Date of Interview: 10/30/2008
© 2008 Clayton Perry
It is rare to find a talent that can write, produce and perform every note on their albums. And for this very reason, Tony Rich has developed a cult-like following of fans over the past decade, who respect and appreciate his masterful blending of soul, jazz and funk.
Although many know Tony Rich for his GRAMMY-winning debut, Words (1995), his later works (Birdseye, Resurrected and Pictures) were greeted with less commercial fanfare. And while such a setback would derail the career of most artists, Rich stayed true to his craft—eventually finding a home at Hidden Beach Records, a refuge for artists with unique talents. On September 23, 2008, he released his fifth album, Exist.
Ultimately, for Rich, a musician’s artistic integrity is something that should never be compromised. And through thick and thin, Tony Rich’s rugged determinism and incessant persistence have blazed a trail that few other artists are willing to travel. In the end, time will tell if his contemporaries can match his longevity in the ever-changing musical landscape.
Upon review of Exist, Tony Rich managed to find time in his busy schedule to settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on Prince, religion and the current state of R&B.