Yesterday…, by David, KePlay Richardson, Jr.


David Richardson, Jr. of KePlay Productions is a musical genius.  His musical gifting imply that he has the mantel of Thomas Whitfield.  He is steeped in a musical heritage that comes straight from the pages of an old Baptist hymnal. He has an ear for any chord progression, a voice that can reach into the heavens and his heart is made of gold.

Everybody comes from somewhere.  Our paths are not all the same.  The issues that push and pull us into our callings are not always clear and bright and beautiful.  But God still works it all to our good. David has been kind enough to share a piece of his childhood with us to show us how KePlay came to be.

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It was the year 1973 and a baby boy was born to David Richardson, Sr., and Frances Elizabeth Davis. They were not married, but loved each other very much. They would never admit it, but they did. My mom, her best friend Barbara Pankey ( who is now Barbara Shepherd), my god-mother wanted to name me ‘Shawntell Tymarion Richardson,’ after a friend of hers. My father, on the other hand, wanted to name me after him. It’s evident what my name is today! There was no debate or discussion what my name was going to be.

My grandma Mrs. Ella Maye Newell-Hall was a unique woman. She’d come from a long line of Newells from Crystal Springs, MS. She was a no nonsense type of woman. She didn’t bite her tongue, talked about you, made fun of you, and loved you all in one twisted way. But we knew she loved us, that was just her way. If you don’t grow up with love and affection around you that will become the outcome of the type of person you may be. She was not a fan of my father at all. But somehow they both managed to agree to disagree, if you will. My dad was around when I was little, from what I was told. I was too young to remember. At least I knew who my father was. Some don’t get the opportunity to know who their fathers are.

As I grew older I developed a love for music. I was only 5 years old and knew that I wanted music to be a part of my life. We were members of the Morning Star MB church in Kankakee IL. When the choir would sing and I would always be fascinated with them singing and the music that was being played. I even mimicked our pastor, William H. Copeland Jr.’s, sermons! My biggest mentor was James L. Hudson minister of music, or in today’s term MD (Music Director). My mother noticed I was musically inclined. They bought me this little organ at a garage sale. They way I remembered it; it was like an accordion on legs! There was one key that was stuck, so the creative kid I was, I took a spoon and jammed it in the hole to stop it from playing. So when I wanted to play that particular key, I would lift the spoon up so it could play. Thank goodness it was the key on the end of the organ and not in the middle!

Time passed on and when I was about 10 years old, our church had a children’s ministry called the Sunshine & Red Circle Missions. If you were a Baptist in those days, then you would know all about it! They had a program that my friend at the time, Willie Lavalle Sykes II and I sang on that Sunday afternoon. I played and we both sang. Afterwards, the whole church was very amazed. They didn’t know I could sing and play like I did. That started whole new chapter in my life!

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