Robert is a film and stage actor, a musician, a former US Navy diver, and even a medical doctor. While his sincere modesty comes out in this interview, to simply scan his resume is to be blown away with his versatility. He’s an absolute pleasure to work with, and he seems to gain higher and higher notes every time he comes in to sing. We’re all excited to watch his career continue to unfold.
MM: How did you get started with music, and how long have you been singing?
RP: I’ve been singing since I was a kid. My first performance was probably Peter Dennis in Auntie Mame when I was about 8. I was active in church choirs from about 12 and have massive experience singing while driving.
MM: Do you share your musical skills with family, friends, or your community? How?
RP: Not as much as I’d like. I was in the military for many years, which made it hard to commit to shows or bands. One of my reasons to be back in classes is to start doing things like that.
MM: What makes you keep up your practice, and what are your goals?
RP: I was a lifetime bass/baritone, but I’ve just recently discovered some solid tenor range that we are now developing. The excitement of being able to tackle a whole new range of songs is really pulling me forward.
MM: Who are a few bands/artists that have inspired you, and why?
RP: Way too many to list. My earliest influences were probably Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin. There is an Evita album that my sisters and I probably wore out completely. I’m also an alt rock, punk, alt-pop fan so it’s going to be Bowie, P!nk, Adam and the Ants, Garbage, The Cure, Ramones, Foo Fighters, Romeo Void, Sparks, Gary Numan. But also Otep, Zoe Kravitz, Steven Tyler, RHCP, David Byrne, Deftones, Rob Zombie, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop, Lily Allen, and on and on and on. The music that’s getting played over and over right now is the Big Little Lies Soundtrack and Lana Del Rey’s new album.
MM: Can you share about a technique, skill, or song you struggled with, and how you are overcoming or have overcome it?
RP: We just started working through Michael Bublé’s version of “Feeling Good.” The finale is challenging my new top end, and my control up there is still developing. It’s been about relaxing, getting the air volume right, leaning forward a bit, and holding a solid core.
MM: What advice would you give to other students just starting out?
RP: Pick songs you love so much it makes you happy to practice a lot. Life’s too short for boring music.