Talented Guitarist Gaining Recognition in Apartment Complex

Walking by the quiet confines of the Danieley Center apartments, Elon students often find themselves caught up in the thundering, electric sound waves pouring out of one of the rooms in apartment B. They are not alarmed though. The noise is familiar.  These recognized melodies sound much like those from the likes of Springsteen, Simon and Skynyrd, but they’ve never heard the song before. 

The man who classifies his music as “Guitar-Driven Indie Southern Rock,” sophomore economics major Raleigh Richards, is just about as normal of a student as there is on campus.  Anyone with an ear for music though would think they are hearing the notes of a true rocker.  

Richards, 19, is a self-taught guitarist capable of melting faces much like the ways Hendrix and Clapton did.  He writes his own music. He sings his own songs. But he’s not in a band, and he’s never played in front of a crowd. 

With over 15 of his personal songs already put together, Richards has enough music to put out a record, but his future plans don’t necessarily include a Grammy award.  

“I’m here to get a degree,” says Richards.  

He strums a chord on his cherry red Fender Telecaster, and shakes out the last drops of a Poland Spring into his mouth.

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In fact, it is his hopes of one day getting a good job and making money that keep him from rising to stardom.

“Hopefully I can be in a good place to get a job out of school.” 

The plainly dressed rocker plays the opening chords to the Rolling Stones’ hit “Start Me Up,” and goes into a series of other classics.

Richards credits his influences to artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Radiohead, and Kings of Leon, and it shows in his music.  His playing reflects a modern sound that has very obvious classic rock influence.

One of his musical gems includes a pulsating, mystical intro that sounds like a track from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but smoothly lashes into a guitar solo that would easily fit into any song by Led Zeppelin.  His ability to showcase different generations in his music is something he credits to his peers. 

“Now that I hang out with people who have different tastes in music, I’ve started to mix up the old with the new,” says Richards.  “I listen to a lot of different stuff now.”

Two guys scream in from next door to put in a request for the next riff.

“Rals let’s hear some Ozzy,” his neighbors badger. 

Richards just laughs, sliding his hands up the instrument’s neck to tune up for the request.

The studious rocker doesn’t just limit his songs to work on the guitar.  He uses Garageband, a recording and mixing program, to mix different guitar sounds, and even create drumbeats and bass lines.  It is this that gives him the ability to write whole songs, but it is the lyrics that are currently off limits to other ears. 

“I’ve never sung any of my songs to anyone,” says Richards.

But that’s just the way he likes it. 

In fact, if it wasn’t for his booming guitar playing and admiring neighbors, Richards’ skills would be virtually unknown to anyone. 

Vincent Ayube, Richards’ neighbor, is also one of his biggest fans. 

“I lived with Raleigh last year in a dorm and I didn’t even know he played,” says Ayube. I come here the first weekend this year, and I’m like ‘What? You don’t play an instrument’.” 

Simply playing the guitar though isn’t what has his few listeners talking to other students about who they feel is “a really talented guy,” as Ayube jokes with Richards about his lack of exposure. 

“Raleigh is gonna be a huge rock star,” kids Ayube as he mimics Richards’ guitar playing . “You need to quit that business stuff Rals and make a band.” 

Richards is unassuming and humble about his ability, as he takes it as something he simply enjoys doing for himself. 

“I love playing the guitar,” says Richards. “It’s fun. I love it, and I love making music, but that’s all it is.” 

He sheds himself of the guitar and looks at his laptop screen and laughs.

“Why be in a band when I can make power points?”

 

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