Eric Roberson: Soul Survivor

Sit tight and you will hear the story of a humble man with the gift of making everyone feel at ease with his music. Singer/Songwriter/Producer Eric Roberson, an independent artist from New Jersey, was fortunate enough to find his niche just by following the music in his heart. Singersroom caught up with this amazing artist to discuss where life has taken him, and how he has become so successful in his career.

Singersroom: You have said that you have been a “music survivor,” having been in the business for 13 years. What’s the success of your longevity?

Eric Roberson: That’s really [because] I wanna drive, not want to give up [and] not want to settle. There were several times when I changed career inside the business, whether I was a songwriter at one point, another time an artist and another time a background singer. Whatever I needed to do so I could stay near music, I did it and that’s how I stayed a survivor because I have been signed and dropped, been in every situation you could possibly think of. The beautiful thing is that I was always allowed to create music and do what I love…and that’s the number one most important thing for me. That has been a blessing.

Singersroom: You have written successful songs for artists like Bilal, Vivian Green, Musiq Soulchild and Dwele. Do you sometimes wish you had kept those songs for yourself?

Eric Roberson: The songs that I give away are the songs that I am willing to give. You know I have pretty much started my career as an independent artist because there were certain songs that I had and that I wasn’t willing to give away or to sell to other artists, so that’s really how I started back in my career because certain songs became a little too personal.

I was never at the point where I wrote a song [and saying] “oh man that song should have done a lot better than I thought it would and I wish I had kept it.” It [was] meant to be out there. But some songs are almost like my journal, way too personal for me to [let] someone else sing. I have to be the one voice for this and this particular story because that story hits a little too close to home.

Singersroom: In 2001, you started releasing your music thru your own label, Blue Erro Soul. Why the transition?

Eric Roberson: You know it’s funny….I have been signed a few times but the situations didn’t workout. I was really heavy into my songwriting…but the more that I sat in my studio and started pouring out these songs that were inside of me, the more it kind of opened up the closing door. My release at the time, which was my first record, people started requesting more songs, they wanted more, you have more music and that’s how we really started really releasing more.

So I was like ok you know what, let me take it serious, let me get a sense of the business; really focus because people are really interested in me. So that was the time we started…and at the same time I was still shopping for a deal and you know it got to the point where I was really saying “whoa did I really need you” cause it seems like it’s kind of moving … but in a way I look at it like man, when Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin started Def Jam that was in a college dorm and look at [it] now. So I poured from a lot of different things that I was always inspired by growing up and before you know it, you just kept doing it.

Singersroom: You have so many hats so if you had to choose, which one would you be? Eric the songwriter, Eric the artist or Eric the record label owner?

Eric Roberson: Oh man (laughing) it’s so funny how you said that, it’s a great question let me take knowledge that you just provided me with a great question and in general I would say the working process is that I always said that I am a songwriter first but if you ask me to say if I had to take my choice and pick I would say Eric the artist. Because the reason why I am Eric [who] owns the record label is because of my desire to let my artistic thing personally shine. Without that I can easily be very comfortable being a songwriter and not having a label but to fulfill my desire as an artist I had to start my own label. It would be Eric the artist the same as the singer because songwriting is a very strong desire [that] I have in creating music [and] it’s one of [the] strongest highs that I have.

Singersroom: Your fifth and latest album as an independent artist is titled ‘Left.’ Why such a title?

Eric Roberson: It has a lot to do with different things but the main focus is just, I felt like they were certain things that were left behind. A certain love and genuine aspect of music that is not really being presented…going back to the way it was and trying to really depart from music that was left and try to take advantage of those things…giving everything I have until there’s nothing left.

Singersroom: You made history by being the only independent artist nominated for a BET Award in any category. Do you think that by your nomination people in the industry might look at independent artists differently and finally acknowledge their contributions to the music?

Eric Roberson: I think that whether they acknowledge it or not, they are kind of doing that just because I see certain things changing from time to time and just how a major artist is being handled. They are [industry people] allowing certain freedom and a little more hands on with major artists. I did a show with a major artist the other day and after the show, he was selling CD’s, you never see that, you never see a major artist selling their CD’s after a show but you will see independent artists almost 99 percent of the time selling CD’s doing things like that. People are taking notice and realizing that it’s not only the song in an artist but it’s a brand. The artist is the brand, you have to expand. We are portable moving record source at all times and that’s the beauty of it.

Eric Roberson Singersroom: People are calling ‘Left’ your best album, so what can the fans expect from it?

Eric Roberson: They can expect that I am going to walk to the studio the next time with the same desire and passion I walk in the last time, that’s really the main thing that I promised. I really don’t compromise that part of my life in any way; it’s really all about how I feel about something. I don’t really assume much, it’s really trying to have that natural genuine feeling that I had when I first walk in the studio the very first time, if it’s not there like that then I don’t do it. I come back another day; it’s really as simple as that.

Singersroom: So your style of music is not changing – it is pretty much the same original sound since you started, right?

Eric Roberson: I can tell you honestly that if I woke up tomorrow and heard Rock music or I woke up tomorrow and heard House music or I woke up tomorrow and heard classical music, I will do it, I will do whatever I heard, whatever I felt, in my spirit it’s just that the process won’t be compromise. At no point will I ever do a song so I can make a lot of money or do a song so I can impressed this girl, there will never be a reason for that. The reason I do a song is that it’s in my head and it’s in my heart and I had to get it out… Especially with soul music you should change, you should evolve, you should grow and you should leave yourself open to be a student as well as a teacher.

Singersroom: Any signs of slowing down or you just keep on moving?

Eric Roberson: You know what I am a lot wiser on how I do it, I had to slow down a little bit, that for me is a valuable lesson. I went through a major vocal problem where I was just losing my voice not even from singing, I was losing my voice from talking, and it was really a sign of saying “no, you gonna have to get some sleep, you gonna have to make sure you drink water, you gonna have to make sure that you delegate some of these assignments out, you gonna have to ask for help;” those entire little things that we overlook. So I had to be wiser about how I approach things. Now it’s funny because I haven’t had a vocal issue in a good year, in general. My voice has been fine, I have been taking good care of it and at the same time in order to do it, you got to be smarter that way and I thank God for the lessons that I learned and the choices that I made because it helped me to become a better artist and that’s good because I want to keep being productive and keep pushing… without my voice there’s nothing; what am I gonna do?

Singersroom: As a musician, is there any type of music that you will not touch?

Eric Roberson: I can’t say that cause you grow to appreciate things. Country music may not be at the top of my list right now but I will tell you that there are certain country songs that are the best written songs ever. And one day you may wake up and you might have the urge to do it, the urge to feel it…and you must always leave yourself open to learning; learning about something that somebody is doing.

Singersroom: You have a song titled “I Luv U 2 Much” with Algebra Blessett, how did the two of you meet?

Eric Roberson: Of course I have the incredible darling Algebra Blessett on that song, she is extremely talented. I’ve spoken that way for her album to come out. I think she’s gonna do very, very well in this industry and I know her for some time. The song really just came from a quiet night of me sitting in the studio. I was pretty much done recording for that night and kind of doing my new habit of just sitting on the keyboard…before I wander off and go to bed. Sure enough the song just came and I remember playing a couple of cords…and the lyrics were just there…and I remember calling Algebra. She was just chill about it and [I say] do you really want to do a song together? She said yes, and I played that song for her and it was as simple as that and to me that was when the song really went to another place…just allowing the song to form it self and just be there.

Singersroom: What can we expect from you?

Eric Roberson: Just expect this cat to have fun and give his all, expect more music and more stories and more opportunities to get closer to the [Soul] movement. —— By: Interview By Valerie Varasse


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