By Nichole Harwood
Musician Richard Mittelstet released the song “Albuquerque!” on Feb. 23 along with an accompanying music video highlighting what he loved about the Duke City.
His description praised Albuquerque describing it as not only the birthplace of his daughter and home for four years but as a quiet diverse city with much unity and love.
With as much passion and love that has been injected into the lyrics, a casual listener of the song may, however, may find it surprising that Mittelstet had not always felt so strong about Albuquerque.
Mittelstet’s journey to discovering Albuquerque and his love for the city began when his wife was accepted into the University of New Mexico. After receiving the acceptance letter the two quickly packed their bags for the Duke City.
Mittelstet didn’t know what to expect of his new home for the next four years. Everything he ever remembered hearing about Albuquerque was blanketed in negativity and he was uncertain what the future held in store for him.
It didn’t take long, however, for that uncertainty to transform into wonder. Rather than battling with a bleak and dangerous environment Mittelstet instead found himself immersed in a city filled with culture, diversity and a thriving music scene.
“There was so much art and artistic people out there going to different open mics and just getting out and sharing their gifts while being able to just express themselves,” Mittelstet said.
As a musician, Mittelstet found himself inspired by the culture of Albuquerque quickly finding venues to play in and even establishing a regularly scheduled performance at Java Joe’s.
Outside of his growth as an artist, Mittelstet found renewed interest in hobbies he had long left behind including biking and hiking. With his home located near Old Town, Mittelstet and his wife would often walk among the local shops together taking in the art and the culture of the city.
“There is so much talent in Albuquerque and New Mexico in general,” he said. “So many gifted artists and it was great to be immersed in that.”
As his time in Albuquerque neared its end Mittelstet was struck with inspiration on October of 2016 and staring at the city that was his home for many years Mittelstet wrote a song to encapsulate what he loved about it.
“Sometimes the songs just fall out of the sky and that one definitely did,” he said. “Albuquerque is the only city I have written a song for.”
With footage being shot in May of 2017 for an accompanying video the song titled “Albuquerque!” was released. A musician’s goodbye to a city that had helped him grow in his musical career and as an individual.
Now residing in his new home in Richfield, Minnesota Mittelstet said he still treasures many of his memories from his time in Albuquerque. One that stood out among the rest involved events put together by friend and fellow musician Seth Hoffman who has also released his own song serenading the Duke City titled “Albuquerque Nights.”
Hoffman, Mittelstet said would host an open mic for musicians regularly attracting a mix of professional and amateur musicians. The venue would encourage new musicians to play and the crowd would be receptive to a variety of musical styles performed, he said.
“I would just love that because he would just invite everybody and anybody,” Mittelstet said. “He would make an environment of just peace and love.”
While Mittelstet no longer reside in Albuquerque his time in the Duke City is one that he will never forget as he continues to move forward as a musician.
“When I go out and play in front of people I feel fulfilled. It’s what I am supposed to be doing. So that’s what I’m hoping for in the future,” Mittelstet said. “The opportunity to play music for as many people as I possibly can.”