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Local singer launches debut album

Created on 30/09/2010 @ 08:39
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Dai Robs talks to mywelshpool ahead of his big album launch party this Saturday, and you're all invited!
When (and why) did you start playing music? 
I first started playing guitar when I was about 16, wrote a couple of cringe-worthy songs about how being a teenager was the hardest thing in the world. I didn't really take it seriously until joining The Velvet Dukes in 2007. The guitarist Will Barnes helped massively with my guitar playing and the band really helped to develop me as a performer.
Who introduced you to music?
I guess it was my Dad. He loves music. He can't sing for toffee but he loves it. He used to be a wedding DJ in the 80's and I always had access to a massive selection of vinyl and my love for motown has definitely come from him. My first songs to play were original. I've always loved the writing side of music as a way to deal with life and all it throws at you. The first covers I played were Nirvana acoustic covers and me and Dad used to play House of the Rising Sun with him on Keyboard. Happy Days!
How has your music career gone?  
I would honestly say that only in the last 12 months have I started to push it more. I played with a rock band 'Voodoo Johnson' before the Velvet Dukes and we used to play all around the country. They have gone on to be reasonably successful since getting rid of me and I'm really happy for them. The Velvet Dukes released an album which we were really pleased with; it was different to what other people our age were doing. We also have an E.P. we finished recording before we decided to take a break which I believe is going to be made available to the public for free in the near future. As a soloist I have my album out this Saturday. I have made the regional live finals of a competition 'open mic uk' and things are looking good.  
What have been the high and low points? 
 If I'm honest I don't get pessimistic about music as there aren't really any low points. There are always bad gigs, we all have them but I just see them as another experience and I'm really grateful for what I've got. Everyone is good at something and I just happen to be good at something I love. I am terrible at Golf. Sure it would be nice to be doing it full time but I love every minute of what I do. I would say that there have been a few high points. The release of the first Velvet Dukes album was awesome; my brief time with Colour Sunday was great as they are great fun to play with. My set at the Crash Festival this year was amazing as it was great to win a crowd over on a rainy day. Things like that make me smile.  
Who are your musical influences? 
Where do I start? I currently love Donovan Frankenreiter, G-Love, Ben Harper, Matt Costa, A.L.O. My true love is Motown; Stevie Wonder is amazing, Marvin Gaye, George Benson, Lionel Richie (no shame). I also love Tracy Chapman, Kenny Rogers, B.B. King and am a huge fan of Paul Weller. I really could go on forever. 
Why did you decide to go solo? 
I just felt it was time to get my own songs out there. Without risking sounding pretentious I write songs about feelings and so my songs need to go out as I want them to and not stylised by the bands that I'm in at the time. So really the sets that I'm playing now are a true representation of how I see the music and how I want to be portrayed. If people can hook on to the emotion of one of the songs or feel how I felt writing it then that gives me a massive sense of achievement. 
Is this your first solo album? 
 Yes it is.  
What can people expect from it? 
I wanted to make it a live lounge kind of feel. I have made studio recordings before and sometimes they can help to structure the songs but I've never felt that they have captured my vocals. So I filled the studio with people and played a gig, recorded it and it's come out sounding as good as I could have hoped for. It's chilled but it's what I wanted. Hopefully the outtakes will never make it out the studio!
Have you got plans to do some more live shows? 
I'm all about the live shows right now and I am booking up as quickly as I can. I love playing small intimate gigs. Recording a record is one thing but playing your songs live to an audience is as good as it gets for me. 
What is your ambition/what's next? 
My next step is probably to look for management. It's hard to do everything you need to do when working full time as well. To be a full time musician would be my dream. It's not about money or fame or all the things people perceive it to be about, it's just doing what I love for a living.
Dai’s debut album will be released this Saturday and a launch party is scheduled from 8pm at the Raven Inn, Welshpool. Entry is free and the evening will feature a live set from Dai and Cardiff band Under the Driftwood Tree. More details are available on Facebook: search for Dai Robs Album Release Party.
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