HELLO AMERICA!—There are tons of writers, actors, musicians and other artists who only think about themselves, they live for the applause they might experience once they are discovered. Then there are beautiful, talented really cool artists who have a need to give a helping hand to those who are crying for help, and that’s when Miles Richmond who was seriously involved as a musician and composer. It is a special thrill to talk with someone with whom I’ve had a close connection.
MSJ: Miles, when you were a youngster growing up in Sacramento, what were your dreams and who or what affected what you believed you might become?
MR: The Beatles and my parents were the most influential for me. I was only seven years old when the Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan TV Show in 1964. It was one of those moments when time stands still and the experience changes everything. My grandfather bought an electric guitar and amplifier at a pawn shop. Somehow I ended up with it. I was obsessed with music. My parents put up with allot of loud-music-hippie-freaks. Thanks mom and dad!
MSJ: What kind of world did you believe you were living in? Where you able to see beyond Sacramento and the privileges you were able to enjoy?
MR: I grew up pretty close to San Francisco. I knew something revolutionary was going on. I was determined not to miss it!! Living in the suburbs sheltered me from diversity. So, I would take the bus downtown on weekends to visit the library, parks or hear live music. I had an interest in being around different kinds of peeps. I had an eclectic range of friends who were mostly creative, outliers looking to find their way. So, it made perfect sense to go to college inSan Francisco and study studio recording. I knew there was a BIG world out there.
MSJ: What kind of music affected you most as a youngster and why?
MR: The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Stones… Later I discovered old blues artists, jazz and classical. I gravitated to music that was real raw. Music inspired me to create my own recordings. I enjoyed the solitude of the recording studio. It offered me a vehicle to get lost. I worked on the art of capturing a performance without getting in the way of the performer. I used to love recording other musicians. I studied the recordings themselves and became fascinated by the art of capturing the moment.
MSJ: When you began to study music at the Academy in Los Angeles,
Was it then that you had questions of your needing more beyond music composition?
MR: No, I moved to Hollywood to study film scoring with some great composers and arrangers. I had paid someone to take my entrance exam so I could get in. I ended up sacrificing allot to follow my dream. My compositions were being recorded. I was getting excited about what I could do. It was an exciting time of my life. I was hoping I could land an incredible gig and create music for a living full-time.
MSJ: When did the big transition take place in your finding that you had a greater need to help the helpless and the poor?
MR: I really hit the wall in 2000. I had produced hundreds of music campaigns for TV and radio advertisers. I was the Executive Vice President at Tuesday Productions. They are one of the oldest music production companies in America. We bought a nice home near the beach. I was producing other artists and working on music from West Africa. It was all going just fine. One day I was recording a guitar part for an advertiser I can’t remember. It just hit me. I couldn’t do music for advertisers anymore. I was done. My soul searching led me to graduate school and a Masters in Counseling Psychology. I wanted to learn how to serve others. It was the best way I knew how. So, I spent two grueling years running a busy music company and going to school full-time.
MSJ: What have you learned about yourself since working in the community that is crying out for help and finding a way in which to survive?
MR: I started my counseling practice working with homeless veterans in San Diego. It was hard core, man. Most were experiencing PTSD, substance abuse and severe mental illness. It was an intense journey in learning how to counseling others while managing my own suffering. I knew it was going to be challenging because I am a pretty sensitive person. I just didn’t know how much of a toll it would take on my own health and well-being.
Working as a therapist is humbling work. I have witnessed such intense life experiences in my work that it has helped me surrender a little better. I recognize that I can’t carry the weight of someone’s suffering. However, I can be a witness and provide support. Just being heard and understood is a lot. Deep listening can be healing. Standing in the gap with another human being in the midst of crisis is insanely rich. It feels good to give and not expect anything in return. As a result, I receive healing myself. It’s just the way it works.
MSJ: Miles, when you look in a mirror who and what do you see, and how does it make you feel?
MR: When I look past the exterior, I see my soul. I can connect with my eternal qualities that feel much bigger than me. When I do, I feel connected and whole. When I overly focus on my external features, personality or appearances, I can be really hard on myself. Humor really helps ground me. It helps me keep things lighter. I have been known to make faces at myself in the mirror for amusement. It’s a great reminder that we’re all here just passing through doing the best we know how.