It’s classy, funky and…alternative… a true Canberra gem


The lovely Marianne Scholm will be doing a set of loveliness at around 8pm and I’ll be on straight after.


It’s not on the website so don’t be concerned that you don’t see my name there. Smith’s had a last minute cancellation, so I am a secret surprise!


Friday March 13th


8pm start time

My crazy night in New Orleans with Kim Fowley

I came across an article a couple of days ago telling the world that Kim Fowley was dead.

kim-fowleyIt brought back a flood of memories from my one encounter with Kim Fowley, the man responsible for creating the all girl band “The Runaways”.

It was probably about 14 years ago and I was in New Orléans for the LMNOP Music Conference. Kim Fowley was hard to miss. A tall grey haired man in a hot pink suit. Every day at the conference he had a different colored suit on and they were all equally blinding in their brightness.  Rumors swirled about who he was and whose fame and fortune he was responsible for.

On the Saturday night I played a showcase with my band and I was standing out on the footpath with my guitar after the show. I can’t remember how we started talking but Kim asked me if I’d get my guitar out and play him a song and so I did, there on the footpath. He exclaimed “You are the bastard child of Bjork and Annie Lennox!” He wanted to hear more songs. My husband at the time was my bass player and the three of us walked to Kim’s apartment, a small sparse dirty crash pad somewhere near the French quarter. We sat on the bed and I played him song after song while he manically bounced all over the conversational map. He had this crazy intense energy. I couldn’t tell if he was high or eccentric or manic but he was definitely on fire. At around 3 in the morning we left him and went back to our hotel. He said he wanted to work with me, but he was so strung out I couldn’t tell if he really was capable of doing the things he said he was, or if he was just plain crazy. What was fact and what was fiction.

 I gave him my phone number and we escaped out into the night. Happy to be outside and not quite sure what to make of Kim Fowley. We drove home to Austin Texas the next day. A few days later at 3 in the morning he called and left a long rambling message on the answering machine that ended with ‘Kim Fowley wants to produce “I can see Love”. I don’t remember if he left his number.

My arrival back in Austin coincided with news that my brother Simon had died from  AIDS related cancer, so my meeting with Kim Fowley faded into the background of my mind and became another curious story in my big life.

Singing in July

Well, Winter has finally shown her face here. Welcome I say!  I’ll be out and about playing shows locally and not so locally this month… Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide. Take a look at the Calendar for more details http://lisarichardsmusic.com/tour/.

This Friday I’ll be at Smiths Alternative at Lunchtime 12.30-1.30pm so If you are around and itching for some music, that’s where I’ll be.

On another note, I thought I would share a couple of travel websites that I love.

As you might imagine, I travel quite a bit both for work and for pleasure and I am always on the look out for great deals. On a typical tour my accommodation will range from Couches to youth hostels to 5 star hotels and everything in between. Here are a couple of my favorite websites for accommodation.

The website airbnb is amazing for a very diverse array of paid accommodation all over the world. And I mean ALL over the world.  I have used it in Australia, Europe and the USA. Not only does it provide excellent value but you get to meet lovely people. You can get everything from a shared room to your own apartment depending on your wants. You put up a profile Facebook style and so does every host. Guests review their hosts and hosts review their guests to keep everyone honest and happy.

On another note and for a different style of travel, couch surfing rules. This is free accommodation and is definitely for the more adventurous. As with airbnb, couch surfers and couch hosters have profile pages and both people get to review each other.

So adventure seekers…..  explore and enjoy!