Born August 2, 1974 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Richard Hallebeek started playing guitar at age 10 and took lessons from local teachers. He formed some local bands and started performing in various jazz and rock groups already at age 12. Completely emerging himself in music as a total guitar-nerd, influences early on were The Beatles, Pat Martino, Allan Holdsworth, Weather Report, Charlie Parker, Eddie Van Halen, Pat Metheny, the radio and every album he could get his hands on at the local library. Already at the age of 17 he was the youngest guitar player ever to be submitted to the Hilversum Conservatory, a conservatory best known for it’s strong jazz history drawing musician’s from all over Europe. Richard studied with jazz legend Wim Overgaauw and graduates with a master’s degree after a 6-year study of jazz, composition and improvisation.
After his graduation, in 1989 Richard joins his first pop group called ‘What A Gig’. Soon after he joins the band, they become the winner of the Dutch ‘Yamaha Band Explosion’ contest. The Yamaha Band Explosion is a world wide talent search for bands writing their own songs. The grand finale was held summer 1989 at the Budokan Hall, Japan, Tokyo. In the jury were a.o. Bon Jovi, Europe singer Joey Tempest and Casiopea guitarist Issei Noro. Hallebeek and his band finished fourth with their song “Question of Love’ and they join Jon Bon Jovi for the encore onstage, together playing The Beatles classic ‘Get Back’