Meet Damien Richards, 30, a single New York-based singer/songwriter/musician with a dazzling smile who can strum your pain with his fingers and sing your life with his words.
BY DEMETRIA L. LUCAS
I practice my songs on the guitar for at least 2 to 3 hours a day, 7 days a week," says Damien, who mixes alternative rock with R&B.
When he’s not playing his own music, he studies the work of musical greats from the 70s such as Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, Donnie Hathaway and The Impressions.
When it comes to his songwriting, Damien draws from his personal life. “A lot of songwriters write stories like I do,” says Damien. “There’s some similarities, but I have unique experiences and a unique story. My songs are my take on what I’ve been through.”
When it comes to storytelling, Damien is drawn more to rockers like Goo Goo Dolls and Smashing Pumpkins, than say Ne-Yo. “I go for the rougher side of storytelling,” says Damien. “I’m not as smooth as I want to be sometimes.”
Damien began teaching himself to play the guitar about 8 years ago.
“I was forced to learn,” he says. “I wanted to express myself through music. A lot of other musicians and producers that I came in contact with, they weren’t seeing my vision. I decided not to depend on anyone to play my music.”
When Damien was just starting out with his music, he played in the New York City subway system.
“I was just eager to let people hear that I could play,” he recalls. “It’s part of paying dues. You want to be able to say you did it. It’s part of the struggling musician mystique.”
For now, Damien’s put performing on hold to work on his next live-studio album. He has a home studio where he does his production and his vocals.
Damien moved to Queens from Trinidad when he was 13. And of course, there are times when he misses his home.
“I miss the nature of the countryside where I grew up,” says Damien. “I lived close to the water, to the lagoon. My younger days were very country. I miss the forest and the salt water.”
Damien is very single. Are you his type?
“I’m looking for chemistry more than anything,” says Damien. “I have no particular preference for size or height or hair cut or texture. I just like people that are down to earth and outgoing and smart.”
Damien’s ideal of romance is simple and classic.
“I’m all about the right setting behind closed doors,” he says. “Candles to set the mood, fruits, and lots of lovemaking. It should be a slow, prolonged process.”
What feature will catch his eye across a room?
“Her mouth,” says Damien. “I prefer a woman with a nice smile and straight teeth. That’s a definite plus.”
Damien describes himself as easy-going and laid back. “I let people be themselves. If they say something I don’t agree with, I won’t address it.”
But there are a few traits that will rub him the wrong way.
“Bad table manners would turn me off. So do judgmental women or anyone bourgeoisie.”
When it comes to a first date, Damien would rather take you to a show than catch a movie.
“I like off-Broadway shows,” he says. “I have friends that act so I go check them out. Not everyone’s into those. It’s a different routine.”
When Damien’s not strumming his guitar, you can find him with head buried in a book.
“I like to read history books or anything about different cultures, especially Europe,” he says. “I’m not able to travel as much as I’d like to so this is my way of making up for those experiences.”
Damien’s single “Blues Rendition” will be released on iTunes and Rhapsody on DEC. 17.
“The lyrics are very vague, but the song was inspired about the time my house burned down,” says Damien. “It’s about knowing pain and struggle.”
Find out more about Damien on Facebook/damienrichards