LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Henderson singer-songwriter is making headlines not only for his distinctive sound but the soulful lyrics that he said helped him heal. 

“Guitar has always been a safe space for me to be free,” said Michael Richter. He’s making his mark by telling his story. “It feels so right to play in front of people and just enjoy it.” And, it comes naturally to the 25-year-old.

Michael Richter is a Henderson singer and songwriter. (KLAS)

“My grandpa played for Waylon Jennings,” Richter said. But it was his mom that taught him those first chords.  “We’d play music together. She’d play rhythm guitar and I’d play solo or something. It was just really great.”

But time with his mother was cut short when she was murdered by his stepdad. Richter’s escape and healing became music and his mother; his muse. 

“I immediately played my guitar after. Like, that same night I found out I was immediately playing my guitar,” he said.

His mother never really got to hear him sing, so he picked an Imagine Dragons song to perform at her memorial. 

“Just living in that world that they made, that first album was just so healing for me and I didn’t feel alone.” And that is what he strives for when he’s composing. “That’s why I feel like I have to. Like I have this story and I just want to share everything that that time in my life was about.” Richter added, “You just feel like you are kind of like bleeding out to people.”  

His first album came out in 2022 on what would have been his mom’s birthday. 

“I’ve got a full band now and we’ve been recording with an engineer,” Richter said. “He actually recorded Imagine Dragon’s first album, so it’s felt like a full circle.”

Richter says he feels truly alive when he’s performing, but still feels the sting of loss.

“I opened for Jason Mraz and I just wish my mom could be here.”

What began as a nightmare, chord by chord became a dedication to embracing life’s challenges and finding new opportunities to grow. 

“It’s really about enjoying the moments you have it,” he said. 

Richter said he doesn’t need to be the next Imagine Dragons. He just wants his music to be there for the people who need to hear it. 

You can find Michael Richter’s songs on Spotify, Amazon and iTunes. His new EP comes out Friday, Oct. 13.