10 Questions with ... Paul Rodgers
March 24, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Paul Rodgers is one of the premiere voices of Rock, Blues and contemporary music. He is a founding member of the legendary groups Free, Bad Company, and The Firm.
Paul Rodgers has also had his own successful solo career receiving a Grammy-Nomination in 1993 and multiple number one hits of his own. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Rodgers number 55 on its list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time."
Paul Rodgers has worked with a long list of legendary musicians including Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Queen, David Gilmour, Neal Schon, Howard Leese, Gary Moore, Buddy Guy, Steve Miller, Richie Sambora, Brian Setzer, Trevor Rabin and Slash.
His current album "The Royal Sessions" has already produced a #1 single on the Mediabase Classic Rock Chart with the remake of Sam & Dave's classic "I Thank You." Rodger's new release has also achieved recent success on Billboard's Current Top 200 Albums Chart, Billboards' Blues Album Chart, and at AC radio.
1) When listening to "The Royal Sessions" your versions of these songs stay true to the originals, but they also contain your signature vocal as well. Who was the biggest inspiration on you as you developed your own distinctive singing style?
My biggest influence through the years has been Otis Redding. Otis felt every note he ever sang and has set the bar. I have to add though that there are many other singers who have been my teachers too. Singers like Sam Moore, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Little Richard, Wilson Pickett, James Brown and the list goes on.
2) Were these songs recorded using the vintage equipment of the day? Did you use modern technology? Or was it a combination of both?
The songs were recorded live from the floor. So we all played in real time, together. That is how we captured the feel. We recorded everything on analogue straight to tape. We also released "The Royal Sessions" on vinyl. (A word of caution for those buying vinyl: make sure that your vinyl says that it is from analogue. Otherwise, chances are it is copied from digital to vinyl and the sound will not be a true, full spectrum sound).
3) What was it about the Otis Redding hit "I've Been Loving You Too Long" that inspired you to record this song and make it your next release to AC radio?
The reason I chose to sing "I've Been Loving You Too Long" is simple: I love the song.
4) You and Producer Perry Margouleff are donating all of your proceeds from this project to local Memphis music education programs. What prompted this decision to give back to the musical community?
Perry and I decided that since Memphis music has given us so much, it only seemed right to give all of the proceeds back to Memphis. We met Lisa Allen who runs the Stax Museum, and she introduced us to the Stax Music Academy program. We met some of the young people involved and they actually performed a cappella for us. They were very good! The program not only teaches music, but also life skills.
5) What is your approach to songwriting? How do you capture the inspiration when it comes?
My approach to songwriting varies. I have written songs on the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano and the bass guitar. Usually I hear the entire song structure in my head, so when it comes to bringing the band in I already know what parts I'd like them to play.
6) Anyone who has seen your show knows that you are a very high energy performer on stage. Many of today's singers have injured their vocal chords due to overuse and rigorous touring schedules. How do you keep yourself (and particularly your voice) in such great shape and how to you protect your voice from injury?
I only play 20 - 30 concerts each year, and that is internationally. That way the music retains a freshness for the fans, the band, and myself. This also helps preserve my voice and my health. It is important to take time to live and experience life, so in turn I find inspiration to continue my songwriting.
7) How have social networks and sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter affected the way you interact with your fans?
Social networks have brought the fans closer to the artist, which is great because you were brought together by the music you created. To learn what your music means to them is super deep. I had to set up a Facebook page since Wikipedia had set one up under my name! I am hands on with it and I can add what I feel my fans might find of interest. It's all about sharing information, and that exchange happens so fast now it does boggle the mind at times.
8) Who are some of the new artists who inspire you?
Young artists who are inspiring to me because they sing with such heart and soul include Adele and [the late] Amy Winehouse. Real singers singing real songs. It just doesn't get any better! No pro tools, auto-tune, just true talent! Music has to get back to that.
9) What are the biggest changes you would like to see happen in the music and radio industries?
The biggest change that I would like to see in the radio industry is that DJs should have freedom to play the music that moves them. That would make for more interesting airwaves.
As for changes in the music industry, that would be a long and varied answer. To be brief, we need more people who work in the music industry to have two ears that work and some grey matter that rests between those ears.
10) What is the one truth that has always remained constant throughout your career?
The one truth that has always remained constant throughout my career is that I have to feel the passion. I go where the music takes me, and that is what feeds my soul.
What do you do in your spare time?
I have very little spare time. What I would like to do one day when I do have time, is to go kayaking in the wilderness where the world is quiet and still.
How do you balance your family life?
I balance my family life with modern conveniences. The kids are all adults now and they have their independent lives. When I am away, phoning, texting, and skyping enables us to stay in touch. My wife Cynthia is always by my side.