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INTERVIEW: Robert Kantor

Hi Robert, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

It’s great to be here! Busy, very busy. I’ve been working on getting my album, Truth, ready to launch. Quite a challenge today with social media and doing my best to reach out the right people with my music.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “The Rain Song”?

“The Rain Song” was one of the first songs I penned for my new album. It was one of the most personal songs I have ever written and particularly special to me. After writing it, I asked my daughter, Mary, to sing a duet version with me, which is the final version I put on the album. It was a very special experience working with Mary, who is so young and talented. I wanted to write about how a I felt during a time of big change and how I was able to make it through a very difficult time.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

Yes, my wife at that time was suffering from a very rare disease and I wanted to try and write a song to tell her about how I felt about her and our relationship. At the time she encouraged me to return to writing music and this was an expression of gratitude in some ways. After it was recorded, Mary and I gave the song to her for Mother Day just before she passed away.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

There’s a concept video now on my YouTube channel filmed by a young artist named Juiieta Maccarino who had recently graduated from SVA and lives in Argentina. I let Julieta loose with the track and she came up with the brilliant idea to film the entire video as reflections in water around New York City. I firmly believe in giving young talent a chance to shine and she created an amazing piece of art for me.

The single comes off your new album Truth – what’s the story behind the title?

It took great thought to capsulize my thoughts and distill them into one word. Today everything has to be quick, sharp, authentic and able to speak volumes in quick time. For me the journey of making this record was my truth, hence the title. I think that in life we can all determine and convince ourselves what we think our lives are all about. Then one day reality comes along and its dealing with,and accepting, the Truth.

How was the recording and writing process?

It was a journey for me through two solid years of my life. I wanted to make a concept album which contained pictures of what I experienced in my life going from great loss to rebirth and new love. There were of course the missteps and all, but in the end I am once again very happy with my life. This album is the soundtrack of some of the events in my life and my way of sharing my thoughts, hopes, and dreams.

What was it like to work with Kareem Devlin and how did that relationship develop?

Kareem is an amazing person and talented partner. We first met when he was a customer of mine at Kantor Guitars. Kareem was the lead guitarist for Lady Gaga and I did the guitars for him for the Born This Way Tour. I had little understanding of how Pro tools function and modern recording techniques and he helped me to learn the new language. We began on this project together and kind of are during the process both as friends and fellow musicians. Kareem is an brilliant musician and songwriter in his own right as well as an amazing guitarist. We have had our battles, mainly over music theory but learned in time to trust each other and I could not have made this album without his talent and dedication.

How much did he get to influence the album?

Kareem is my producer, engineer, and co-arranger and I think that his influence can be felt in every aspect of this project. Kareem deferred to me when I felt strongly about something, but was an amazing help with everything from music theory to picking out a specific sound. He is basically the Yin to my Yang.

How does your fashion background influences your music and the other way around?

I truly believe that creativity is a combination of fashion, art, and music. I don’t really try to separate my influences but rather like to draw upon the wealth of my experience in order to filter the sum of my ideas. I think especially today creative influences are all blended and music is a big part of fashion as fashion is a big part of art and art of music. It all goes hand in hand.

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than in your own?

I think I try to stay true to what I believe in but and open to try others ideas. I can of course cater to another person’s style, but I think I always try to maintain my esthetic as best I can. When I write for another artist I first try to distill what I feel their essence is and then explore what I feel will really show their character through my lens.

You get to explore different decades – how do you balance them altogether?

It has been such a blessing to be able to call up bits and piece of music that I love form so many different decades of great music. I can call up great hooks from the 70’s, great big themes from the 80’s, beats from the 90’s – it goes on and on in my head. There has been no greater joy than to be able to blend my influences all together and allow them to shine through in a new way. Proof that good music remains good music always and for all times.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I would have to say my music comes from the wealth of my experience and reflects the joy of embracing the many lives I have led. Songs just come to me. I do not sit down and decide Im going to write a song. I have to always give Thanks to the Lord above for the gifts I have received. My lyrics tend to range from my detailing a specific experience or sometimes making a statement about things I have observed in life and how they have affected me. At other times it’s just about a feeling or emotional moment. Inspiration for me comes from living life to it fullest and trying to enjoy whatever comes your way.

Any plans to hit the road?

Not until spring of 2019, I’m a little rusty at performing live these days and have to sharpen my playing game. I do enjoy playing out and am beginning the process of putting a show together.

What else is happening next in Robert Kantor’s world?

In the music world, I am currently working on finishing my next EP for release in the late Spring of 2019. I decided it was time to try different genres of music that I love so I will be working on releasing everything from a country rock tune to a surf song on my next release. I also have a Street Art Gallery in the Bronx called WallworksNY.com, which I love being involved with and enjoy featuring street artists from around the world. I am in the process of launching a new digital ART platform called NGOZY.com which will be designed to help new emerging Urban artists globally to market their work. I also am still working with my kantorguitars.com on a new ART guitar project featuring artists work from around the globe on guitars… so not much time to sleep!

Check out his latest single, “The Rain Song”, HERE.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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