Youth Music NextGen Fund artist Richard Carter has experienced viral success with his track ‘Le Monde’, and opened the Youth Music Awards 2023 in association with Hal Leonard Europe with an unmissable performance.
A polymath artist, producer, rapper, and songwriter Richard Carter is on a journey to make all his dreams come true. On top of receiving the Youth Music NextGen Fund at the beginning of 2023, his dramatic remix of ‘Le Monde’ went viral on TikTok, has been streamed over 41.7 million times on Spotify alone, and saw him land a writing camp in LA with other creatives. However, Richard is only just getting started, and has big plans for the next five years.
We sat down with Richard to hear more about his Youth Music Awards performance, creative inspirations, the experience of making music for film, and his advice on how other young artists can get themselves heard.
You performed your track ‘HEAVEN’ at the Youth Music Awards 2023 in association with Hal Leonard Europe. How was that experience?
Knowing that there were people in the crowd that were also performing as well, that we're watching each other, recording each other, chatting it up afterwards...it was really nice to feel all of that in the room and to express myself. A lot of people asked me, "Were you nervous?". I was like, "Nah!" I'm going to throw some energy out and see who feels it. And yeah, it was felt.
Do you have any pre-show rituals to psyche yourself up and get into the performing space, or are you able to just switch it on?
On my best day, I can just switch it on, but if I'm having a bit of a challenging day, I'll go into the toilet and I'll look in the mirror and stare for a moment and just remind myself, you are just a human making some nice music. Go out there and do your thing. It's gonna be alright.
What was your inspiration for ‘HEAVEN’?
‘HEAVEN’ is about listening to all the voices of people who haven't done what I want to do, telling me what to do. And then realising that some people's opinions and advice is good to a degree, but I usually want to talk to someone that is much better than me, doing it better than me... All I hear is 'What's the plan?' People say, 'Make a five year plan'. I sat down, I was like, how am I to plan out my year for the next five years? What if something like 'Le Monde' happens? I'm gonna say where I'm gonna be in five years and when I finished making that song, I started a five year timer on my phone. After that, we'll see if everything I've said has happened. In a way, the song, in one word, is manifestation. It's exploring where I'm from, talking about South East [London] and stuff like chakras, because I'm into meditation. The music video, there's the cropped puffer jacket that I wear. I wanted to play on what is thought of as British culture. I'm like, I'm gonna wear one, but I'm going to crop it, and I'm going to give it more of a rock look, as opposed to what it usually is. And that's to say like, yes, I am from here, but I'm going to do something different.
Your remix of ‘Le Monde’ has gone viral on TikTok, with over 338,400 sounds and counting! Did you expect the song to pop off as much as it did?
It's very weird. So when I first made that beat, it was initially called 'Claustrophobe'. Because it was meant to deal with claustrophobia, one of my biggest fears. It was a fear and then it got put in a horror film! I made a song to it originally, and the song was about becoming famous in a way, and also losing a friend that wasn't really a friend. And all of that happened. So, not to say that I knew, but more like, I just accepted whatever was being sent, put it into a song, felt it, and it just did what it needed to do. But obviously, I didn't expect it to do exactly what I said but it did in a way.
As you mentioned, the track was featured in the A24 horror movie, ‘Talk To Me’ (2022). Did you write the song specifically for the film? How did the opportunity come about?
I had the beat online and it was caught by the film producers at the time of making the film. They were like, 'Ooh, we really like the idea and what's going on. Are you looking to remaster it, mix it, make it something bigger?' And I was like 'Yeah, let's do it!'
I started going in and mixing small things here and there. I ended up mastering it again for the film. They [the producers] had it on set, so they were able to interact with the beat as it was going. I remember one of the actors, she was singing with the beat in the film. I'm just happy they had it really early. That was kind of it - they saw the idea; we made it into something bigger.
As a result of the song’s virality, have you received more requests for work?
There's a lot of random little requests from producers that want to work together. Opportunities that have been happening before that, and it all just set off. I went to a writers' camp in LA. I was there for a week and then they got me to stay another week. I was working with some really talented people there. There's a guy called Trey Kams. He did Boiler Room recently, which was really cool. Belé, who is a producer, also a very good artist from South Africa. They had a great studio called The Embassy; we were all making some music. They're both artist-related, and also sync, so we were making some stuff for film. I've just been exploring different characters and different voices. I'm having conversations with labels and just making sure that they know who I am. What's your story? Who are you? What are you up to? But not giving too much of my hand because I don't want to tell everyone everything.
What advice would you give to other young producers who are looking to sync their tracks into film and TV?
I'll make sure I give the advice from a space where I've done that and that has worked. Make sure that first of all, put yourself out there for it. Because the opportunities can come to you. You might not like that one track but do something with it. Maybe it's meant for someone else. Like 'Le Monde', I was gonna make a song with it but then I wasn't going to at the time, so I just put it out there and it became someone else's excitement. And then it became a lot of people's excitement.
So, A) Put yourself out there. B) Go to networking events. Go on Eventbrite, find out what networking events are going on nearby. Open mics. Just go to places where you want to find other creatives that are as excited as you are. And then slowly, they're gonna be like, 'Oh, yeah, I saw this person at that event. I'm doing this event next week and it's going to have managers and publishers.’ Don't jump into anything crazy but just keep showing your face and let people know what you want to do. Because if you do want to sync your music and film, I want to know if you want to!
Also, LinkedIn, there's music supervisors there. That's a great way to get your music around business-wise. So yeah, put yourself out there. Make sure everyone knows what you want, what you're about. It's like a job application to the world. Just put your CV out online and just stand by it.
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Start finding your way in with Youth Music's NextGen Community.
Get to know Youth Music Nextgen Fund creative, Ijeoma Wagbaranta, who created the live music event series, MOOD Mondays.
Held at London’s Troxy on Wednesday 18 October, the Youth Music Awards in association with Hal Leonard Europe celebrated the most forward-thinking projects and people making, learning and earning in music.