We had the good fortune of connecting with Rob Holbert and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rob, why did you pursue a creative career?
Music is in my blood. It isn’t just what I do. It is a large part of who I am as a person. Therefore, pursuing a career as a professional musician is more than a vocation for financial support. It is life itself. It is like breathing or eating. That being said, performing music would be the most logical path for me. However, the downside to pursuing a career in music performance or recording can be a feast or famine type of lifestyle, So, for me, I have always had a primary source of income (aka-A FULL-TIME JOB). There are many who might say that having a full time job doing something other than music makes me a part-time musician at best. That isn’t true. I work just as much as most full-time musicians and even more than a good portion of musicians I know. Having multiple income streams is just good business practice. Plus, it allows me be a little more selective in which avenues I take when it comes to the business side of music.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
For starters, although I’ve been playing music for many years, I still feel as though I’m just getting started. I suppose the reason i feel that way is because there is always more to learn, more places to see and perform, improvements to be made. It’s a never ending journey. Perhaps it’s that attitude that sets me apart from others. I am always excited to play music. I believe that if I ever get to a point where music isn’t fun or a performance becomes like a regular job I hate to go to, I would give up music and not perform any longer. It is that mindset that has gotten me to where I am professionally. I absolutely love to see an audience enjoying something I am creating in real time. Getting to this point hasn’t been easy. As in any profession, there is a lot of rejection. Not everyone will love or even like what I do or the way I play or the way I sing. I have, over the years, learned that I, or my music, won’t be liked or accepted by everyone. And I’m ok with that. I’ve never aspired to be a pop star. I do take pleasure in finding a niche that allows me to do exactly the music I love to do AND having an audience that likes it too. That’s one of lessons I learned when playing with Bernard Wright. He taught me that there is always someone who will like exactly what I do and be true to that. Thus, I would like for the world to know that Rob Holbert is authentic and genuine if nothing else.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
It’s difficult to say what I would do or where I would take an out of town guest because of the current Covid situation. Most places have seriously limited or even shut down completely their live entertainment. There are still a few that are doing some live Jazz or R&B as well as several Blues venues. Most restaurants are open with limited capacity. However, I would certainly try to see if I could take them to a live stream broadcast of one of the Dallas Music Network shows. Director Rene Rodriguez is producing a first class broadcast of live entertainment with various artists and a visit to one of his productions would not only be entertaining, but very informative as well. My guest would get a behind the scenes look at a real production show as well as seeing some great artists at their best on camera. We would also visit a few of the places I perform in like Tolberts in Downtown Grapevine or Club Ritzy in Fort Worth.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people I have on my list to give credit too. My list could be 5 pages long. But, I’ll start with my Mom and Dad. I come from a musical family. My parents both sang and my Mom was an excellent pianist. One of the biggest influences musically for me was my sister, Joan Hubert. She is a retired opera singer and educator in the Houston area. My first saxophone instructor was Thomas McLain who, at the insistence of my Dad, basically made me choose to play sax. I am grateful for their influence. There are also numerous musicians in the Dallas area that have helped me in so many ways. There are a few that come to mind immediately. Linny Nance and Thom Brownlee are among them. Those two gentlemen were highly instrumental in helping me to get my first gigs in the DFW area and were very supportive in offering their help whenever I needed it. I still work with them to this day. Jazz vocalist Breggett Rideau is another musician I owe a huge shout out to. She hired me to play in her band when her regular saxophonist, Keith Anderson, went on the road with Les McCann. She even got me on a gig with her in Dubai which was a great opportunity and adventure. Another person I’d like to shout out would be theater and screen actress Denise Lee. Denise produces a series of musical cabaret shows here in DFW and she has allowed me to perform with her on numerous shows AND she allowed me to do several of my own shows which she acted as producer. And of course, my wife Michele has to be at the top of the list. She is the person who encouraged me to get back into music after I had given it up during the years before we met. She is the ultimate support person. She listens to my music all the time and has become quite a good music critic in giving her views of various artists. I respect her opinions and appreciate all she has done, and continues to do, to keep me grounded and moving forward. As i said, I could keep this up for several pages because there have been so many who have helped me along my path.
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Dallas Music Network Denise Lee Onstage Bob Hadsell Daniel Dugan