Kāpiti violinist becomes viral star

RNZ reports on 23-year-old Richard Taylor performing a piece by Bach outside Coastlands Shopping Centre in Paraparaumu.

A video (Link below) was posted of Richard to the Vic Deals Facebook page and racked up more than 22,000 views in 36 hours. It now has 74,000 views.

“I wasn’t expecting that. I thought it was a one-off,” he says, following the popularity of the video.

Richard’s music brings a nice ambience to the local mall, says Coastlands Shopping Centre manager Jan Forrest.

“It’s so relaxing and just nice and pleasant,” she says. “We get great feedback about him. It’s nice he’s doing his music and clearly loving it.”

It turns out Richard is no stranger to busking at Coastlands. He first picked up the violin at age four, after watching his mother Mary Taylor play.

Mary, a professional violinist, performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and taught the instrument.

It wasn’t long until Richard was keen to learn, and by the age of 10, he was performing at the mall with his mother.

“It was quite difficult,” he says. “Playing in front of my peers wasn’t easy, but it became a habit over the years.

“It definitely helped to overcome fear in terms of nerves, especially in playing in front of the audience. It helps in every single possible way in terms of performing.”

Richard loves playing Bach but also mixes it up with folk music, Irish tunes, and covers ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and Metallica.

He also throws in a few original classical pieces he’s composed.

Richard is hoping to head to Victoria University later in the year to work on his music education.

But for now, you can still find him busking in Paraparaumu almost every day.

“For me personally it’s not about the money, it’s about how I can get out and play that’s the reward for me.”