Oct. 24, 2019

Law student finds the fine balance between legal studies and songwriting

Graham Richardson releases his debut single, Mirage, in October
Second-year student Graham Richardson
Graham Richardson in the studio Logan Coutts

Selling lost golf balls on the road to his local golf course was an entrepreneurial move for Graham Richardson, and it allowed him to buy his “first real six-string.” This led to starting a high school band with his friends, which led to the release of his first single as a singer-songwriter in early October.

“Our band was called The Shift, and we played a number of Battle of the Bands contests around the city,” says Richardson. “I started songwriting at the same time, and have become more serious about writing over the last couple of years.”

As a second-year law student, Richardson finds that music and his studies can be complimentary. He often takes much-needed breaks from studying, to work on his songs. In fact, he thinks there are similarities between the two.

“Law school tests are very formulaic, much like writing a song,” he explains. “I also find that reading case material and keeping up with law school writing assignments provides vocabulary to use in my music and keeps me in the habit of writing. Concepts I’m learning in school are starting to creep their way into my song writing process, but it will be awhile till those ones are ready to release.”

Graham Richardson single cover

Graham Richardson's debut single is titled "Mirage"

Eric Richardson

Richardson’s influences come from a wide range of the musical spectrum, including U2, Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Adele, and Colin Hay. He started writing and playing music because he wanted to be like Bono (of U2), and he is inspired by Ed Sheeran because of the success he has achieved in the music industry through hard work, persistence, and a focus on honesty in his lyrics.

Keeping this inspiration in the back of his mind, Richardson’s work perfecting the balancing act of law school and music will make it easier to pursue both of his passions. He plans to practise law after completing his studies, hopefully in a career in litigation. “Over the summer, I got in a first taste of litigation, and it gave me the same thrill and nervous excitement of playing my music on stage,” he says.

He also appreciates the financial security that would come with a legal career in continuing to pursue his music career.

“One of the things about art and money is that they don’t always get along,” says Richardson. “It’s hard to rely on music to make a living while staying true to one’s artistic vision. Being able to do both law and music, while using my vacation time to go on tour, would be the long-term goal.”

Richardson will appear on the Schulich Soundstage on Oct. 25 at 6 p.m., at the Social Staircase in the Engineering building. You can hear his single Mirage on all major streaming services, including Spotify and Apple Music.