Backstage With... Justin Ritchie

Q. Justin, how did you come to the DCCN?

A. I took a class at the Theatre Lab with some friends.  The class was taught by Judy Simmons and George Fulginiti-Shakar and they told me about the DC Cabaret Network.  I started going to open mic nights and then I took more classes with other directors and music directors.  I fell in love with cabaret and the DC Cabaret Network has been a huge part of my life since I first found it.

Q.  You are much admired for your song choices. How do you find material that's right for you?

A. Everyone will tell you that you need to be attracted by the lyric first.  I think that’s true for the most part.  However, I’m always attracted to a beautiful or interesting melody first.  I sort of work backwards compared to most people.  Most of the time I hear the melody first and then I explore the lyric.  If the lyric isn’t something I feel the need to say or a story I need to tell then I set the song aside and keep looking.  I never sing a song that I don’t feel personally connected to or compelled to sing.  I’ve tried to sing a beautiful song that I wasn’t invested in (on several occasions) and it doesn’t work.  It’s just a beautiful song, but the energy in the room doesn’t change in the way it does when you sing a song with your heart.


Q. Where will we see and hear you next?

A.I’m still singing shows and promoting my first CD, “Feels Like Home”:


I also have dates in DC and NYC later this year - the DC Cabaret Network will be the first to know as soon as I have the dates finalized!