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Life & Work with Richard Becker

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard Becker. 

Hi Richard, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my story! I sing and play guitar for the band Walden. We’re an indie-rock band based in Nashville, TN.  We started our band when we were seniors in high school, back in 2012. After high school, all four of the band members continued on to the University of Georgia in Athens, GA, a city instrumental in developing our fanbase. During the pinnacle of our time in Athens, we won the Road to Roo competition – a battle of the bands where the winner receives a slot on the coveted Bonnaroo lineup. This acted as the gateway to signing to a major booking agency, finding management, and expanding our band’s footprint onto the nation. We went on to play other festivals such as Slossfest, Shaky Knees, Summerfest, Hulaween, Kaaboo, and many more. And this past December we just wrapped up a 50 State Tour.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I find it hard to imagine a band that truly experiences a smooth road. The pandemic in itself was one of the toughest struggles in the history of the music industry. So many indie bands broke up, burnt out, threw in the towel. Our booking agency dropped us, we parted ways with our management, and we were left completely independent. Finances were in a rough spot. Morale was low…

With touring being off the table (which is how indie bands make almost all of their money), we had no money to record new music or make new content. So, we got creative…we recorded music up in our attic with the mediocre gear that we had. It challenged us think in new ways. Once touring opened back up some, we had this idea to try and tour all 50 States on $50. We agreed to not let finances get in the way of us doing what we love to do. We put our faith in our fanbase and community that they would support us to achieve this goal, which we named the “Where’s Walden Tour.”

Here’s how it worked: We started in our hometown of Atlanta with $50 in our pocket. We could only use money made on the road through ticket sales, merch sales, and donations to pay our way forwards. We made an engaging website with a “Merch Store” where beyond buying t-shirts and posters, people could donate tangible gifts to the band such as ‘treat the band to a tank of gas, meal, lodging, drinks, etc.’ We even created an option to donate and sponsor our flights to Alaska and Hawaii; for both, we raised enough funds through our loyal fans to pay our way. Journeying through and performing in all 50 states was the most incredible experience of our lives and we couldn’t have done it without the help of thousands of generous and loyal people across the U.S.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Personally, I am a songwriter, lead vocalist, guitarist, and producer in Walden. The band is definitely best known for our live show. For the past 9 years, we’ve put an extreme emphasis on high-energy, interactive, and immersive shows. We believe in the philosophy that at shows, people don’t remember specific songs, people remember moments. We are a band that works tirelessly to make sure our shows create memorable moments that people will be talking about for years to come.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
The most important lesson we’ve learned during the pandemic is to not let ANYTHING get in the way of allowing you to do what you love to do. There is nothing in this world that can keep musicians from making art, playing shows, and connecting with people across the world. There are only parameters, restrictions that you can use to your advantage to think in new ways and create in new spaces.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Sam Goldin
Kelsey Page
Kevin McGann

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