Richard Smallwood Pens Autobiography
Multiple Award-winning recording artist, songwriter, and author, Richard Smallwood, released his memoir TOTAL PRAISE: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY, with the Foreword written by Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad on November 11, 2019, two weeks before his 71st birthday. In TOTAL PRAISE, Smallwood chronicles his life as a musician and composer and the highs and lows of his music career. He also shares his journey of love, loss, grief, and his bouts of depression, mental illness and his obsession with suicide. Published by Godzchild Publication, TOTAL PRAISE is available on digital retail outlets, including Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.
TOTAL PRAISE also documents his humble beginnings from Atlanta, GA to Washington, DC, to his love of music as a child prodigy to his memories of segregation to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. As a young child, Smallwood also experienced trauma with regular beatings and physical abuse by his stepfather, including the time his stepfather sexually molested a little girl at the church, who was one of his friends. TOTAL PRAISE is an intimate and engaging autobiography with countless stories of tragedies and triumphs by one of America’s most revered music legends.
With all of his many career achievements, accolades, and awards, Smallwood, like many other people, has suffered from depression and mental illness for decades. With a powerful testimony and excerpt from his book, he is transparent about his struggles with the disease and the obsession he had with suicide.
“The year 2015 was a rough one for me. After stopping my medication in 2010 for no other reason than thinking I didn’t need it any longer, the depression began to creep back in increments. It was so gradual that I didn’t realize it was returning. By 2015, I knew that it was back; I just didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t want to talk to my therapist because I knew deep down inside I needed to get back on medication, and that was what she was going to tell me. But each month, it seemed like it would get worse. Being consumed with death began to invade my mind again.”
“The depression was so thick it was almost physical. In fact, it was so thick; it was almost visible. Day by day, it got worse until it was hard for me to get out of bed. By the time that Thanksgiving, the anniversary of Mom’s death, and Christmas all came around, it had gotten scary. I hid it from my family and everyone. I spent many days googling on the Internet how to end my life painlessly. I didn’t want to suffer or be maimed in some type of permanent way and yet still be alive; I just wanted it to end. I watched video after video on YouTube of suicides, people shooting themselves in the head, people hanging themselves, and jumping from buildings, thinking I just needed to find a painless way to end it. I became morbidly fascinated by watching these suicides and couldn’t stop watching them. Every time I would Google ‘painless suicides,’ a suicide hotline number would come up on the screen and say, ‘call immediately.’ I didn’t want help. I just wanted it to be over.”
In 2020, Smallwood will begin his yearlong North American and international tour, “The Total Praise Experience,” where he will not only participate in workshops and performances, but he will engage in conversation with audiences, supporters and fans about his many life lessons and how he has overcome obstacles and continue to struggle daily to remain mentally and spiritually healthy.