Robert Sloan is a Long Island native. He was born and raised in Massapequa Park, only leaving his hometown when he went to school in Oneonta for Music Business. I had a chance to sit and talk with Robert and get a glimpse into who this artists really is.
Though Robert played clarinet and sang in school programs, his musical life really began at the age of thirteen. That’s when Robert first heard the music of Jimi Hendrix. The mesmerizing and psychedelic nature of Hendrix’s music really spoke to Robert. It was then that Robert knew he needed — not just wanted –needed a guitar. He received a few lessons, and learned the basic scales and chords, but soon, that style of practicing would not be enough. Over time, Robert developed a unique method of practice, that some haven’t heard of and others call crazy. Robert began a method of meditation that helped him practice the guitar while lucidly dreaming. Before sleep, Robert would play one chord over and over, clearing his mind while focusing on his guitar and the sounds it created. He would then go to bed and, through training, would lay with as little movement possible until his body fell asleep. Through these dreams, Robert would practice his playing-techniques and become inspired through his mind’s creations to write songs.
Robert’s songs mainly come from the inspirations found in his dream-scape. When he talks about the music that came about from his dreams, he described it more as being sent to him, rather than being created. He considers his sound to be Folk with some aspects of Jam, Funk and Pop music. But, he doesn’t like to be viewed solely as a folk musician. Though, one of his main inspirations is the renowned English folk artist, Nick Drake, he has many other musical influences, ranging from Cat Stevens to Donovan to Green Day to John Mayer to World musicians, like Habib Koite. He believes that his music is always supplementary to the message he is trying to convey.
Robert reads a lot of books to help him. He uses messages of positive growth, redemption and love in all of his songs. He believes that his lyrics can inspire others, cause change, and better our world. Because Robert is an avid reader, he strives to make his sounds and lyrics come together to make musical novels. Robert told me that while he is very happy with the music he makes now, but is still looking to do more. He wants to use some harder messages in his music, perhaps delving into topics such as politics and society as a whole.
Outside of his own music, Robert actually owns his own booking and promoting agency called InterROBang Productions. He enjoys cult movies like “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. Robert also spends a lot of his time working to help people less fortunate than himself. He has started working in a home with special needs individuals, and has found that it to be extremely rewarding. He has also worked with Unicef in raising money to help people affected by natural disasters.
I asked Robert if he had any advice for up-and-coming Long Island artists. He had a lot of wisdom for them, stating;
“You have to play all the time. You have to work on your craft. You have to put yourself out there. Find your audience and just go do it!”
Robert Sloan will be performing on Saturday, June 21st at SPARKBOOM‘s 2014 kickoff event “Beards, Bards and BOOM” at The Walt Whitman Birthplace. Robert already has a beard, and a pretty impressive one at that. He promises to dress it up even more come June 21st.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Darryl Maraj graduated from Five Towns College with a degree in Music Education. At Five Towns, he worked with the great vocal professional and renowned educator, Stephen C. Pagano in jazz, classical, Broadway and pop styles of singing. Currently, Darryl splits his time between his job at the Islip School District, his church- where he is the Music Coordinator, and his band, Slang (facebook.com/slangthebandli). When taking a break from music, Darryl likes to draw, play video games and attempt cooking.