Georgia‚Äôs third road game of the season Saturday couldn‚Äôt be any easier for David Richt to attend.
Mark and Katharyn Richt‚Äôs second oldest son now lives within walking distance of Vanderbilt Stadium.
‚ÄúOh, yeah, definitely,‚Äù David Richt said. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs what I‚Äôll be doing.‚Äù
The freshman at Belmont University is pursuing a career in music business in Nashville, Tenn., at a school that‚Äôs spawned country stars Brad Paisley, Josh Turner, Trisha Yearwood, Florida-Georgia Line‚Äôs Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley and Christian artist Steven Curtis Chapman.
David is 18 and released a seven-song contemporary Christian album ‚ÄúEverybody Matters‚Äù last winter.
‚ÄúI like all kinds of music ‚Äî country, rock, pop ‚Äî anything that has a positive message,‚Äù David said. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt like to fill my mind with things that won‚Äôt have me focused on good things. I will listen to a lot of different genres, especially if it‚Äôs good clean music.‚Äù
David turned his focus to music before his sophomore year at Prince Avenue Christian when he decided to give up football.
The wide receiver/free safety walked away from the sport that his father, Georgia‚Äôs head coach for 13 seasons, is synonymous with to pursue a career in music.
‚ÄúIt was really towards the end of the summer,‚Äù Mark Richt remembered. ‚ÄúHe had worked all summer with the team, all the summer workouts. Camp was getting ready to start and he just kind of came to me a little sheepishly and said, ‚ÄòDad, I don‚Äôt think I want to play anymore.‚Äô
‚ÄúI said, ‚ÄòThat‚Äôs fine. Can you tell me why?‚Äô He said, ‚ÄòWell, in football, you‚Äôve got to hit people, and I don‚Äôt really want to hit anybody, Dad. Also in football, you get hit a lot. I don‚Äôt really want to get hit.‚Äô I said, ‚ÄòSon, that‚Äôs the best reason I‚Äôve ever heard for not wanting to play football.‚Äô‚Äù
Then Mark gave his son a hug.
The father sensed when his son was younger that he didn‚Äôt really love playing the sport and told him, ‚ÄúPlease, don‚Äôt play for me.‚Äù
‚ÄúI think he liked it and I think he probably thought somewhere that I would be happy if he played football or happier with him or more pleased with him,‚Äù Mark said. ‚ÄúI tried to explain that to him and it never resonated I don‚Äôt think. When he finally told me, I was fine with it.‚Äù
David said he loved football and still does, but said: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs funny because I was 115 pounds as a freshman and the year I quit, I gained 85 pounds.‚Äù
David co-wrote songs with his producers, Tyler Hayes and Mark Lee of the Christian group Third Day. Hayes has written songs for such artists as Jesse McCartney, Hilary Duff and Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20.
David took piano lessons starting in the fourth grade and has worked with a voice coach.
Mark has helped get his son‚Äôs music career off the ground.
He introduced David when he sang a song at country star Luke Bryan‚Äôs farm tour last year in Colbert, got up early one morning during Georgia‚Äôs open date in September to drive to a morning show appearance on Atlanta‚Äôs 104.7 The Fish, a Christian music station and even was in David‚Äôs ‚ÄúDawg Bite‚Äù video that was shown at the G-Day spring game this year.
The video, featuring country music rapper Colt Ford, was panned widely on the Internet.
‚ÄúIt was interesting how people reacted,‚Äù David said. ‚ÄúHonestly, it was very quickly done and when we did it, it was just a fun thing to do for my dad. That‚Äôs what it was. When they said we were going to do a music video, I didn‚Äôt know until the day of.‚Äù
He was surprised when it was on the video board in Sanford Stadium and with the reaction.
‚ÄúWhen USA Today said it was the worst video in the world, I was like, ‚ÄòUgh,‚Äô‚Äù David said. ‚ÄúAt least all I can do is get better. … Just like my dad says, I can‚Äôt let that affect me. They just might be having a terrible day and say that. I can‚Äôt say it‚Äôs the best either.‚Äù
David sang the national anthem at a few Georgia basketball game last season and sang in churches in Athens and Gainesville and performed at AtlantaFest, a Christian music festival.
He‚Äôs worked together with Georgia receiver Chris Conley, who plays the guitar.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs definitely grown a whole lot over these past couple of years,‚Äù said Conley, who said he joined defensive end Ray Drew in that video when the players happened to be walking by when it was shot. ‚ÄúFrom a showmanship standpoint, he‚Äôs gotten a lot more confident. His ability to write and play at larger venues has definitely grown. He‚Äôs only going to get better.‚Äù
Now David is studying in what‚Äôs often called Music City.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know if it‚Äôs the mecca of music period, but it‚Äôs pretty strong,‚Äù Mark said.
David, who will get a chance to stop by the team hotel Friday night to see his father, sees himself in five years as a Christian artist ‚Äúspeaking out and doing things for the glory of God and his Kingdom. I‚Äôll be whatever I need to be in five years as long as it‚Äôs doing God‚Äôs will.‚Äù
Said his father: ‚ÄúHe wants to learn the business aspect if his career goes well. The more he knows about it, the better. If not, there‚Äôs ways to maybe make a living in the music business.‚Äù