MIRANDA LEE RICHARDS – SO FAR SO GOOD
“Courtney Taylor from the Dandy Warhols calls my genre ‘Pixie Fairy Dust Chick Music,’” Miranda Lee Richards laughs, from her home in Los Angeles. “But I think another fitting description might be ‘Psychedelic Chamber Folk Rock.’”
Richards grew up in San Francisco, the daughter of Ted and Terre Richards, stars of the underground comics revolution. Her father created The 40 Year Old Hippie; her mother was one of the founding editors and contributors of Wimmin’s Comix in the 1970’s. “Growing up, I got the message that if you do what you love to do, money will follow, just not a lot of it.” It was a very Bohemian upbringing to put it lightly.
Richards played in school bands and sang in choir, but never considered music as a profession until her senior year of high school, when fate offered a unique hand. Her best friend began dating Kirk Hammett of Metallica, and Hammett taught Richards a few songs on guitar. “As soon as I knew how to play, I started writing songs and immediately loved the marriage of the two art forms. Eventually I got a piano to expand my musical repertoire.”
Richards recorded her first demo in Hammett’s basement studio, and the then manager of the Brian Jonestown Massacre passed the recording along to singer Anton Newcombe, who asked Richards to sing with the group. Shortly thereafter, Ondi Timoner began filming the BJM for her seminal documentary DIG! (2004). In one scene, a hiker observed the all white-clad members of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and friends gathered on a mountain top location. “Excuse me,” he asked, “is this a cult or a photo shoot?” Miranda then candidly replied, “Honestly sir, I don’t know the answer to that question!”
Miranda had since moved down the coast to LA to further pursue a music career. “I played clubs and open mics while I did modeling jobs and made demos. A mutual friend introduced me to Rick Parker (producer/musician who went on to work with BRMC, The Von Bondies, and Lord Huron), and we’ve been working together ever since.” After recording a few sets of demos, she signed with Virgin, and began tracking her debut, The Herethereafter.
The Herethereafter (credits include Jon Brion and David Campbell) enjoyed critical acclaim, and a heavy film and TV licensing history allowed her to continue playing music full time. Since it’s release, Miranda has collaborated in the studio or on stage with Tricky, Tim Burgess (Charlatans), Neil Halstead (Mojave Three), Tyler Hilton (One Tree Hill), The Hounds Below (Von Bondies), Joel Gion (BJM), Harper Simon, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Beachwood Sparks, Nikka Costa, Susan Vega, Tift Meritt, Grant Lee Philips, The Black Angels, Josh Kelly, Sam Amidon, Cate Le Bon, Turin Brakes, and Juliana Hatfield among many others. She joined The Jesus & Mary Chain for the West Coast leg of their 2007 tour, singing duets with Jim Reid on “Sometimes Always” and “Just like Honey.” In the fall of 2007, she toured the UK in support of a vinyl single “Life Boat” on Sonic Cathedral (the song subsequently went on the receive regular radio play on the BBC in 2009). In early 2008, she supported Tim Finn (Crowded House), and in late August she supported Neil Halstead, both on solo acoustic tours.
In 2009, Miranda released her critically acclaimed sophomore effort, Light of X. KCRW and the BBC jumped on board to support the album (with subsequent appearances on Morning Becomes Eclectic and Radcliffe Mahoney), and two tours of the UK and a date on the 2010 Lilith Fair tour followed. She appeared as the face for the Nine West Vintage America Voices campaign, and she procured another good run of prominent network TV licenses, over twenty shows altogether, with a song “Beautiful Day” she wrote for the indie film and soundtrack to Adam (2009) appearing in the ending credits.
In 2012, her independent release “The Reach” enjoyed some time in the spotlight, appearing on the television shows Burn Notice, Switched at Birth, Beauty and the Beast, and Army Wives. She sang duet vocals on the haunting “Change My Mind” track from Joel Gion’s 2014 solo release Apple Bonkers; the same year, she sang the underground Brian Jonestown Massacre hit “Anemone” at their sold out Wiltern show. She also wrote a song called “Hero of the Silent War” for the groundbreaking immersive feature film, The Hornet’s Nest (2014), featuring Wynonna Judd, Stevie Nicks, and Kid Rock as fellow soundtrack contributors.
As a songwriter, Richards has an uncanny knack for finding the diamonds in the dust of every day life and the relationships within. She’s able to look at an average moment and describe it in a way that transforms it into something much more evocative and powerful. Miranda combines her signature, close to the heart vocals and lyrics with compelling music and arrangements to create a unique magic few artists are able to achieve. Call it Richards’ self coined term ‘Psychedelic Chamber Folk Rock’ if you like, her albums are full of love and loss, desolation and salvation, both moody and inspiring.
Miranda Lee Richards’ third full-length studio album, Echoes of the Dreamtime, comes out worldwide on Invisible Hands Music, November 20th, 2015.