Among the many reasons that the North-east region is famous for, music certainly tops the list. In a place where music is integrated into people’s everyday lives, it doesn’t come as a surprise that most artists here pick up music early on in their childhood – for some, it blossoms into a passion or even a profession. One such fantastic musician is Chijanbemo Richard – an aspiring singer-songwriter from Nagaland, who was introduced to music by the likes of Bob Dylan and the Beatles. Today, he makes music about love, joy and the beauty of life. “My entire week is mostly occupied with reading books and making music“, says Chijanbemo, as he tells us about his ambitions of becoming a singer-songwriter and a civil servant. Read on to know more.
We had a chat with Chijanbemo Richard, an aspiring singer-songwriter from Nagaland. He talks about music, his inspiration, and his latest original song.
Tell us a little about yourself, Richard.
Hello! My name is Chijanbemo Richard from Senjum Village, Dimapur Nagaland. I’m a 27 years-old aspiring singer-songwriter. I have done my Masters in Sociology and I’m currently preparing for the civil service exams as well. I hope to create a life that’s a balance of both – civil service and music.
What sparked your interest in singing and music?
My interest in music began somewhere in the early 2000’s, when a bunch of kids in the church were selected to perform a special song in a program, from which I was left out (probably because I was mischievous). Instead of demotivating me, that incident helped me delve deeper into music. I’m grateful as had it not been for that incident, I might have never discovered myself as a musician.
How has your upbringing influenced your work or working style?
I come from a very humble family. No one in my family is a musician. Although my father can strum some chords and hum a few melodies, he isn’t professionally trained. Still, all credit goes to my dad for I learned my basics from him, and my late grandfather, who got me my first guitar from a distant cousin of mine. Since then, I have been playing guitar and singing. I was also a part of the worship teams in different NCFs (Naga Christian Fellowship) during my college days, which immensely helped me as a musician. I can testify this, that using one’s gifts for God’s glory always returns in blessings.
I grew up listening to a lot of 50’s and 60’s music, especially Bob Dylan and the Beatles. Later on, I started tuning in to a lot of Switchfoot and Reliant K – all of which, in some way, defined my music. But, for now, I don’t want my music to be restricted to a particular genre.
Chijanbemo Richard during his college days, as a part of the worship teams of NCF
During one of his practice sessions at home
Do you currently have a full-time occupation? If yes, then how do you manage to indulge in your hobby?
As of now, I am a 30% musician and 70% civil service aspirant. My entire week is mostly occupied with reading books and making music. That is all for now. And occasionally, if I get any invitation from friends to play in some programs, I do that. That’s how I earn my not-worth-calling pocket money as well (laughs).
What’s your work philosophy and where do you take inspirations from?
I am always reminded of Uncle Rev Ricky’s words to me; he says, ‘the process is more important than the product, if the process is right; the product will follow in its own time’. I haven’t achieved anything yet, if we look through the prism of popular definition of success. I still have a long way to go but I’m sure, the distance is never going to tether me. I am willing to toil hard and I leave the rest to God. He will lead me.
Inspiration in songwriting doesn’t come to me very often and even if it does, I’ve been very lazy all these years. But now I realize talent can only get you so far, the road ahead is all about hard work. I also take a lot of inspirations from musicians like – The Tallest Man on Earth, Haley Heyndericks, Uncle Bobby (Bob Dylan), Prateek Kuhad, etc.
What do you hope people take away from your music?
Few songs that I have so far written are more about hope, peace, joy, comfort, longing, love, repentance, celebrating the beauty of life and so on. I write songs to teach, talk, remind and reprimand myself – a manifestation of my inner self. Therefore, I am not sure if you can relate to them but if you do, it will be a blessing.
Tell us about your latest work.
Yes, there is a song I just wrote called “Till the Afternoon”. It basically tries to convey that we are not all too bad – there is a song in every soul, maybe we are just lost. It’s a song of assurance. It needs a lot of polishing though.
To know more about Chijanbemo Richard, follow him on Facebook. Also show some love by subscribing to his YouTube channel. Here’s Richard with one of his originals, “Lost in Crowd”. Enjoy!
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