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An Episcopal, co-educational 100% boarding school in Middletown, Delaware for grades 9 – 12

Richard Zhu ’26
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Tara Lennon

Richard Zhu ’26 on forging his own melodies and announcing them to the world

For Richard Zhu ’26, while music may be something he creates, it is also something with a mind of its own that has molded him into the singer, songwriter, and student he is today. To him, music is a living, breathing being.

Zhu first started singing at the age of three, and has played piano since five. “I found myself so interested that I kept on diving into it,” says Zhu of developing his love of music, which goes so deep he considers music to be a “best friend” that has accompanied him for as long as he can remember. 

From the moment he stepped on the St. Andrew’s campus, Zhu deeply immersed himself in the school music scene—from the music classrooms as a member of both the Noxontones and the Jazz Ensemble, to the stage of Forbes Theater where he shined in the winter musical performance of Sister Act, to his dorm room where he can be heard humming original melodies. Now a IV Former, he continues to pursue his passion for music in just about every corner of campus. 

As he technically improved as a musician over the years, he also developed a complementary passion: one for songwriting and music production. 

Before coming to St. Andrew’s, then-14-year-old Zhu released his first original album, Village of Dream (Journey), on Spotify. During his admission interview, Richard met Quinn Kerrane, director of the choral music program, and at her encouragement, he sang one of his original songs to her. Enterprising, talented, and bold, he already had all the characteristics of a Saint. 

“I think [it’s] definitely not a coincidence,” says Zhu of this fortuitous moment with Kerrane and his admission into St. Andrew’s. He was destined to pursue his passion here. 

During the fall of his freshman year, Zhu launched his second album, Village of Dream (Youth). He bravely decided to tell the world about his music, announcing to the school his release of the album during lunch announcements. 

“I am not the most confident person in the world, I do doubt myself a lot of the time,” says Zhu. “It’s definitely a huge step for me to tell others that I have music.” But each time he shares his work, it gets easier to spread the word and to be his authentic self, he says. 

The support he has received from the Saints community has helped strengthen his confidence. It is this encouragement and feedback that he says is one of his main motivations for further pursuing songwriting. 

Hailing from China, Zhu calls music a “worldwide” language, noting it as the constant in his life when moving from one country to another. To him,  music is universal, and therefore, one aspect of adapting to a new culture that feels natural. “But you can also keep that part of yourself of where you came from and employ that into the music,” Zhu says of blending several cultures into one song. 

Though Zhu is a self-starter, he acknowledges just how grateful he is for the music opportunities at St. Andrew’s, and he hopes to give back to the Saints arts community as he becomes an upperclassmen by stepping into student leadership positions. 

While many know Zhu as the student who is all-things-music, and he is proud to be known for this passion, he also hopes people see the other sides of him. 

“Music is definitely one of my most important things here, but … coming to boarding school, I also want people to realize that I am more than just a person who loves music,” says Zhu. “Besides being on stage, being in the studio, I also want to be a friend, a classmate, a good person, a good player on the soccer field ... [I want people] to really know me as just me, every aspect of me.”

See Zhu live on Feb. 23 and Feb. 24 as Snoopy in the upcoming winter musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and check out his Spotify page and YouTube account.

Richard Zhu ’26 at Fall Family Weekend
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