Below, you can read our interview with ROB Rise On Belief. Check out our full music review of his album Bright Fame here.
Q: Great to be speaking with you, Rob! Your roots are in the Brooklyn, NY area – do you think growing up in one of the country’s biggest musical cities influenced your growth as an artist?
A: Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, has influenced my growth as an artist. Brooklyn is a giant melting pot full of different cultures and music. And in the neighborhoods I grew up in, Ocean Hill Brownsville, Bushwick, Flatbush, Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Park Slope and Clinton Hill, you can hear gospel, rock, R&B, salsa, reggae, jazz, classical, disco, and hip-hop played in each neighborhood. And these different styles of music play a significant part in how I express myself through my lyrics. I have to say I am so fortunate to have been born in a city with such incredible diversity in music.
Q: “Bright Fame” is your second full-length release. Do you feel your sound and style have evolved since your release of “Rise On Belief” in 2010?
A: My sound and style is more profound, gritty, and emotional because of situations in the past ten years. And it has become more enlightening and a little dark as well. And all these changes in my style that occurred in the last ten years have helped me create my best work to date.
Q: How long did “Bright Fame” take to record, and how was the experience recording at Avatar Studios?
A: It took two days to record “Bright Fame,” and recording at Avatar Studios, now known as Powerstation, was incredible. As soon as the band and I walked into the studio, Tino Passante, the studio manager, was there to greet us. And we could feel the energy of the most excellent musicians and singers who came before us. It is such a beautiful studio with many different recording rooms. But two of my favorite rooms were studio A, and Studio B. Studio A is where they recorded Orchestras and soundtracks, and artists like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton recorded in this room. We recorded “Bright Fame” in studio B, a spectacular space; Chic, Madonna, Luther Vandross, and Bjork recorded in this studio. They had top-notch boards, excellent drums, powerful microphones, and the perfect atmosphere to allow your musical talents to flow. The engineers were great, the front desk people were terrific, the breakroom had all the good snacks, and we felt like A-list celebrities. But the most significant overall experience was having my mom, a professional photographer, take some fantastic photos of the band and me as we were recording. And to see my mom being so proud of me was priceless. And this memory will stay with me forever because a year after recording “Bright Fame,” my mom passed away from breast cancer. The whole experience of recording at Avatar Studios, now known as Powerstation, will always be one of the most incredible experiences in my recording career.
Q: Your songs tell complex and relatable stories that are designed to inspire. What is your songwriting process like?
A: My songwriting process begins with situations in my life, other people’s experiences, what is happening in the world today, and sometimes the sounds of nature. And when these things touch me, I’ll start to sing a melody in my recorder, take a pen, and write words to my tune. Or sometimes, I would write a poem and turn it into a song. But most of the time, my songwriting process takes place at 1- 5 am because that is when my home is nice and quiet. I can concentrate on writing a powerful song, and then I create my melody on my pro-tools; next, I get my band together, and we start to put the music to my songs.
Q: Perhaps in some unspecified amount of time, your musical career explodes in the best of ways. What does that look like for you?
A: It looks like me walking across the Grammy Awards stage, collecting my Grammy awards and going on a world tour, opening up my production company, and writing and producing for other artists.
Q: You get to collaborate with anyone of your choosing. Who is it?
A: I would like to collaborate with Lenny Kravitz.
Q: Your favorite album of all time? (Yup, you gotta choose one.)
A: My favorite album of all time would be, “Songs In The Key Of Life” by Stevie Wonder.
Q: Your favorite song of all time? (Again, only one!)
A: My favorite song of all time is, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears For Fears.
Q: What would you like fans to know about you that they’re most likely unaware of?
A: I would like the fans to know that green is my favorite color and I am a vegetarian.
Q: Any shout-outs you wanna make?
A: I want to send shout-outs to my manager Jeff Crews, and my music partner Mark Abishai Brooks. My Band, Avatar Studios, now known as Powerstation, Naika Cadet of my PR team EMPKT, my mom and dad Carolyn and Louis Hoagland, my wife Mia Hoagland, my family and friends, my higher power, all my fans, and the video shows and podcasts and radio stations who played my music and interviewed me. Thank you all for your support.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: I want to add a quote I wrote many years ago: “Your dreams are your key to reality. Follow them and you shall be free.” I Am ROB Rise On Belief.
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