[photo by Oli Sansom]
What’s it like to be involved in all aspects of the entertainment industry? Just ask Nate Richert. Nate – who is widely known for playing Sabrina’s (Melissa Joan Hart) charming love interest Harvey Kinkle in the hit series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch – is not only an actor in Hollywood, he’s a producer, occasional director, and Bluegrass musician. We caught up with Nate to learn about his songwriting process, the type of creative satisfaction from both acting and music, and his take on how music licensing is shaping the current music industry.
Hey, Nate! How are you? Let’s start off with an introduction. Who is Nate Richert?
I am an actor, songwriter living in Los Angeles. I’ve also produced and directed some shorts and sketch comedy.
Congratulations on having your song, “The Girl I Haven’t Met,” featured on Kerrygold’s commercial! How did this come about?
Thank you. It turned out really nice. I was originally contacted by Daniel Kuypers, the director of music at Energy BBDO through my website. He told me they were interested in licensing the song. It was very much out of the blue.
How do you think music licensing is shaping the current music industry and where do you foresee it going?
Well, for someone like me, licensing is the only lucrative facet of the music industry. I don’t often play live. I’m not a touring musician. Like a pint of Guinness, I’m a bit dark, a little bitter, and I don’t travel well. But I certainly pair with Irish cheese.
For those who don’t know, you once captured the heart of every teenage girl in the ‘90s classic series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch as Harvey Kinkle. Was acting something you always wanted to pursue?
I was born and raised in MN and was doing commercials and print work from age 8. At 17, I moved to LA and kept at it. Acting and entertaining was ingrained at an early age, way before I knew what it meant to pursue a career. It’s always been about being a part of a story, creating a fantasy people can dissolve into, or telling an old truth in a new way. Sometimes it’s just telling jokes. I think all of the above apply to songwriting.
What kind of creative satisfaction have you had from acting and music? Would you say one is a priority over the other?
For me, creative satisfaction comes when something really works or clicks. There’s a particular part of my brain that hums and I feel like my feet leave the ground. It happens when I witness a fascinating or funny script brought to life by some really wonderful actors, or when I’ve written a song and I’m hearing some really talented musicians playing it with me. In both of these examples, the first time is the most powerful and, if that feeling has longevity through repetition, I feel I’m involved in something good. If I had to place priority, I’d have to say acting is first based on accessibility. There are a lot more variables involved in having an acting gig.
What’s your songwriting process like? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I don’t think I have a particular songwriting process. Some songs are made up of little scraps of notes and take a couple years to find their way together like puzzle pieces. Other songs, like “The Girl I Haven’t Met,” I wrote in an afternoon with a tune in my head and a feeling to go off of. As far as inspiration, it goes back to that “creative satisfaction” feeling. When I have a thought or idea that gives me that feeling I try to make note of it immediately. Even if I wake up with it in the middle of the night, I jot it down. Sometimes it comes out all at once, sometimes it’s just a line. If that feeling stops, I stop. I used to push a lot harder for completion’s sake and a lot of it ended up in the shredder. Now I have exponentially more notes than songs.
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