NOTED PERFORMERS: Richard Ellis Hawley, seated, and husband Rowen
NOTED PERFORMERS: Richard Ellis Hawley, seated, and husband Rowen

Musician Richard Ellis Hawley was last year named Best Private Event Keyboard Musician in the North East by LUXlife, an bimonthly online magazine. The Evenwood resident has gained a sterling reputation in the entertainment industry, playing at a variety of venues.

How did you get started in music?
I began playing brass at the age of nine and transferred my skills at the age of 16. I was working as a professional musician five years later.
I studied the organ in Tauranga, New Zealand, with different musicians around the country, where I learned my skills as a church organist.
I am also going to study under trinity and ABRSM to continue with musical academic qualifications to grade 8.
I moved home to England in 2004 to play music in Southport and York, where I held the post of church organist for 16 years.

Which instruments can you play?
Pipe organ, theatre organ, keyboard, piano and brass.

What is your favourite genre of music?
Easy listening but I enjoy a wide range from classics to rock – and everything in between

Where do you perform regularly so people can see you in action?
Usually around the North East and beyond, but at the moment during lockdown you can see videos online if you search for Richard Ellis Hawley on Facebook

What, when and where was your most memorable performance?
I performed for the Cunard Ships when they came to Liverpool in 2015 at the Thistle Hotel.

Tell us about your business Notes of Life and how it works.
In 2004, when I returned to my birth country from New Zealand, I invented Music Moments, which in turn became Keys Extraordinaire, R&R Entertainments (after meeting my partner) and now is being reinvented as Notes of Life.
I will continue to play for weddings and funerals and after winning an award and recovering after losing both my parents, it’s fantastic to be able to reinvent my music career through Notes of Life.
My short term goals are to pick up customers in the local area.
I’m currently having lessons at regular intervals for developing my organ skills for bigger and better opportunities.
I'm developing teaching skills for passing on my knowledge to the younger and older generation alike and I am learning the DJ skills to present music in a different way and to bring in a further clientele.
My husband and business partner Rowen helps me a lot.

What is your favourite piece of music, or song, and what makes it so special to you?
One Day More, from Les Miserables, among others. I like "lift me up" songs

When you are not making music, what are your favourite hobbies?
Photography, travelling, the coast, meeting new people.

Where do you find inspiration?
I don’t write songs at the moment but am trying to start. The coast is my inspiration along with things going on around me.