Tony Cummings has a talk with Spain-based singer/songwriters NOEL & TRICIA RICHARDS

Continued from page 2

Tricia: It started before we got married.

Noel: Our first date - I got Trish alone under the premise of writing a song. I thought that was a great way of having one-on-one time with Trish. "Why don't we write a song together?" Trish thought that was a great idea, but I had ulterior motives.

Tricia: We weren't writing worship songs. We've always called ourselves accidental worship leaders, because I don't think the phrase was invented then. Hymns had too many chords for guitars.

Noel: We were part of a youth church in Plymouth, and all we had was a flute player and a bass player.

Tricia: And about 10 guitarists.

Noel: Yeah. So we needed something we could play. There were songs coming out of New Zealand - Scripture In Song - and I began to think, "If they can do it, maybe we can." So I wrote a song in 1979 which was later published in 1983 - my first published song, with Thank You Music. Last night I had the pleasure of seeing the guy who gave me the original contract for that. In those days he'd give you an advance on the songwriting royalty, so I got 5p when I signed the contract for "Lord And Father, King Forever" in 1983. Tricia and I didn't try to write worship songs, they just came accidentally.

Tricia: That was the wonderful thing. You'd listen to someone on Sunday or in your Bible study - you'd have discussions with friends - and as writers, as musicians, we'd go away and think about those things; and it seemed to flow out quite naturally. There wasn't the plan to write a worship song, they were just songs of expression of our love for God.

Tony: When Noel started recording albums, it was just his name on them, not yours.

Tricia: My name was always on the song, the little printing at the bottom. We had two small children, and I'm not someone who likes to multitask, so I was very happy to stay at home. I was very involved in our local church; my outlet was there. I was a nervous performer: it wasn't something comfortable for me, so I was very happy for Noel to do that.

Tony: When the big hits started and Noel became internationally renowned as a worship leader and songwriter, did you feel left out of the spotlight?

Tricia: No. It wasn't a spotlight I wanted to be in. I did go with Noel at times: usually a couple of times a year we travelled together, then I would pop up and sing a bit. There were other things I was giving myself to in the local church. I was very fortunate to be in a community of people where being female wasn't a problem at all, and led in all sorts of areas of the church. I was always very encouraged. I was much more happy to write and probably still am. If I'm honest, sometimes it's a bit galling when people say, "You helped Noel write songs?" Noel helps me! But I would say Noel is the more competent musician. He tends to be the music-man, and I would tend to be the lyricist.

Tony: Alongside lyrics, you write poetry.

Tricia: Yes. I don't know which comes first. Sometimes I'll be writing a song and I'll think, Oh, I've got a poem in the same vein. We'll take lines out. Or Noel will have a line and I'll think, That would be a good subject for a poem."

Noel: On the 'Wonderful' CD, the second song is taken straight from a poem Tricia wrote for somebody's wedding.