Artist Interview: “Freak” by Rob Lea

Q: Hey Rob, absolutely digging “Freak”! It’s so fun to listen to, I bet it was even more fun to record. What did you enjoy most about making this track?

ROB LEA:  It was a lot of fun! It was one song I brought to my producer which didn’t have a demo so we were able to throw a lot of creativity into it and when James my producer got a trombone out, well it became an exercise of trying hard not to go too over the top. But within that middle ground you find a sweet spot between mainstream sound and breaking the mould.

Q: You’ve been into music since you were a child, even crediting your grade school music teachers for introducing instruments and believing in your talent at a young age. Do you remember if there was a pivotal moment in your life when you decided to follow your path as a musician?

ROB LEA:  I’ll be honest, I’ve always wanted to be an actor. I still do. My passion really lies in performance but of course a big part of my life is also within music. I love how writing songs allows me to create stories. I suppose that’s why my songs are written with a slight narrative and certainly go on a journey as I am always imagining the words in picture as well as thought. But if we’re talking about pivotal moments in life, there was a moment where I had what I can only describe as a sudden mental breakdown when I was around 18/19. The pressure I put myself under to succeed turned into extreme anxiety. I found myself not wanting to go out, I couldn’t use public transport without having a panic attack. It was a moment that I knew could have seen me down a path of quiet isolation and stop me from pursuing my dreams. I don’t know whether it was stubbornness, or a deep sense of purpose which made me keep going. I forced myself to go to performing arts college, to go on every stage I could, put myself in every uncomfortable position I could to learn how to handle it. It took me years and is something that never leaves you but it certainly is something that made me who I am today, made me view the world differently and gave me an empathy for humanity I may never have achieved not going through it all.

Q: Being part of a Queen cover band (which is awesome by the way), how has releasing your own music been? Do you prefer that to perform others music?

ROB LEA: You can never beat the feeling of performing your own music. Although if you had to pick a lifetime of performing covers, it would be Queen every time. I’ve been very fortunate to gain a very loyal fan base from doing shows with my Queen tribute and to see those fans loving and supporting my own music is an incredible feeling.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about the music industry, and how has it helped you navigate through your musical journey so far?

ROB LEA: I suppose the best piece of advice I received is if you want to write songs, write as many as you can. Be a writer, don’t just write one song and expect it to be the best thing you could write. The best thing you will write is out there but to find it you need to write 100s maybe 1000s of songs. I mean imagine if you had a 1000 songs, amongst those, surely there’s 10 amazing songs?

Q: If you could only bring three albums with you on a remote island, which would they be and why?

ROB LEA: 3 Albums (I won’t include compilations or greatest hits 😝)

– A night at the Opera (Queen)

– Pump (Aerosmith)

– Take off your pants and jacket (Blink 182)

Q: Do you think the fact that you’re the youngest in your family, youngest of five in specific, gave you more opportunity to become a performer?

ROB LEA: Well being the youngest I suppose I was left alone to do my own thing more than my siblings. So I suppose that freedom allowed me to fall in love with life the way I saw it rather than the way someone else wanted you to see it. I don’t think I got more opportunities, but for some reason music and performing found me.

Q: Listening to “Freak” quickly puts me in a good mood; it reminds me of 90s/early 2000s rock that I loved growing up. Who are your biggest influences?

ROB LEA: well early 90s and 00’s rock really 😂😂 I grew up from everything from classic Rock to 90s pop bands. I would rock out to teenage dirtbag and very easily rock out to Backstreets back.

Q: Thanks so much for speaking with me! Tell everyone what’s next for you; any shows or songs coming up?

ROB LEA: I’ve got a huge tour over Sept and Oct in the UK. I’m off to the US for a small tour in November and to record for PBS for a special. And then finishing the year with a hand full of O2 venues. Next year I hope to start getting the band together and doing some shows with my own music.

Photo credits: Ben Hesketh

Interviewed by Melissa Cusano


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