was born in Beckenham, Kent, England in 1971. One day, at the age of five, Richard was watching his father fingerpick “Down South Blues” (an Atkins-Travis recording) on his guitar. The boy begged his dad to show him how to play it, and finally he did. Despite the fact that Richard is left-handed and his dad’s right-handed guitar was not designed for tiny hands, by the end of that day, Richard learned and played both the chords and the melody. Within no time, the toddler outstripped his dad’s six-string prowess and it was clear to all who saw or heard him play that Richard was one of those rare phenomena -- a child prodigy.

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Concentrating initially on the music his father loved – the country picking of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis – young Richard digested everything he heard, learning even the most complicated of these tunes with ease, and confounded everyone with his dexterity. It seemed that, not only did the boy possess amazing physical skill, but a photographic musical memory as well. Often, a single hearing was all it took to get a piece under his fingers.

Richard first met his hero, the “Godfather” of finger style guitar, Chet Atkins when he was only eleven and was invited by Chet to play with him on stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London in front of an audience of about a thousand. He played Chet’s arrangement of “Whispering,” and Chet played along with him. Then the audience went mad and Chet asked him to play another one. Before Richard could decide what to play, someone shouted “Little Rock Getaway.” and Richard played Chet’s arrangement of it while Chet, not playing this time, watched him in amazement playing to a stunned and appreciative audience. By the time he reached his early twenties, both Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed began to refer to Richard Smith as their “Hero” – and still do.

There seems to be no limit to Richard’s ability to quickly master whatever guitar style captures his fancy. The complex styles of many guitar greats including Django Reinhardt, Les Paul, and Lenny Breau have proved to be no impediment to his voracious musical appetite. Apart from his guitar virtuosity, he is also an accomplished banjo and violin player.