Today we have the pleasure of talking to Toronto based singer/songwriter Robert Ball who has just released his single I Need A Man. The songs lyrics delve into the narrative of having a deep soul connection with someone and wanting to have that long term relationship with someone. Robert also worked alongside Grammy Nominated musician Marito Marquez and accomplished producer Eric Lundgren on the track so I wanted to find out more.
Hello Robert, tell us three unknown facts about yourself?
I was a visual art major in high school, I love seafood, I have 7 tattoos
How did you get into music?
When I was 13 a friend found tapes of me singing, told everyone in school and I started singing more. Eventually I started singing in a semi-professional gospel choir that led to other opportunities.
Who do you find your inspirations?
Emotion – either from personal experiences, empathy or what I feel in nature and from other music and art.
Tell us all about your latest single I Need A Man?
It’s about a longing for intimacy, stability, comfort, vulnerability with someone. Pivoting from casual and uninvested to meaningful.
How long did it take to write the song?
Yes, I started writing it in 2015, I finished it this year while working on a musical
Where does the inspiration for the song come from?
Well, it was what I was feeling at the time I started writing it – while alone on a cruise ship. I was able to finish it because it spoke to the experience and voice of the character I was writing.
Did it surprise you the reactions that you have been receiving for your music?
A little, I think I expected more shock from some and more interest from others but it’s actually, interestingly been flipped.
What is the most challenging thing when it comes to producing a record?
For me, being patient. And honestly as an indie artist the time and money at the same time.
How do you warm up for a show?
I have a series of vocal warm-ups I do, that include lip trills, jogging/push-ups, scales etc. And much needed silent moments to pray, meditate, centre and focus.
How do you relax after a show?
Ahhhh, a glass of wine or a whisky neat. Hang out with friends who’ve come to the show and band mates. Take a long walk.
Also let’s talk tour – will there be live shows coming soon?
Well yes. no tour dates as yet but I will be in a Concert/Cabaret at the Stratford Festival called “Freedom” from August 19th – Sept 5th 2021. And slowly locking in other performance dates as things begin to open.
Do you plan to come to the UK and do shows as well?
That is my hope, yes. I spent a month in London about 10 years ago and sat in with various bands in a couple venues, also spent a little time in Bristol. I’ve got family and friends out there, so it’s most definitely something I am looking at.
What is one of your favourite songs to perform live?
hmmm, there are a bunch – my song ‘Need’ from my 2017 EP, Rock With You by Michael Jackson, All In Love Is Fair by Stevie Wonder…
What are the toughest songs to perform live and why?
I Wish by Stevie Wonder, Finesse by Bruno Mars and This Is Me from the Greatest Showman
What is your favourite song you have ever written and why?
Breathe, it was the single from my 2017 EP ‘Need’ – what it does to me and means to me, it’s catharsis every time. But more importantly it’s how people have been so moved and impacted by that song, by it’s message and simple refrain “Breathe Again…”
Our site also is about improv – in a music sense, what have been some of your favorite improvised melodies that you have created and been able to use in songs and why?
ooooooh I wish this were a live interview, with a band. Improv moments are my favorite, I lean heavily on jazz and gospel foundation and sensibility so there are always elements of that in my show. I was able to collaborate with an artist named Terry Jahz Lewis on a couple songs and he gave me particular liberty on a song called ‘Mon Amour’, I got to have fun with the ending, flipping the melody a bit and then ad-libbing to the end.
What are your plans for 2020 / 2021?
I’ve already begun working on more music with my collaborator Eric Lundgren, I also hope for us to be able to finish writing the musical we’ve been working on. I will be in a Cabaret Concert series at the Stratford Festival called “Freedom”, I’ll be appearing in a movie called “Christmas on 5th” – and hopefully getting back to more live performances.
And finally why should people check out your music?
If they love music that puts you in a mood, that old-school baby making music vibes that puts you into a zone, causes you to feel… laugh, cry, heal – good singing and good musicianship. Honest!