Originating from LaPorte, Indiana, Rich Hardesty is a long-time experienced musician who covers important topics with his music and uses his lyrics to assert his strong opinions. He learned how to play a multitude of instruments, starting at the age of 8, including piano, guitar, harmonica, and percussion. He also mastered the astonishing skill of performing on a unicycle on a treadmill. Through his long-standing relationship with music, Rich Hardesty has developed a career creating songs with a combination of rock and roll, country and pop genres.
Rich Hardesty’s “Keep America (Freedom Sings)” is meant for a specific type of audience; college students were the original target audience that launched his career. Ever since he released his first album “Jones’n” in 1992, he has continued to produce many other controversial songs including “Ganja Plantation” and “The Break-Up Song.” Rich’s songs cover topics that generally result in conflicting opinions, and he introduces an almost comical edge. “Keep America (Freedom Sings)” has a catchy background drum beat which is paired with subtle electric guitar riffs. The background instrumental is the only part of “Keep America (Freedom Sings)” that is understated. His lyrics attract the most attention because he wrote his song from a nationalistic, anti-globalism perspective. Rich Hardesty includes countless strong remarks such as “throw socialism in the can” and “propaganda wants you to lose.” During the chorus, Rich shares his political views by singing “keep America great again,” switching the phrase to “keep America winning again” at the end of the song. For those fans with strong conservative values that match Rich Hardesty’s, “Keep America (Freedom Sings)” is a political song to remember.
Listen to “Keep America (Freedom Sings)” here.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Rich! You expressed many strong opinions in your new release “Keep America (Freedom Sings),” can you elaborate on your message with this song?
When you love America......you write a song about it. I feel blessed to live and work in the greatest country on the planet. This country has given me the chance to fully realize my gifts and talents... and I'm super grateful for that! I wrote this song to celebrate America, look after one another, be kind to one another... and bless up to this great country.
Keep America is about the hardworking men and women who are not only patriots but also make America their North star. Together, we build the dream and look after our great nation as an army of kindness.
You have been creating music since your first album release in 1992 which was made famous by a college student fan base. Can you tell us how your music has evolved since then?
I believe you can create your own reality and that thought can become things.
The song that made me famous "The Break-Up Song" was a song I wrote in the dorms and that was the gateway song to hundreds more. It led to stoner songs like "All My Friends Are Stoners" that lead to me being a movie called "Totally Baked" with John Oates as well as getting featured in High Times Magazine twice. My gateway song took me to Negril, Jamaica performing for spring breaks where I would be inspired to write hundreds of songs including "Back to Jamaica" and "Black Sheep Butterfly" that would later have me recording with Julian Marley and Sly Dunbar in Kingston on my reggae album "The Sunset Show". I have been on a musical personal growth wave always being aware of my thoughts and my vision never taking my eye off the target. I have traveled out of the country over 50 times to soak up the culture and find inspiration for more material and releases. I have found myself in Third World countries with my guitar singing to the less fortunate and building neighborhoods to keep them safe. Losing my dad to brain cancer also kept me writing and in the studio as I used my art as therapy to heal. Songs that came from that are "Sleeping Tiger" and "Like a Boomerang". Becoming a dad made me also look in the mirror and dig deep into my soul to later release albums like "Authentically Rich " where i decided that I would continue to stay independent as an artist so I could be "me" and not have to fit into the mold of a record label or a genre. Staying authentic also means I can give my fans the music they want in it's raw "Rich" form. Change is inevitable but my personal and musical growth has always been an option. If you listen to all 17 of my records you can see the personal growth that has taken place along the way. The songs are stories of my life good and bad. I have always been able to grab the guitar and hit the hills or light a candle and sit at the piano instead of reaching out for a false hight to get me through. It has not always been easy. I was sponsored by Jagermeister for 18 years and I will never forget the 36 city tour in 6 weeks where I was grateful to make it home alive....lol. I don't like comfort zones so I have always been the artist who took the road less traveled in order to remain different. There are times when I felt pressured to write for society or cookie-cutter radio formats but then had to get back to the basics and to my authentic roots. It's been nice to record in New York (Tin Pan Alley), Nashville (Sound Emporium/The Cabana with Chad Carslon) or LA with Gregg Wright and other big artists but I am happiest when I am writing and recording in my home studio with my dogs on the floor and the candles lit. That is where the tears are shed and the shivers go up and down my spine.
You mastered the very impressive and intricate technique of performing on a unicycle on a treadmill. Why did you decide to learn this skill? Has it helped shape your musical style?
I remember thinking that it could be done and that we as humans are limitless. I thought what great cardio exercise too. I practiced and learned while my little boy was about 2 years old sleeping on the couch with the dogs. I still have the original video somewhere. The next thing you know I was on a plane being flown into the Late Show with David Letterman and had my act recorded on the Ed Sullivan stage. I got "bumped" from the show that Thursday on the same day Johnny Depp and his band were there getting taped. They asked me back right before David retired. Then AGT called and The Gong Show but I didn't want to be a circus act. I ended up releasing a similar video on youtube "Go Cubs Go" for my moms' bday as she is a HUGE Cub fan. I believe everyone is limitless!
At the end of your song you switched the usual chorus lyrics from “keep America great again” to “keep America winning again.” What was the significance did this change, and what did you mean when you said “winning?”
I am pro-America and I love this greatest country on earth. I recognize that the economics of our country have gotten better, jobs for minorities and women females have gotten better, controlling immigration situations have improved. Manufacturing jobs are coming back to our country. There is a cultural war going on in the world between the evil and the good. I am reminded daily of a book I read by Napoleon Hill "Outwitting The Devil" where he talks about fear, indecision, hypnotic rhythm vs positivity. Winning to me is focusing on the good and the positivity and not giving energy to the fake evil negative evildoers who provoke propaganda and dogma.
What can we expect to see next from you throughout 2020?
I want to become the best version of myself that I can be. As an entrepreneurial musician, I will be laser-focused on doing things that will allow me to have the time freedom to keep traveling and building relationships. I want to create when I want to create, sing more and collaborate with other like-minded people as I build my brand. I am in the business of making people better and that makes the world better. "You can have everything in life that you want if you help others get what they want" - Zig Ziglar.