The world needs “The World Needs Music” and more music by Richard Peshkin
By Kurt Beyers
“The World Needs Music,” the title track for composer Richard Peshkin’s recently released album, is a fun, beautiful pop song that shares a royal lineage in both its musical heritage and message.
“It’s fairly obvious that the world is in a total state of disunity, chaos and disharmony,” said Richard, “and there’s so little that unites people and so much that creates divisions.”
And music, he said, is one of the two things he’s seen that unites people. The second is sports.
“You can go to a football game, and you don’t even know the person next to you, never met him, but if you root for the same team, by the end of the game you’re high-fiving and hugging, and you might have hated the guy under other circumstances.”
Then there’s music.
“When you go to a concert, and you have 40 thousand or 50 thousand people, and some are white and some are brown, some are yellow, some are gay, some are straight and some are everything,” he said, “and they’re all there in unity to celebrate the power and the beauty of music.”
And now there’s “The World Needs Music”:
The world is an angry place to be
We’ve got to sing, not shout
We need to figure it out
A way to sing away the hurt we feel today
Let’s put it in a song it’s better
The song, beautifully sung by Kelsey Demsky, who also stars in the video, was produced by Mick James, known for his work on Criss Angel’s Mindfreak show. Mick was the producer for the entire album, which features Kelsey as the female vocalist and Dan Brenner as the male vocalist.
Richard, a retired physician, has been writing songs since he was 10, when he copyrighted his first song, “Nadine.” He has been composing ever since. In 2019 he wrote the music and lyrics for a musical comedy, Boca Bound,” which was on the ballot for Grammy nomination.
The 10 tracks of “The World Needs Music,” the first recording he has released, have attracted a wide audience so far. A second album, again featuring Kelsey, Dan and Mick, is ready for release around March, and a third is in process.
He writes his own music and lyrics.
“That’s something I pride myself in,” he said. “Some of my musical heroes did, some didn’t, and it’s kind of neat to do both, so you don’t have to answer to any critics.”
Now we come to musical ancestry. His heroes of musical composition include Hal David, Carole King, Paul Simon, Neil Diamond, the stars of Motown, James Taylor and, the chief idol in his pantheon, Burt Bacharach.
“Burt Bacharach has had an enormous effect on me in my life through his music. I’ve seen him in concert in various venues throughout my life, and his music has meant more to me than I could ever put into words. The lyrics written by Hal David, of course, were unbelievable.”
Bacharach wrote the music and David the lyrics for 1965’s hit “What the World Needs Now.” Sixty years later, the song still enjoys great popularity. For a couple of decades, it was an anthem of a movement to unite people in their common humanity.
“The World Needs Music” is “kind of an homage to that song but brought up into another time period where people can celebrate the unifying value of music.”
“We can all sing together and maybe put aside our differences,” he said.
He hopes that his song will become an anthem for things that bring people together.
“When I wrote it, Mick, my producer-arranger, and I discussed the instrumentation and everything because we wanted it to sound like something you could sing at a high school or middle school, a grammar school or college. I could always picture young children singing it together in harmony — there’s a lot of harmonies in that song — before they learn how to hate.”
The album is a demonstration of what he wants music to do for people.
“What I want is for people to do what I do — sing the music, feel better because of the music, get out of a funk maybe, enhance things. Like, if I’m in love, make me feel love more. If you’re sad, music can make you happy. If you’re happy, music can make you happier.”
He wrote the songs with multiple genres in mind. The second song, coming right after “The World Needs Music,” is “Shut Up,” which almost became the one selected to promote the album. It is a pop version — and a hilarious video — based on a true story about a couple’s dinner confrontation over cooking.
“Right after ‘Shut Up’ is a beautiful ballad called ‘I Love You.’ I’m constantly aware of balancing those things,” he said.
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