Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Robert Randolph talks about balancing art and commerce, working with family and Grammys

Robert Randolph talks about balancing art and commerce, working with family and Grammys

Robert Randolph may not be a household name yet, but he already counts Eric Clapton and Dave Matthews among his fans, and his unique blend of rock and old-time soul has made him a buzz-worthy artist, even meriting him an appearance on last year's Grammy telecast.
Not bad for an inner-city kid who started out playing the slide guitar as a youngster in church. Randolph soon turned his hobby into a profession, forming Robert Randolph and The Family Band along with a couple of his cousins.
As Randolph's sound began to take shape, he found himself jamming with everyone from Clapton to Steven Tyler to Santana. Randolph sat down with The Associated Press to discuss his second studio album, "Colorblind," what he feels music is lacking nowadays, and why he wants to be a role model for African-American youth.
AP: Who taught you to play guitar?
Randolph: I grew up in church watching some older guys play slide guitar in church. If you grew up in church, you wanted to do that. In our church it was mainly all guitars. When I started to play, I would be at home playing and everybody would be like, "Yo, what are you doing man? Shut up. Stop playing that country instrument." I didn't care because I still felt cool about it. There wasn't really any pressure from any of the kids because I was a cool teenager.
AP: Is there something in you that is yearning for that top 10 single?
Randolph: Everybody wants the top 10 single. If it never happens you can't really complain about it. That is one thing I got to understand because every artist, I don't care who it is, when they are recording a song they go, "That's a hit. That is going to be No. 1." It just doesn't happen. They start complaining and they get down. You can't really worry about that. If it does then it is great. You have just got to continue to keep it going. Stay true to what I believe in. If more artists understood that then people would have longer careers and not always fall for the trendy thing today.
AP: How easy is it to stay true to yourself in the music industry?
Randolph: You've just always got to be in the right frame of mind and not really settle for anything like that. I grew up in church. I think differently than some of the other people who never had that outlook on life. You have to stay true to what you believe in and what got you here.
AP: Do you feel like music is missing something right now?
Randolph: It's definitely missing something. It is missing that honesty, that enjoyment. It is missing a constant positive message. Kanye West came in there and gave a positive message. It is that circle. The main thing music is missing is the full-on honesty. My musical vision is to remind people that you have to enjoy life. You have to love one another. Life is a party while we are here on this earth. It can be taken from us at anytime. I always want to try to create music that is a celebration of life. Get people to love one another and understand that kind of thing. On a mainstream level in rock music, and me because I am a black guitarist, for some people it is like, "What is he doing? Where did he come from?" I am from (New) Jersey but they think I am country. I think for me the fact that I am young and I am African-American ... maybe it will encourage somebody else to come and do something.
AP: Do you see yourself as a role model for African-American youth?
Randolph: I am just trying to be an example for people. There are a lot of inner-city kids and even suburbia kids _ everybody want to be thugged out. Now you see in a lot of schools there is no more band. There is no more chorus. There are no more kids singing. When we were growing up it was cool to be in a band. You'd play the drums or an instrument like the flute or something. You were cool. It wasn't that long ago. Somewhere along the line it (was) just, everybody wants to do R&B. Everybody wants to be a rapper. People don't understand there are other jobs out there. There is something else in you other than trying to be a rapper. It is cool if you want to be like Jay-Z, but if it ain't you, it ain't you. I just like to be an example.
AP: Is your band really comprised of family members?
Randolph: Yeah. yeah. We are all really family members. Now we have my sister who sings with us. She was the first one in the music business. She sung with Lauryn Hill and the Fugees. She started when she was 16 or 17. My cousin is on the drums. My other cousin is on base. My other cousin is on guitar. It is a full-on family band.
AP: How difficult is it to work with family?
Randolph: With family it makes it easier because with family you can tell them how it is and it will just kind of go away at some point. It is like The Jackson 5. They are still all cool (with each other). What happens is, you've got to see them again.
AP: What was the moment when you felt like you had made it?
Randolph: The best thing that happened to us so far was performing on the Grammys. You get to meet so many artists. No matter how big somebody else may think you are, everybody is still a fan of somebody else. No matter if it is Beyonce and she sees Anita Baker or Prince, you get nervous. You see all of these people on TV. I am a fan of Anthony Hamilton, Anthony Hamilton is a fan of mine and it just keeps going. When you get to be around all of those people at the Grammys or whatever it is _ that was the first time I was nervous ever on TV.
On the Net:
___
http://robertrandolph.net/


Updated : 2021-06-20 08:52 GMT+08:00