the welder & the lark Press
Singer-songwriter Richard Cortez scores the last day of summer with the release of his seventh studio effort, The Welder & The Lark, partnered with one final music video—completing a suite of three— for “The Overture/Don’t Go, Not Yet.”
Cortez, known for having turned down a production deal when asked to present as “straight” in 2004, has been releasing independent, openly queer music on his record label, Wollenberg Records, for the past 13 years.
The Welder & The Lark, recorded in just six days and co-produced by Jordan Hall (Boy Radio), pairs Cortez’ velvety, warm baritone voice and emotional and thoughtful songwriting with simple yet complimentary production. These 6 original compositions subtly tackle themes of intimacy, monogamy, mental health, and heartbreak—all in less than 15 minutes.
With three music videos filmed and directed by Chicago-based cinematographer Philip Campbell, each starring dancer/choreographer Christian Denice, The Welder & The Lark is a multimedia queer experience curated by an entirely LGBTQIA team—from music production and performance through album artwork and cinematography.
The final music video, “The Overture/Don’t Go, Not Yet.,” pairs the opening track of the EP and an overture composed by Cole Witter that subtly marries melodies from each of the 6 songs from the project.
- 01 Don't Go, Not Yet 1:50
- 02 Chest Cold 3:10
- 03 Grovel 1:26
- 04 Nobody's Baby 2:19
- 05 Willow & Oak 2:00
- 06 Dope Sick 3:26
“nobody’s baby” video
“dope sick” video
the team for the welder & the lark
Jordan Hall (Boy Radio)
Composer of The Overture
Choreography & Performance
Kevin William Reed
EP & Single Cover Art
Live Performance Footage
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 Da Ping Luo.