“The song is where it all starts.” Within a minute of speaking to Richard Gottehrer, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of The Orchard, there is no doubt in your mind that you are talking to a musical legend. A true visionary who has used the power of a song to navigate through many chapters of his career, Richard is a constant motor of creativity. And those gears are only speeding up at 82 years of age.
Growing up, Richard devoted time to classical piano and started writing songs after listening to the legendary Alan Freed on his transistor radio. But that was just the beginning. Fully immersing himself in music as a songwriter and producer in the iconic Brill Building in the 1960s, Richard penned classics such as The Angels’ number one hit “My Boyfriend’s Back” and produced the number one hit “Hang On Sloopy” by The McCoys. Shortly thereafter, he became one third of pop group The Strangeloves, writing and releasing the contagious “I Want Candy”.
In 1966 Richard co-founded the legendary Sire Records with Seymour Stein introducing underground progressive bands. The roster included Ramones, Talking Heads and Madonna. In the mid 1970s, Richard left Sire to focus on his own craft as an independent producer.
Richard continued his upward momentum as a multi-platinum producer gravitating towards the CBGB punk scene working with music acts including Blondie, The Go-Go’s, Richard Hell, and Robert Gordon featuring the legendary Link Wray. To show the grand scope of Richard’s career, he also composed songs for David Bowie (“Sorrow”), The J. Geils Band, (“Night Time”), and Jerry Lee Lewis (“I’m On Fire”).
With the rise of technology in the 1990s, Richard stood by the independent music community and worked to build an innovative digital distribution platform that would empower creators. In 1997 alongside Scott Cohen, four years prior to iTunes, The Orchard was born on Orchard Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Now in over 45 cities across the globe, The Orchard has grown to become the largest distributor in the world for independent music.
Currently, Richard runs Instant Records, the successor to the production company he founded after leaving Sire where he lends his experience to developing new alternative artists. In addition, he runs Cross The Line Music in partnership with R’celious “Swagg” Harris, the Grammy winning producer of H.E.R. The label focuses on developing emerging R&B artists. Both are managed and distributed by The Orchard.
A true musical renaissance man, Richard’s clear vision, passion, and tireless commitment to the independent music community propels him forward.