On January 26 2021, while walking their dogs, a young Brisbane couple were involved
in a hit and run incident. Kate Leadbetter and Matthew Field were tragically killed instantly.
Kate was also six months pregnant with their first child, Miles.
Three Hearts is a tribute to the three lives that were lost that day.
Dan Rennie speaks to Kate’s father Tom Richter and Jen Mize who sings vocals on the song, as well as a live performance.
ABOUT THREE HEARTS
For the joint funeral of Kate and Matt, Kate’s step-father of thirty years, and full time
musician, Tom Richter, took on the task of assembling the audio-visual elements of the
service. When it came time to choose the music, he realised that, although they are a
musical family, he didn’t know what Kate’s favourite songs were. Racking his brain and
ringing her closest friends, he then thought, “You’re a songwriter, write them a song!”
Tom sat down a few days before the funeral and wrote this song.
“The title ‘Three Hearts’ came to me immediately,” says Tom, but my brainstorming threw
up a lot of silly associations, like ‘three little kittens who lost their mittens’, ‘Three Coins in
the Fountain’ and other nonsense. I agonised over a deep and clever chorus that I eventually
abandoned and settled on a three-verse structure, one verse for Kate, one for Matt and one
for baby Miles, each followed by a simple chorus of ‘one heart’, ‘two hearts’, ‘three hearts’
sung once, twice and three times. Writing the song was emotionally difficult. I cried a lot.”
After finishing the first verse, Tom realised the melody he’d created was too pretty to waste
on his own ‘average’ voice, so called friend and vocalist extraordinaire Jen Mize and said,
“What are you doing tomorrow?”
“Beautiful Jen immediately rearranged her schedule for the next day and I sent her through
a rough recording of the melody to check it was in the right key for her. She told me she
loved it, which gave me the confidence and courage to finish the last two verses.”
The following day at Alien Sound Studios in Buderim, instrumental tracks were laid down,
with engineer Ian Belcher, with Jen Mize scheduled to record a little later that day. Says Tom of
the recording session for Three Hearts, “Ian had never met Jen before, but I knew he would
be blown away by how good, how fast and how professional she is. Sure enough, as soon as
Jen put on the headphones and began to sing, an enormous smile spread across his face and
refused to leave. And for the first time since that terrible afternoon, I smiled, too.”