Richard DHear an interview with Richard D:
I've been part of the choir for about seven to eight months now. I joined in mid-January when I heard them perform at St. Martin's in the field's concert for Remembrance Day. So I found out a bit more, and I found out they were opening for Coldplay and I got really jealous because it was too late to join the group. I was gutted. But I made a New Year's resolution that I'd start in the New Year. We performed at a whole range of mixed varied venues from football grounds to John Lewis Department Stores, the underground, pub gigs, church halls, and business conferences. That's what I love: you never know where you're going next. We don't always know what we're doing until the night itself when Marie makes up her mind. I'll often get a text message about what songs we're going to perform and it will be changed at the last minute and cause complete chaos, but luckily we're well rehearsed on most of them.
Not everyone is homeless. I've never been homeless before. But there's a good mixture of people from different backgrounds. There's a really good social aspect to the choir. We did a gig at Spitalfields Market about a month ago, and me and the others hung around late into the night going to all-night bagel stores in Shoreditch. It's a really good group to socialise with. They really look out for one another. That's what makes me come back more than anything.
I used to run Crisis football team, a homeless charity, as a playing manager some years ago, and that was in connection with Street League. I've also played in the P and A League. I suppose it helps me more mentally, it helps me get out of the flat. I know a lot of friends of mine who do sit around just claiming benefits but I like variety, I like to do things. It helps me mentally as well, my issues with OCD. I've tried to work hard over the years. I know some people that hardly go out at all with their issues with OCD so I think I'm quite fortunate that I manage to keep a busy lifestyle.
It's hard to pick a song to sing on because you have to be quite specialist. I've got more confidence through the group especially during Karaoke, but I have to pick a song that's suits my style of vocal really, I can't just sing anything. I've only had one solo so far, in Bonny Tyler's total Eclipse of the Heart. I haven't got the best ability as most people would probably agree, but I've got performance skills because I've been performing for years since I was fifteen and now I'm thirty-two. So probably I perform a song and I enjoy performing in front of an audience. I love them when they're happy and smiling, that's what brings out the best in me. Even if I can't do it ability-wise through strength of vocals I can get by just by being enthusiastic and determined to work hard.