Meet the Band - Richie Kihlken

We are so excited to welcome Richie Kihlken and his band to the #TPfamily! Richie leads the band with his timeless voice, groovy piano riffs, and charismatic honest-to-goodness personality. Dedicated to being musicians of growth and evolution Richie and the band explores Soul, Funk, Jazz, Rock, and Pop. Read on to get to know Richie and his music!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your music.

Honestly, they’re kind of intertwined. Music is inherent to how I feel and experience the world. I process and express everything I can through music. Herbie Hancock once summed up this feeling by saying, “I don't look at music from the standpoint of being a musician; I look at it from the standpoint of being a human being.” Music is somehow both my safe space and what pushes me forward. Whether that means singing in my basement or expanding my musical career. Also playing music and being involved in the Saint Louis music scene has led me to not all, but a lot of the greatest people in my life and created a community that I feel humbled to be a part of.

What else can I tell you about me...I’m currently 31. I thought I was 30, but was recently reminded I am actually 31. I was really excited when Planet Earth 2 came out on Netflix this month. I enjoy doing pretty much anything outdoors; team sports, camping, skiing (water or snow), hiking, biking, hanging in a hammock, and so on. I cook a lot and yes, I too love the Instant Pot. When I garnish with cilantro, I prefer to use excessively large piles. I love to meet new people, so introduce yourself if we ever meet.
You describe yourself as “an old soul” how does this influence you and your music?

I like to think that I am paying tribute to the styles and works of the greats before me. And while art is here to progress us as conscious beings, it helps to ground yourself in what has worked in the past, to lift the spirits so to speak.

Also, I love wearing bow ties and suspenders.

How would you describe your sound?

Purple-hued soul, rhythm and blues music with elements of indie-funk-rock .

When did you start playing music?

I had my first piano lesson at 7 years old.

What is your favorite moment of performing for a live audience?

Anytime I get people to dance. Whether it’s the kids, the couples or the older folks… I love seeing people let loose and enjoy the music I’m making.

What influences your music the most?

My friends, and the music that they are passionate about.  Of course, it is easy to discover music on your own these days, but I notice that the stuff I care about most is music that was shown to me by people I love and admire.

Do you have any words to live by or life motto?


Who would be your dream collaboration?

Dancing on stage with David Byrne from the Talking Heads, of course.

If you had to describe your music in one word it would be….


Do you have a favorite performance that you’ve done in the past or been a part of?

I might have to say the concert from which I premiered my current band, at The Kranzberg Arts Center.  My group learned and collaborated on about a dozen of my original songs in a very short time and we went out and delivered them with so much heart to an engaged sold-out crowd. It felt like the beginning of what was to be a longstanding musical bond.

If they made a documentary about you, who would be on the soundtrack?

Hopefully just Randy Newman, but I also might include Al Green, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Beach Boys, Beatles, Allman Brothers, James Brown, Neil Young, Nirvana, Blind Melon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Amy Winehouse ... I love Amy.

Why do you play music?   

Because I can’t not play music. Even when I’m not at an instrument you can usually catch me tapping my foot or my fingers (aka driving my girlfriend crazy), playing along to the music that broadcasts in and around my head. The continued practice of playing music has never ceased to remind me, repeatedly, of its awesome power.  It reveals emotion, changes body chemistry, and breaks communication barriers. It’s gotten me through bad times and made good times even better. Most of all, I appreciate the connections it fosters to the fellow musicians I play with as well as the audiences I perform for.  Also, the only other job I’ve ever had was flipping pizzas and I’d rather eat the pizza and make music.

Last summer a man approached me after a set I performed at a local art fair.  He told me that since his wife passed away recently, he has avoided listening to music in general because it makes him too sad, yet he stayed and watched my whole set and wanted me to know how much he enjoyed it.  Those are the reasons that keep you going.  That’s why I like to think I play.  Music is the healing power. It finds its way into your life, and it heals you if you let it.    

What is the first record you bought? Where did you listen to it?

Green Day - “Dookie”  and I listened to it in the basement really loud.
If you could play on any stage, where would it be?

A lunar show would be fun. Less gravity. But in all seriousness, It would be a dream to play somewhere like the Hollywood Bowl, Red Rocks in Colorado or The Great Lawn in Central Park.

Are you currently working on any original music?

Always. I learn about music through exploring, so my harmonic and rhythmic development goes hand in hand with writing new songs and even re-working old songs that I’ve had in my back pocket for awhile but not released.

When you’re not playing music you…

Slice, peel, and cook vegetables…  

Do you have any unusual talents?

My family went skating almost every weekend when I was growing up and I played hockey back in my school days so I’m pretty good on the ice. I’m not kidding when I say I’d really like to do a show on ice someday.

If you could perform a concert in any country which would you choose and why?

I’d be down to travel pretty much anywhere. I love the idea of being a touring artist, even though it’s always good to be home. It would be an amazing experience to play amidst a culture completely unlike my own. A friend of mine’s mom has been bringing my cd’s to Swaziland for years, so perhaps I could go see if I have any fans there...

Fun Facts?
  • I eat vegan and am passionate about the environment and animals.
  • I have a dog named Ella. She has the best ears ever (and squishy cheeks).
  • I’m really into beets lately.
  • My grandpa on my Dad’s side was a barbershop singer, and two of my uncles are accomplished barbershoppers as well. I grew up admiring it and now it’s sort of a side passion of mine and I occasionally perform in a Barbershop quartet.  
  • I love Halloween!  The costume box was always a staple of fun times at my house, and it’s just gotten wackier over the years.
  • I have a great sock collection. Lots of cool funky patterns.

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