the welder & the lark Press
“Nobody’s Baby,” the second single off Richard Cortez’ upcoming EP, The Welder & The Lark, marries subtle doo-wop nuances and a lone guitar with Cortez’ warm, crooning baritone voice. A humble, earthy percussion section drives the rhythm on this moody groove using sampled, natural sounds generated by the guitar itself and a classic finger snap.
With timeless lyrics like, “I don’t wanna be nobody’s ‘honey,’ but you drink my whiskey, spend my money, and when my love’s run out? You’re no where to be found,” Cortez’ draws inspiration from classic torch songs—originally sung by women whose lovers have “done them wrong.”
With swirling, layered background vocals by fellow queer singer-songwriter, Boy Radio, and an earnest vocal performance by Cortez, “Nodody’s Baby” is a genuine attempt to merge openly gay lyrical content with a genre of music written before the gay rights movement began.
“dope sick,” the first single off richard cortez’ upcoming ep, the welder & the lark, continues the narrative of cortez’ heartfelt and deeply personal songwriting efforts spanning nearly 15 years. the song, driven by intricate acoustic guitar finger-picking and a purposeful kick drum, is adorned with spacious electric guitar swells and richard’s raspy, velvety voice. both in lyrical content and delivery, the song functions from a place of heartache and despair, amplified by cortez’ understanding of lyric interpretation, vocal dynamics, and unique performative nuance. drawing the jarring comparison of love and heroin addiction, “dope sick” is a raw, intoxicating ballad of unrequited love straight to the vein that will leave you wondering, “is it really better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?”
In 2004, after years of releasing home-recorded demos of original songs about being young and unapologetically queer, singer-songwriter Richard Cortez turned down a contract offered by a New York production company that asked him to omit male pronouns from his work and “pretend to be straight” in order to achieve a promised record deal.
One year later, Cortez founded his own label, Wollenberg Records, and released his first full length project, craving something beautiful, funded by the remainder of his student loans.
That year, Cortez, then a scrawny but earnest 19-year-old, booked his own press tour of the US and, in his beat up old Chevy, played at coffee shops, bars, and indie/college radio stations to promote his debut project.
Over the past 13 years, Richard Cortez has written and self-produced 10 albums/EPs, toured internationally, been featured in a myriad of gay publications, licensed songs for film and tv, and played every opportunity presented to him—from performing at the first gay pride in Jackson, Mississippi, to donating his time and revenue to LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS organizations across the US.
With activism and awareness of LGBTQ issues at the heart of his career, Cortez continues to deliver handcrafted and heartfelt compositions documenting his journey through life as a queer individual.
This year, Richard wrote and self published his first collection of poetry, Summer Sale Peaches, an intimate look at the songwriter’s abusive childhood and struggles with abandonment and PTSD. The launch of the book breaks ground for a string of singles and accompanying music videos, leading up to the release of his upcoming EP, The Welder & The Lark, in which Cortez organized a collective of LGBTQ artists specializing in various mediums to create a multimedia experience.
Below photos by Jeffrey Gross