RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW NORWEGIAN ARTIST ROBERT VENDETTA
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
– Well, I grew up listening to music. My dad played guitar and was a great country singer. And we’d always listen to the likes of Willie Nelson and Elvis. But the big moment was when I was about 11 years old and my friend played me “Black or White” on his new stereo. The song by Michael Jackson. I bought a VHS documentary about him and saw a clip of James Brown doing his thing and I just knew I had to the same thing.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
– Oh, I’m over 40 years old now so I’ve had a long journey with music. I started out as 11 or 12, having dance shows at local clubs while learning to play the guitar and trying to write my own songs. I also played theatre, acting and loved it. Music, theatre, and dance were my thing. At secondary school, we had a studio which I spent a lot of time in. It had all these cool synthesizers, so I started dabbling with keys there.
I felt like home in that studio, so later I studied music at my high school, switching from guitar to bass guitar. And being in the company of same minded people. That was fun. I ended up taking a bachelor’s degree on bass guitar, while working on my composer skills. I studied string arrangements, church organ, piano and music history, and a lot of cool stuff. I guess it was at this stage my writing became acceptable.
After university piano became my main instrument and my main composing tool. I started working on my first album “Miss Martinez” in my very own studio. I played with a lot of different people. With the hip hop ensemble, I got to play for the Norwegian King twice. I’ve been on tour with my band and kept working on my composing skills. I got to make cool music videos, be on the radio, starting my own label.
On my first album I learned a lot about promotion from my then-manager which is knowledge I still use to this day! On my second album “Headed out of my league” I felt I nailed the lyrics for the first time. And the videos went in a more showing me off direction. Next year I’ll be releasing my fourth album, that’s amazing. I’ve been very fortunate, and I’ve had a lot of fun with music.
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
– That was “Black or White” by Michael Jackson.
Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?
– Good question. I know I have a lot of experience, I’m independent and still having fun. I do hope this next one will give me the freedom to just work with music.
What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?
– Well, a game-changer for me was learning that people who have English as their first language want to hear a story in a song. You can’t just write a lyric that sounds nice, it has to have a meaning.
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.
– I have flown a plane, I’ve been to Graceland, and I used to box.
If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?
– I guess more exposure. I’ve been told by many wise people that I must figure out who my audience is. You know age, style, and so forth. But The more I’ve looked into it the more I’ve realized that my audience is of all ages and styles and trends. So if I just could get through to them.
Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories? If not why not?
– Not really, but I do think that Finland won the Eurovision this year.
What was the worst experience on stage?
– Not being able to get up on my knees on a tour? I broke my leg, but still went out on tour and did my jump-on-my-knees dance move. But couldn’t get up! That and just those few concerts I’ve done on autopilot. I want to give the audience my best, so I’ve felt bad the few times I didn’t.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about.
– I dabble with a few languages. I have this secret dream of becoming a polyglot. So, I know some German, French, Danish, Swedish, Croatian and Spanish. My Spanish is quite good. I’ve been to Mexico a lot and studied the language there.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
– Have you seen my new suit? Well, I try to use my background as a dancer and actor on stage. I’ve learned from the best how to put on a great show, and I’ve always looked for influences to improve my writing. I’ve been fortunate to work with young artists and musicians and I have so much to learn from them. They inspire me a lot.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
– Next year we’ll have a new album out called “Vendetta Del Disco.” That was an actual Disco in Italy where I took the Vendetta name from. The sound is still my genre – Retropop. But there are more flavours to this album; it’s a grittier, there’s some rockeaton there – we call it that, and a bit more Bowie than usual. I told my engineer I wanted the album to sound like Bowie’s Heroes album.
And it’s a concept album about losing oneself in work, until you don’t have friends and such. Then finding yourself on holiday and rediscovering what life is all about. And that’s where the new single “Here and Now” fits in. It’s about living… well… Here and now. It’s about being proud of the past, what one has achieved. And about not living in the future all the time.
What was the recording process like?
Fun. We decided that this was going to be a band record. And I do have an awesome band. They’re so good and so nice! So, we rehearsed and arranged the songs before we went into the studio. The rhythm tracks were done in two days. And the whole thing was recorded in a couple of weeks, I think.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
To find new ways to write. I’ve written so many songs on pure inspiration. I can’t do that anymore, so I’ve started having one day a week where I actually sit down for hours trying to write, like a job sort of. And it worked!
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
I always want to do that, after every album. But I’ve taught myself that at a certain point you just got to let it go. The albums done, so stop worrying about all those little details you want to fix.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I just want to thank you guys for this opportunity and everybody for the support. I’m a lucky guy, surrounded by great people who help me out, and awesome people who listen to my music and come to the shows!