Interview: Richard Varno, Christian rock Artist With Song Angel

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do currently…

My name is Richard Varno, I am a Christian rock artist with the band NOT ASHAMED and also a tech entrepreneur. I’ve been involved in both computer programming and music for over 30 years. My biggest role model in life (other than Jesus) is Buckaroo Bonzai, so I’ve still got a way to go. (I don’t have my own comic book yet and progress on the oscillation overthruster is going a little slower than expected)

Richard Varno, Christian rock Artist With Song Angel

What inspired you to start doing your own business venture?

Necessity really. My band is releasing a new album later this year. A couple of the songs are covers of some classic CCM music (Step by Step and Lord You’re Beautiful), but they are rock/funk versions that are so far from the originals that a compulsory license won’t cut it. So we have to get permission from the publisher, who in this case is Capitol/Word Records. I thought, “what a great excuse to get Capitol Records to listen to our music”, but I really wanted to know when they did. I figured there had to be a platform out there that would tell me the three simple things I wanted to know:

Did they open my message?
Did they listen to our song?
Did they like it?

But after an extensive search. I could not find a single service that would do this. So I built it.

And I figure if I want to know these things, then other people in the industry do also.

That is how Song Angel came to be.

song angel and

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

Well in addition to just getting the thing built and launched (which was 8 months of writing code every night until 3 or 4 am) I’ve been very happy about the fact that the people that are using it are getting their songs on the radio and seeing success in a much easier way than if they had to do it all on their own. I got a thank you letter from an indie record label just the other day telling me how much easier Song Angel made their life and its a great feeling!

What fuels you to keeps you going each day?

Purpose. Music is one of the most powerful forces on earth (even more so than guns or politics) and is an extremely important part of who we are. Some people would say that music reflects culture, but if you look at history, music actually shapes culture. It is more than just entertainment, it shapes ideas, changes popular culture, inspires, motivates, comforts, and calms. It bypasses our minds and speaks directly to our spirits. What we do is important.

Now if you are in the industry, your family and friends probably think all do all day for a living is sit around and listen to music. But you and I both know that producing, selecting and promoting this powerful force of nature takes a tremendous amount of work and at times can be like herding cats. So I love that I can help bring a little bit of order to that world.

Likewise, as an artist it brings me an immense amount of joy to be able to share the music NOT ASHAMED has created with others and I want to share the ablity to do that with other independent artists.

Who are the top 3 celebrities/experts you’d love to work with? And why?

First would be Kristine Mirelle. She has helped so many independent artists achieve their goals and has a really amazing story of how she came up. (She literally used to knock on people’s doors and sing for them to sell CDs, I thought that was so cool) In addition to that, she is an amazing entrepreneur and has one of the most rocking marketing platforms out there. (It also happens to really dovetail with what do at Song Angel, so Kristine, if you are reading this, seriously call me! You’ve got the number! ) 😀

Second would be Chris Lord-Alge. He is one of the most amazing audio engineers to walk the face of this earth. The guitar and drum sound he achieved on some of the Green Day stuff to me is the pinnacle of what rock and roll should sound like. One of my dreams is to have him mix an album for us.

The third would be Peter J Daniels. He is the man when it comes to excellence, operating in business and achieving your life goals. He has been a tremendous inspiration in my life. There is a story he tells about how on your gravestone between your date of birth and date of death there is a dash, a chink mark in the stone that represents your life. I think often about what that mark is going to represent for me.

Take a moment to close your eyes. Where do you see yourself in 5 year’s time?

That’s easy, on stage with NOT ASHAMED in front of hundreds of thousands of people with the best selling Christian Rock album (or that point albums) of all time.

If you could get the perfect help from an online tax return service, what would they do for you?

Show me how to not pay any taxes at all 😀 (I’m sure you get that answer all the time)

Can you give our readers 2 key tips for success in business?

Tip 1: Don’t give up

Tip 2: Really, don’t give up!

Tip 3: You are going to want to give up. I am telling you! Don’t give up!

Tip 4: (bonus) Find something you are passionate about and do that, because money is useless without passion and joy.

If you were stuck on a desert island and could only bring 3 things what would they be?

Well, outside of things to survive, my Bible, a guitar and a solar powered satellite phone becasue, after a couple of months of catching up on all the sleep I missed building Song Angel, I’m going to want to get off that island. 😀

How do you describe yourself in 5 words?

Ministry, Service, Love, Passion, Music

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! Where can we find and follow you online?

Thanks for asking, they can find us at

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