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Gold Meets.... Richard Carpenter: Legendary musician looks back at Karen's extraordinary talent

7 December 2021, 15:33

By Tom Eames

Carpenters legend Richard Carpenter speaks to Gold's David Andrews about his incredible career, the super talent of sister Karen Carpenter and his brand new album.

Richard Carpenter is back with a brand new album - Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook - in which he performs some of the Carpenters' best-loved songs, stripped back on the piano.

To celebrate, Gold's David Andrews caught up with Richard about the new album, while also looking back at the Carpenters' biggest hits and his beloved sister Karen.

Watch the full interview above.

Talking about putting the new album together, Richard explained: "It was difficult, only in that… of course, I’m an arranger, and for all of these years, up until this album, I had done all of the arranging – or most of the arranging – for The Carpenters.

"So I’m used to working with an orchestra, and background vocals, and all of that. And just to perform the songs on solo piano was more difficult than any arrangements I’ve ever undertaken, because you have just the piano.

"It’s a remarkable instrument with a great range, but, you know, I wanted to get it so that it was appealing to people. But I didn’t want it to sound too much like someone had walked into a piano bar. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it was a bit difficult.

"And then I wanted to make certain that I didn’t overdo it, so that it didn’t sound like I was showing off! So, yeah, it was difficult, relatively speaking."

Looking back at sister Karen's stunning voice, Richard said: Everything about [her voice was] God-given. She was born to sing.

Richard and Karen Carpenter
Richard and Karen Carpenter. Picture: Getty

"Some people are just born to sing, like Perry Como. Everything is just right: the pitch; the sound; the vibrato; all of it. Karen had it all, and in addition, she took right to overdubbing, whereas some singers really don’t.

"She could take that vibrato, and flatten it out, if we needed her to go: [sings] “Wahhh.” Just straight-ahead, she could do it. She could do anything, really. She was an incredibly gifted singer. And a damn good drummer, too."

Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is released on January 14, 2022.

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