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Solo Musician Interview: Royal

Where are you from?
I am from Canada – born in Oshawa, Ontario but raised in Vernon, British Columbia. Vernon has a very small-town vibe to it and is known for its beauty and weather. I am very happy that my parents decided to move us there when we were young so that we could grow up surrounded by nature and all of its beauty.

How long have you been playing your respective instrument(s)?
I began playing guitar at a very young age – around eight years old. My parents wanted to nurture my love of music by introducing an instrument to guide my passion. In high school, I took up bass and some percussion, and now I am working on piano.

I’ve never been one of those musicians who picks up playing instruments easily. For me it involves rigorous practice and discipline. I have always felt that my voice is my strongest instrument and I treat it as such. Over the years I have worked to strengthen and broaden my range through singing along to challenging songs, learning how to harness more power, and now recently I have taken some vocal health classes which I have learned to be very helpful and important in maintain a strong vocal for as long as my lungs will allow it.

What genre of music do you consider your work to be?
I consider my music to be a bridge between indie pop, dream pop and baroque pop. It contains cinematic orchestral sections and dynamic vocal layers with a polished, but raw element to it that keeps it within the indie realm.

What are your influences?
I find a great amount of influence from artists such as Billie Holiday, Amy Winehouse, Lana Del Rey and The Beatles. I also find myself inspired by classic films such as Roman Holiday, Singing in the Rain and The Sound of Music. Something about them just carries me off into a whole other world. However when it comes to songwriting, I am strongly driven by my life experiences and emotions. All of my music is deeply personal and each song tells the story of my life.

Do you do covers and if so what’s your go to?
I love playing covers. There are some songs that I feel so strongly connected to, when I sing them it is as if I am singing my own story. My main go-to covers are: “Skyfall” by Adele, “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse, and “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé. I also love covering male artists like Neil Young, Chris Cornell and Bob Dylan. I have such a broad love and appreciation for so many genres and styles of music that it’s always hard for me to pick just one.

Do you have a process for writing your songs?
I challenge myself to write a little every day, just as you would practice an instrument every day. However, I dislike having to force the music to come to me. Instead I take a much more natural approach and write when the emotion and inspiration hits. Whether it be in the middle of the night, or while driving or out at an event, if the inspiration strikes, I immediately take myself out of what I’m doing – or pull over – and find somewhere to flesh out the idea and record it on my phone. I never let the idea slip away, because you just never know when you’re going to write your best work.   

Do you have any interesting/funny stories about gigging or touring?
My favourite and least favourite tour story took place on the tail end of my first cross-Canada tour. We were driving through the night on a dirt road in Saskatchewan when we ran over a skunk. I absolutely love animals and broke down in tears to realise we had killed an innocent creature. But my sadness quickly turned into misery.

From the province of Saskatchewan to home was another eighteen hours – eighteen hours in a skunked van. And no, the smell does not come off when you wash the vehicle, or attempt to air it out. No my friends, that smell is very unforgiving and invasive. For the rest of the trip, our faces were green and we were close to ditching the van altogether. I am not over-exaggerating this at all, I wish I were, but no, it was real.

So my advice to anyone touring or driving through Canada – watch out for the skunks! When that smell is up close and personal, it is the absolute worst thing, ever!

What song do you remember most from your childhood?
“Santa Claus is Back in Town” by Elvis. It is a tradition for my family to play the Elvis’ Christmas Album every Christmas. Not only do we play the song, but my dad leads us off with the classic “Elvis dance”. With our legs and hips swishing back and forth, we all take part and there are many gut laughs had by all. I love this song not only for the nostalgia, but also because I have always loved Elvis, and not only at Christmas.

What has been your biggest challenge as a performer? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so then how?
My biggest challenge as a performer is my stage fright. When I’m on stage, not only am I going through the emotional outpour of difficult life experiences, but I’m also undergoing intense stage fright. Sometimes, I feel as if I am frozen and my mind spins into a panic. However I never allow my fears to hold me back from doing what I love to do, so I continue to challenge myself and through the support of my band and the audience I eventually come to and settle into the performance without being weighed down by my nerves.

How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?
I have made my music available everywhere through iTunes, Spotify,Soundcloud,YouTube and my official website www.royalofficial.com

Social media pages:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

If you are ever trying to track down a song, album or any updates on what I’m up to, you can always find this on my official website, I am constantly updating it and making it as user-friendly as possible.

Have you released anything yet/if you have then how has it gone down and are you planning anything for the near future?
I have just released my first album, Heart of Shadows, as well as the first single “Vessel”. I am completely overwhelmed with the amount of love and support I’ve received so far with the release. This sound is a huge departure from where I first began with music, so I am very pleased to see so many loyal faces as well as new. The single has been gaining traction on Spotify by being added to the Spotify curated, Indie Pop Chillout Playlist – which is very exciting! Thank you for showing your support for my music with this interview!

Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues?
I have performed in cafes, pubs, music venues and music festivals around Canada, the US and Australia. My favourite venues to play are anywhere that provides a professional stage. Having the space to move around and heighten the show with mood-enhancing lighting and beautiful sound always makes me even more excited to perform.

Do you have any upcoming shows?
I’m really looking forward to the first album release show this February 1st at The Fox Cabaret in Vancouver, BC, Canada, having teamed up with local artist and friend CHERSEA to co-headline the show. This venue has kept its classic style intact and has a beautiful sound system, I am very much looking forward to this show! I will have more details available for the show on my website, including supporting acts, where and when to grab your tickets and more.

What do you think about downloading music online?
Music sales have certainly been affected by the shift of physical music purchasing to online options, however I have no personal quarrel with it. As long as artists are still able to set their own price on their work and receive a fair percentage, then that’s what matters. Having music available for downloading online also allows musicians to reach a broader audience. It makes buying music simple and accessible for those who may live in more remote areas which ultimately is a great advantage we have in today’s world. I do enjoy the odd hustle and search for music, but also having the ability to go online and find what I need in a pinch is very helpful and gratifying.

What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
I am interested to see where the music industry is headed. I feel at the moment that we are caught in a bit of a purgatory, and learning curve. I feel there are advantages and disadvantages with alternative music platforms such as streaming and illegal downloading. It is wonderful to live in a world where music is so accessible and available to share, but we need to find a healthy balance to ensure that artists are fairly compensated for their work so that we may continue to keep creating more music.

And let’s end with something a little different…Which famous person, alive or dead, would you have dinner with and why?
I absolutely love this question. I would have to say Sir Paul McCartney. I have always been fascinated with Mr. McCartney on a musical front as well as personal. He would have the best stories.

Our dinner would be amazing because I’m sure he knows the best spot for fish and chips, and perhaps he would share some wisdom on the industry and provide a bit of an insider scoop on his writing process. Plus, he would probably then want to go find a party or go on some sort of wild adventure and it would be so much more than just a dinner. It would be an experience.

 

First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org

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