[Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing project in conjuction with the South Plains College Alumni Association. The project highlights former SPC students and their achievements.]
by: HANNAH NELSON/Staff Writer
From playing to crowds of fans to spending time on his ranch, Heath Wright is all about country.
Wright is the vocalist and guitar player for the country vocal group Ricochet. He attended South Plains College in the fall of 1992.
While attending SPC, Wright says he truly enjoyed the music program that was available.
“I loved it,” Wright recalls. “I like to tell people that every day that I woke up there, I knew that I would go to bed that night a better musician, better songwriter, better singer…a better artist in general.”
The commercial music program at SPC helped Wright become the musician that he is today. Having already received a bachelor’s degree in business management from Northeastern State University, he was able to graduate from SPC with a degree in commercial music by the spring of 1993.
Wright first started playing music at the age of 9.
“I had received a guitar for my fifth birthday, but really just thought of it as a toy until my ninth birthday,” explains Wright.
On the day he turned 9 years old, he asked for guitar lessons. After that, he fell in love with playing music.
“I don’t know if I chose music, or if it chose me,” Wright says.
He then realized his passion for playing and knew that he couldn’t do anything else. Wright added, “I was hooked, and later I found out that it was a pretty good way to meet girls.”
Wright’s first performance was at his church’s Christmas program. He played “Silent Night” on his electric guitar.
“Looking back on it, I kinda feel sorry for the congregation,” recalls Wright. “They had to sit through four verses of nothing but straight melody, no variations, no chords…just melody played on an electric guitar.”
After that performance, Wright played anyplace where he could bring his guitar. He played at nursing homes, rodeo dances, craft festivals, and anywhere else that he possibly could. Wright found love in county music. To him, country music talks about the things that are relevant to him, such as love, life, family, and hope for the future.
“It’s like therapy for those of us who can’t afford a therapist,” says Wright.
He also has many different music influences that inspire him. Wright explains that he has always been influenced by the artists who do it all, the musicians who play multiple instruments, sing, write and produce. These artists include Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, and James Taylor, among others.
Wright has performed to audiences of 40,000 and more. He has also performed at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. He has even been able to record with some of his heroes.
One of Wright’s favorite experiences was performing in more than nine different countries to military personnel during the two USO tours Ricochet had the honor of being a part of.
“I’m always honored to be able to shake their hand and tell them thank you for protecting my freedoms,” says Wright.
When Wright is not preforming, he enjoys spending time on his cattle ranch that he grew up on.
“So when I’m not on the road, I’m looking after a small herd of Hereford/Angus cattle,” says Wright.
He also teaches music lessons for guitar and fiddle to eight to 12 students a week. He has continued to stay connected to SPC by serving on the advisory board for the Creative Arts Department.
Wright recently has been accepted into the Music Therapy program at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK. He hopes to become a certified music therapist to help with autistic children and other children with special needs. He also hopes to do therapeutic sessions with hospice patients.
“I think it will be a wonderful way to continue to use my talents,” says Wright.
You can follow Wright on twitter @heathwright67, or “like” his fan page on Facebook. Ricochet also has a website at http://www.ricochetonline.com where you can learn about the band and listen to their music.