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INTERVIEW: Robert Ranson

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Move On”?

I wrote “Move On” over twenty years ago. The song is a hard driving, high energy rock tune.  It is one of the few songs on the “Still Dreaming” album that lacks any Jamaican or island rock influences.  The music for “Move On” grew out of a collaborative effort with two close friends.  Robert Kindle came up with the initial groove used in the intro and verses.  I developed the music for the chorus, and Dean Berry and I came up with the chords for the bridge.  The song is a guitar-centric composition that features Dean Berry on lead.  The song also boasts bold vocal harmonies with me, Marna Bales and Sully Sullivan singing the chorus line, “Who knows where we’ll go.”

The lyrics speak of deception and deceit and the need to get away from it and seek a new path. “Ain’t it funny how they play that game?  They say they love you while they dig your grave.  Gonna move on away from here, no more standing against the flow.”  The song is an anthem which says in different words, “Screw you, I’m out of here.”

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

The inspiration for the lyrics came from an experience I had doing volunteer work in the Richmond business community.  I had been working for several years to help build a non-profit organization to promote technology businesses in the Greater Richmond area.  I had served as the organization’s Vice President and was in line to become the next President.  However, there were a few board members that had their own plans for the organization, which included unethical activities for their own personal gain.  Being that I was opposed to their plans, I became an obstacle that needed to be removed.  I was thoroughly disgusted and disillusioned with the game these individuals were playing and decided it was time to Move On.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The video was filmed on March 13, 2019 at the Hippodrome Theater and was directed and produced by Mad Box Made.  It was a fun, but long day.  We started at 8am and wrapped up around 6pm.  We shot three separate music videos that day, which included “Move On”.  To film the videos, the camera crew would set up their camera positions and we would go through all three songs.  The crew would then move there camera equipment around and we would go through all three songs once again.  We went through this process about a dozen times to get all the camera angles and video footage the director felt was necessary.  The resulting videos turned out great in my opinion and I thank the band members and the crew from Mad Box Made for making this effort such a great success.

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

Nine of the ten songs on “Still Dreaming” were written over twenty years ago.  I recorded these nine songs in the late 90’s in my home recording studio and titled the album “Chase Your Dreams” because the album itself was something I had dreamed of doing for many years.  While “Chase Your Dreams” was a respectable piece of work, I felt the album fell short of the professional standard I was seeking and accordingly the album was only released on a limited basis.  Fast forward more than twenty years, I made the decision to re-record the nine songs from “Chase Your Dreams” plus an additional song written in recent years titled “For You”.  In February of 2018, I started recording “Still Dreaming” at Red Amp Audio.  I worked on the album for the next ten months and refused to stop until I had truly given it my best effort.  The reason for naming the new album “Still Dreaming” is obvious.  At the ripe old age of 60, I’m “Still Dreaming” of doing great things.

How was the recording and writing process?

As previously mentioned, nine of the ten songs were written over 20 years ago.  I developed both the music and lyrics for these songs over the course of a year.  The lyrical compositions I did alone.  On the other hand, many of the musical compositions were a collaborative effort with Dean Berry and Robert Kindle.  The song “For You”, which I wrote in recent years, is a deeply personal song, and I wrote both the lyrics and music alone.

The recording process at Red Amp Audio was a blast and absolute joy.  All the artist that performed on the album were true pros.  They also happen to be good friends, which made it all that much more fun.  Everyone brought their “A” game and helped to create an amazing album.  Jody Boyd and I worked together for ten months producing and tweaking the tracks.  When we were done we send the tracks to Georgetown Masters in Nashville for final mastering.

What role does Jamaica play in your music?

Many of my songs have been heavily influenced by my love of Jamaica.  Having gone there 30 times over the course of my life, I consider Jamaica my second home.  The beauty of Jamaica, the people, the music, the food, the sounds and smells have all created lasting memories and impressions recounted in the lyrics and musical compositions of many of my songs.

What were some of the dreams you get to deep dive on this record?

Many of my songs mention dreams. The first song “Lonely Eyes” tells the story of a woman’s determination to escape a troubled relationship and live her life anew. “She longs to be in Montego.  All her dreams are there.”  The fourth track, “One Thing” declares, “If it’s up to me all your dreams will  come true.”  The song “Just Like Anyone” includes the lyrics, “She lives her life just like anyone, chasing at dreams while on the run.”  The seventh track, “Searchin’” describes a guy coming home to discover, “Inside the door are all the dreams I ever hoped to find.”  The song “Tempest” is a dream-like description of a raging storm. Finally, “For You” sadly states, “In time I’ll see things differently, or so that’s what they say.  Find a path to joyful memories as this nightmare fades away.”

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

My inspiration for my lyrics has been found in the relationships, events, emotions and dreams that have been a part of my life.  That said, I have written a number of songs for the sole purpose of creating a fictional story, however, even these stories are drawn from my personal experiences, although written from the storyteller’s perspective.

Some songs emerged from a deeply personal perspective. “Flyin’” speaks of my son and his struggle with drug addiction. “For You,” was written in the aftermath of his tragic death from a heroin overdose.

The inspiration for my musical compositions comes from my love and respect for recording artists such as Steely Dan, Toto, The Doobie Brothers, Bob Marley, Maxi Priest, Chronixx, and New Kingston.

Any plans to hit the road?

The short answer is: only on a limited basis.  First, touring is a young man’s game.  I toured when I was younger and even back then found it difficult.  Secondly, I play music for my enjoyment not because I need to generate income from it.  Making money in the music business is a really tough thing to do and I have little to no interest in trying my luck at it.

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

My next goal is to record another album.  I have already written lyrics for ten songs and developed musical compositions for almost as many.  It is my hope to have 12 to 14 new tracks on the new album.

Listen 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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