Singer, songwriter, and producer Eric Roberson (affectionately known as “Erro” by friends and fans) continues to break boundaries in an industry predominantly influenced by major record labels, manufactured sounds, and mainstream radio. His countless achievements as an independent artist has established him as a leader in which he has been able to reach levels of great success once never imaginable by an unsigned artist. Eric has truly created a path of success of his own to follow.
An outstanding storyteller, Eric’s music is relatable, allowing him to form personal connections with each of his listeners. His music is influenced by elements of music styles varying from Soul, Rhythm & Blues, House, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Rock and more, inhibiting him from being confined or limited to any one genre of music. His music is personal, poetic, positive and progressive. It is classic music presented in an untraditional fashion. All of these factors, paired with a humble, inspiring, and inviting spirit, has earned Eric the love and respect of each of his fans one by one, cultivating a fan base that has shown an unbelievable level of support throughout the years.
UrbanBridgez.com recently caught up with Eric and Tishelle spoke with him about his brand new album “Mr. Nice Guy,” his goal with this album, creating music, writing for other artists, being a new proud father, Sushi and much more!
UrbanBridgez.com: Tell us about your new project and what fans can expect when they press play?
Eric Roberson: When they press play, let’s see it’s entitled “Mr. Nice Guy” it’s 15 new songs, that I wrote over the last year and a half. I pretty much didn’t expect to make an album. I’ve been home waiting for my son to be born, he’s one now. I didn’t want to be on the road, so while writing I just kind of fell in love with the songs. I think there is a free spirited feeling about these songs. I don’t think was on my last albums and a deeper level of story telling. So anybody who is a fan of music and story telling and fans of my music as well, I think they can really relate. I think they’ll have a good time with the album.
UrbanBridgez.com: Jean Baylor (formally of Zhane’) is amazing, how did you hook up with her for this project?
Eric Roberson: Isn’t she amazing, good gracious! Most people that I collab with are friends of mine and in just talking, while working on the song “How Would I Feel?” I just had an idea for a female part, at the end almost like a rebuttal. And she lives near me, her and her husband are good friends of mine. They’re more like my eating buddies (laughs). We go out on couples night and just grub! Any one who knows Jean knows, I don’t know where she puts it in that little small body of hers, but she can eat unlike any person I know in the world (all laugh)! So I called them, they thought I was calling about food, but I was calling about her doing the song. It’s was cool, she’s one of the best vocalist I’ve ever heard! She knocks out ideas so quickly, so she came in and did it.
UrbanBridgez.com: How did you prepare for this release and did you accomplish your goal when the album was complete?
Eric Roberson: I think I prepared for it by getting out of the way of myself. And I couldn’t think about the last album was nominated for two Grammy’s or anything like that. I had to pretty much go into it having fun. I think the fact that I wasn’t really planning on making an album, I was just more in a creative zone. I was hearing a lot of songs in my head and didn’t have much to do, just walking around twittering my thumbs just excited waiting for my son to be born. I think that put me in the right frame of mind in general. But once you start thinking, hey I might have an album here! When you get to that part there is a level of work that has to come in in order to finish it. It started very loosely, we put in some of the hardest work we had to ever do to get it to be that album. I will say that I am extremely happy with the record and more than with any other of my albums…I think what I heard in my head, we were able to capture in the final project more than any of my previous albums. I’m really happy about that!
UrbanBridgez.com: Your style is very creative, what inspires your songwriting?
Eric Roberson: Just life, I write alot about my own personal life but I try my best not to believe in writers block. There is always something you can write about, you just got to be observant to the world. There is so much happiness and pain and everybody faces it as you go through your travels. If something sticks out, like if you see someone who is overly happy or overly sad. I run into so many people when I’m traveling, like if someone is going through a divorce or someone who just met somebody they just can’t stop talking about or thinking about them. I try to pull from those things, with my own personal life I’ve been through enough to know how those things feel. So if I’m not writing about what I’m going through at the time, I can still pull from my 4th grade crush or the pain I had in college or whatever. I can pull from it all, it all shows up on the pen and pad.
UrbanBridgez.com: When did you discover your talent for creating music?
Eric Roberson: Whew, I don’t know if I remember the day. I do remember the day that people started seeing it. When people started looking for me to start writing stuff for them or recognizing how I was putting things together. I worked so hard at it, I remember when writing songs was very frustrating to come together. I do remember that or making words rhyme the way I wanted them to, I remember all of that stuff. I also remember, nights upon nights of just working on poetry or songs and melodies and things of that nature. Truth be told, it’s still a process. A process of trying to get that feeling out or that line out, just that perfect melody. I’m still concerned with it at all times. I don’t know if I’m ever over confident or under confident, I think I’m just always focused on the process of getting it done.
UrbanBridgez.com: You have a degree in music theater, what were your goals when you first started college?
Eric Roberson: Yeah, musical theater major, it was lovely! I will tell you even though I grew up doing theater and I love theater a great deal, I probably would of majored in being an R&B singer if there was a major for it (laughs). But I got a scholarship to Howard and that kind of allowed me to convince my parents to let me try and go a different route than take political science or something like that. It was a tremendously great experience for me, I learned more about my singing than my acting because I did my music. I think my goal was to really survive doing what I love, you know. I got signed to Warner Bros. when I was in college and at that point I thought my dreams were about to come true and everything was about to work out. It didn’t exactly work out the way that I planned, I lost the deal and eventually went back to college and got my degree. I actually became a better student, a better producer and a better songwriter, just all across the board. So it was a blessing that I went back, from that point on whether I was doing theater or writing songs or producing songs or whatever. I just wanted to be in the business of doing what I love, whether it was on stage portraying a villain or on stage singing songs that people love. Either way I just wanted to be able to do it.
UrbanBridgez.com: What was one of the main things you learned while getting your education that you think helped you out with your creativity?
Eric Roberson: Wow, alot of things. First I’ll tell you the most helpful thing which may not answer your question, but I will definitely answer your question after (all laugh). But my professor said to me, respect your craft wholeheartedly! If you don’t, someone with lesser talent who does respect their craft will surpass you! And by the time you realize they’ve passed you, you’ll never catch them. That injected a level of hustle in me that till this day is what drives me. One of the reasons we’ve been able to accomplish, 8 albums in 10 years. It’s like no one is going to out work, study their craft and push more than me. So I have to hold that to him but alot of my acting teachers really hammered in the fact of defining the character that you’re portraying. I think that really helped me out in alot of my songwriter, because if you really define who you’re portraying, writing the song becomes very easy. It dictates the direction, I remember one character I portrayed in college, the director was saying dig in deep, every evil thought you’ve ever had in your life I want you to pull it out of you right now. I was playing a villain and I wasn’t to be nice. So once you kind of define who that character is, it makes writing the songs very easy. Whether you’re writing a song for a female artist who’s gotten her heart broken, I’ll be in the studio like a 25 year old girl with a broken heart. You gotta do it, some of the greatest songwriters do that. Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder when he was writing for other people, that’s pretty much how you do it. There are some demo tapes out there of not only myself but some other people that if people got their hands on, there might be some gossiping going on (laughs). But it’s all good, it’s all about getting the song done. That was the main thing I learned in college that helped out alot.
UrbanBridgez.com: You have worked with everyone from 112 to Will Smith, who are some artists you would like to work with if given the chance?
Eric Roberson: You know one of my heroes is Bill Withers, he’s the older singer who actually retired some years ago. He actually started doing music again recently and I just totally related to him a great deal. He started in the business somewhat later in life and at the same time he had his family and dealing with the frustrations of the industry he said you know what, I’m just going to raise my kids. I always thought that was really really dope of him. That he went out on top, whether his record sales were failing or not and he had a unique approach to making music, so he’s at the top of my list. Erykah Badu is a close second, there are so many artists that I would love to collaborate with or just watch them in the studio. I’m such a fan of the creative process that I would be just as happy to see how Erykah Badu creates her songs that would be just as exciting.
UrbanBridgez.com: Outside of music, what do you enjoy?
Eric Roberson: So many things, I enjoy sitting down and eating with friends, my gut probably shows a little bit of proof of that. Outside of playing with my son and wife, there are some weird things. Like Sunday mornings there is a show, CBS Sunday News it’s my favorite show in the entire world. The best thing, that by far is like my favorite thing to watch. I just think it’s the best thing produced on TV and anything by HBO. Any series from True Blood to The Wire, all of those. To me HBO just can’t do any wrong. I just took a Sushi class, so I would have to say making Sushi.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s your favorite kind of Sushi to make?
Eric Roberson: Eel, I love Eel! Most people might be a little scared of it, but truth be told Eel the best tasting meat in the world!
UrbanBridgez.com: I’m scared of Sushi!
Eric Roberson: There is nothing to be scared of it’s just meat…
UrbanBridgez.com: It’s just the texture and all that, but I tried it last week and it was really good.
Eric Roberson: Sushi is kind of like cologne or perfume, you have to find what works for you. Like for me, I hate Cucumbers I hate them with a passion! Cucumbers is like the salt of Sushi so with that I just can’t do it. Anything with them, even just that scent in something and it turns me off completely. But yeah if you’re a person that’s into texture or not, you got to find those things that really work for you. Some people cheat and eat a whole bunch of fried Sushi, that’s not really Sushi.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s next for you?
Eric Roberson: The marketing and promotion of the album, I’ll be changing diapers and all that fun stuff that comes along with life and music. We’re putting a tour together right now that will be coming up in the next month. That’s really it, just pushing the album and getting it in everybody’s hands and let everybody know it’s out. This is the first album we’ve done that will be at all the major chains as well as mom and pop stores and things like that. Gotta love and support them and we’re just really making strives to improve ourselves in the business.
UrbanBridgez.com: You’ve spoken alot about being a new father, how is fatherhood for you?
Eric Roberson: Absolutely amazing! My little man is just really really special. I’m having alot of fun, I’m learning alot and trying to keep him involved in what I’m doing. He was around when I was making the album. He was born like half way through the album. I recorded half of it waiting for him to get here and the other half once he was born. He’s been on the road alot, he’s been to London already and L.A. a few times and Atlanta. So I’m just enjoying it, I love getting his passport stamped and just showing him the world. He just started walking so that’s exciting and saying little words. I love it, I love kids I have a ton of nieces and nephews and they can drop them off over here too. I’ll keep all of them (laughs). So it’s good, I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity.
UrbanBridgez.com: Anything else you would like to share with your fans?
Eric Roberson: There are alot of weird things I would like to share with the fans but I can’t think at the moment (laughs). Most know I have an addiction to sneakers, I’m getting work on that and I just have a addiction to clothes in general. Oh I know, this is my new exciting thing…I have a horrible sense of smell! I don’t really smell many things, guess it’s just the balance of maybe because I hear things well. My wife and I would disagree on that, but with my horrible sense of smell I recently discovered what my signature cologne is going to be. I’ve never been into cologne because of my sense of smell and it never really stood out, I mean you spray it and I never smelled it. And at the risk of someone reading this and stealing my cologne I’m still going to share it because you’re that good of an interviewer. My signature cologne that I smelled on the road and plan on buying is Tom Ford…you there, are you getting excited yet?
UrbanBridgez.com: I am!
Eric Roberson: Okay, Tom Ford tobacco vanilla! And I don’t smoke and nothing of that nature, but for some reason that was the signature smell that stood out to me. Whenever you see me at a show, you will smell that scent from the stage into all of the audience members nostrils!
UrbanBridgez.com: Well since it got your attention, I’m sure it smells great!
Eric Roberson: See, there you go! Thank you, I appreciate you for believing in me and my scents!
UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for your fans?
Eric Roberson: I want to thank them for constantly challenging me to grow in this business! I also want to thank them for their patience and growing with me because that is an honor and an opportunity that alot of artists don’t have. My fans have grown with me and I really do appreciate that about them! My website is ercirobersonmusic.com and my Twitter is @erciroberson