“We’ll Give You the Best Two Hours of Your Life:” Lip Sync for Lungs’ Performer Promises Night to Remember

Local small business owner, Geoff Richardson, will take the stage at American Lung Association fundraiser on February 29 at Charleston Music Hall

The American Lung Association in South Carolina is thrilled to announce that Geoff Richardson, owner of Lava Salon and Lip Sync for Lungs co-founder, will be taking the stage in a new capacity for the 8th annual Lip Sync for Lungs event on February 29 at the Charleston Music Hall. Geoff will be trading his iconically loud suit in exchange for leather, tight jeans and big hair for this year’s Live Battle VIII: Totally ‘80s, presented by Audi Charleston. This one-of-a-kind fundraiser supports local health programs, lung disease research and advocacy efforts in South Carolina and beyond.

Richardson is one of five local celebrities who will perform lip sync and dance routines in an epic showdown to win the title of Lip Sync Battle Champion. In addition to bringing star power to the stage, each celebrity performer has a fundraising goal of $15,000 to support the local efforts of the American Lung Association.

We caught up with Geoff to learn more about his history with the event and how his role has changed over the last eight seasons of Lip Sync For Lungs.

Geoff Richardson, entrepreneur and owner of Lava Salon

Q. You’ve been integral in the formation and success of Lip Sync for Lungs. You’re a co-founder of the event. You emceed it six times. You served as a judge last year. And this year, you’ll be on stage performing! How does it make you feel seeing this event now in its 8th year? Why do you think folks keep coming back again and again?

A. I am so proud of this event and the community that has rallied around it and shows us support year after year. There is so much joy. I love that we keep bringing in new people—attendees, performers, the whole community—and once they learn more about this cause and get to know the Lip Sync For Lungs family we’ve built over the years, they want to be part of it. They leave the show inspired, and then they get involved. It’s a ripple effect that has real momentum.

I’m extremely animated and creative, and I wanted to serve in a capacity where I could have the most impact. Bringing this event to life with the other co-founders and ensuring that we maintain a high production value while keeping the ticket price affordable is where I’ve focused my attention.

As a hair stylist, I’ve gotten to know so many people in our community on a deep level, and I’ve found such joy lending my talents to non-profit organizations that align with my values. It’s actually selfless and selfish. I’ve found you need to have both to sustain and grow the work in the long term.

Q. The one role you haven’t played yet is performer. What’s running through your mind? Nervous?

A. No way! I’ve always been extroverted. I was the class clown and friends with everyone. I did a lot of theater in high school and college. Then I went on to improv and short play theater, including my theater production company, SPOTS.

I’ve helped with content creation for the last seven shows, so I’ve lip synced by proxy. It’s also interesting because social media has exposed and prepared people for lip syncing. Karaoke can be hit or miss. With lip syncing, you just need to perform, be authentic and connect with the audience.

Q. Lip Sync has been a family affair for you, as well. Your wife, Noel, performed in the inaugural Lip Sync for Lungs in 2017. Now your teenaged son, Cason, is performing alongside you. You must be proud.

A. Yes! I’m so proud of Cason. He’s a great guitarist and a performer in his own right. I got down on one knee and asked him to be my Ritchie Sambora and perform with me. I was thrilled when he said, “yes!”

And Noel’s performance as Gwen Stefani in our inaugural event was amazing! It was my first year as emcee, and I roped her in. She gave an amazing performance—the crowd loved her. I have big shoes to fill.

Q. What’s your connection to the American Lung Association’s mission? What’s driving your participation in this year’s Lip Sync for Lungs?

A. I initially got involved with the American Lung Association through my sister, Mary Ann, who was a celebrity dancer in the 2016 Oxygen Ball. Her daughter (my niece), Madalyn, has asthma.

But once I stopped to think about it, I started identifying so many more people in my life with lung disease. My involvement with the Lung Association made me realize how many people in my life are affected by lung disease. My grandfather, Papa Rich, had three heart attacks from his heavy cigar smoking. And it was difficult watching my mother’s relationship with cigarettes. I’m dedicating my performance this year in honor of her.

Lung cancer and lung disease don’t discriminate. That’s what brings us all together. The strength of our community comes from our diversity. All of us should be doing something. You can’t fix what you’ve lost. You can only pay it forward.

Q. What would you say to someone who’s never been to Lip Sync For Lungs?

A: Here’s my elevator pitch. The tickets are $45 each—we actually created this event with intent of ensuring that ticket prices remained accessible, enabling everyone to attend the show and gain insight into the mission of the Lung Association. The $45 is a donation, and in return, we give you the best two hours of your life. There is no other event in this town like it. It’s truly inspiring, heartfelt and thrilling. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll have an amazing time.

Q. Thank you, Geoff, and good luck! You can support Geoff by purchasing a ticket or donating here.

The American Lung Association’s Lip Sync for Lungs Live Battle VIII: Totally ‘80s!, presented by Audi Charleston, will be held on February 29 at Charleston Music Hall. To purchase tickets, or make a donation, visit LipSyncForLungs.org. For sponsorship opportunities, please email [email protected].

The celebrity performer lineup also features:

  • LaFaye Benton – U.S. Army veteran and frontwoman of Rock-Soul Band, LaFaye & the Fellas
  • Erin Lok – Stand-up comedian and Second City alumna
  • Anna Krepelka – Owner of Charleston Lash & Brows and event record spinner at “Soul 45s with Anna”
  • Julianne “JuJu” Taylor – Owner of Julianne Taylor Style and business coach, product designer and content creator
For more information, contact:

Victoria O'Neill
(312) 273-5890
[email protected]

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