Ai LIVE: Songwriter Allan Rich talks inspiration and music industry
In this episode of Ai LIVE, host E. Vincent Martinez chats with renowned songwriter Allan Rich. Rich has worked with numerous celebrities in the music industry, including Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand, James Ingram, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Kristine W, Natalie Cole, and many others. Rich is also a two time nominee for the Oscar, Golden Globe, and Grammy awards.
With such a celebrated career, how did Rich get his start? Many years ago, Rich was a budding singer/songwriter in New York City. One night, someone who worked at a music publishing studio noticed him, and invited him to come to work. Despite getting into work, it took another eight years before his first song got published. As he tells Martinez, he wasn’t an overnight success. While the rise of social media has altered how talent is discovered, Rich cautions that expecting a quick rise to stardom isn’t realistic. It is possible to break through, but he urges aspiring songwriters to put in the work and keep at it.
One of Rich’s most well-known songs, “Run to You,” is from the 1992 film “The Bodyguard,” starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. As Martinez asks about the song, Rich gives some interesting background behind the scenes. When he first penned the lyrics to the song, Rich was going through a break-up, and he wrote down the feelings he had, wanting to run after his romantic partner. While the song was revised for the final film, going from a break-up song to a “take a chance on me” song, the emotional resonance was clear throughout, making it an unforgettable song.
In the fall of 2021, Rich is hosting a mini-course on songwriting. Part of the course will feature collaborating with others and finding what makes a good songwriting partner. Rich’s songwriting partner, Jeb Friedman, will share their thirty years of experiences; Brett McLaughlin, another individual in the music industry, will help students find ways to get their music out there. This course is open to all Art Institute students, regardless of which program they currently are in.
Rich notes that a lot of people want to become songwriters, but often don’t know where to start or hesitate because they are scared. “Now’s the time to not be afraid,” Rich says, “now’s the time to take the chance and do it.”
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