Rob Mayes is a multi-talented, charismatic actor with a long list of TV & film roles to his name. Now he has added another string to his bow with a blossoming music career. We caught up with him and found out his new music and future plans and aspirations…
Hi Rob! Since Entertainment Focus have introduced me to your music, I’m loving it. I’m intrigued that as a successful actor in LA (your resume is pretty impressive), why turn your attention to country music now? Is this something you just want to experiment with and get it out of your system, or is it in your blood and are you serious about running the two careers alongside for the long run?
First off, thank you! Music has been a huge part of my entire life. I’ve been playing piano since I was 5, and guitar since I was 12 or 13. It’s in my family’s blood and it’s in mine. I finally decided to make the jump. And I love them both, acting and music.
I’m loving the 3 singles you’ve released to date and the different vibes they all have. Closer has that country pop, radio friendly feel, Road With No Lines has the perfect classic country sound and My Heart is Bleeding has a bluesy, rock and roll vibe. Is this intentional to put out very different style singles? I’m intrigued about your upcoming EP. Tell me about your music and the processes and writing behind it.
Thanks so much. I want to release songs that (hopefully) stand on their own, and aren’t just variations on a single. I want to take the listener on a journey through the release of my singles and with the release of the EP on September 20. And each of these songs has a different truth and meaning for me. Closer, Road with No Lines, and My Heart Is Bleeding all show a slightly different side of me and that’s what I am hoping to convey releasing single by single. These three songs so far have slightly different styles, which each tell a different story, a separate story from the other songs, and they shed light on my sonic influences, which are rather varied.
Where did you grow up? Did you listen to country music as a child?
I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and I got hooked on country music when I was just a young boy.
Who inspired you as a child musically and artistically?
There are so many influences. My dad played jazz in a band with my uncle. He would play alot of jazz around the house. And stuff like Michael Franks. Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto. And I love that stuff too. I listened to alot of Brooks & Dunn, Michael Peterson. And then Duncan Sheik. Rachmaninoff.
LA is a cool city to live in but doesn’t have a huge country music scene does it? Artists like Sam Outlaw, Don Gallardo etc have all made the move from LA to Nashville. Is this something you’d consider doing if your music blows up? Or are you happy to travel between the two indefinitely?
I love living in LA. And I love Nashville. And I hope to soon have a place there as well 🙂
What has been the highlight of your acting career? What direction would you like to take now? Have you any directorial aspirations?
John Dies at the End will always be a special movie for me. And Burning Blue. American Mall, for alot of reasons. The western I have coming out this year called SOLDIERS HEART with Val Kilmer. Each project has a special place in me. Eden was a crazy challenge, shooting in the South China Sea. And filming Deep Blue Sea 2 in an outdoor water tank in South Africa in the height of winter. Mistresses was a dream with a dream group of people. I loved doing The Client List. I’ve been very fortunate and I’m excited for what’s to come. I have a thriller THE HOUSE ON THE HILL coming out later this year, along with a music road trip father-daughter comedy MAYBE I’M FINE, and my Christmas music movie THE ROAD HOME FOR CHRISTMAS with Marla Sokoloff and Marie Osmond hits Lifetime October 26!
I want to continue making movies that speak to me. I love doing TV. And we’ve got some projects in development that I’m producing. I would love to direct! I’ve got some ideas I’m floating around 🙂
Where do you feel you fit in with the Country Music scene? Kiefer Sutherland is touring over here in October and has made a successful transition between actor and singer/songwriter. You are kindred spirits!
Ya know, I love the new poppy stuff, and I love the old throwback sound. I love what Midland is doing. And Chris Stapleton. Randy Houser’s new album. Chris Lane. There’s so much good music out there right now. I’m just making the music I want to hear. The music and truth that I’m feeling, that speaks to me, that’s what I’m writing and recording. Where that puts me in comparison? In what box? I guess that’s up for someone else to decide.
The UK loves country music and all variations of it from Sam Hunt/Lil Nas to Dwight Yoakem & Emmylou Harris. Would you like to come over and play for us?
Man I would love to get over there and play! And by the way, Dwight Yoakam..huge influence of mine. In fact, his guitarist Eugene Edwards played on my single MY HEART IS BLEEDING and Dwight’s engineer Marc DeSisto who’s become a friend mixed the song. I used to go to school in the UK. I spent a year at Dulwich College and I’ve been itching to get back ever since. Maybe now we can make that happen 🙂
Tell me a little more about who Rob Mayes is. Dreams, aspirations, bucket list moments?
My dreams are many. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and yet there is so much more that I want to do. And so, I’m doing it. I think it’s important to remember that our dreams might shift or change. And other dreams might arise alongside other lifelong aspirations. I’ve wanted to act and make music since I was a little kid and I’ve been doing both in one form or another since then. Whether I was running around with my parents’ camcorder making movies as an 8 year old (see THE FATALITY ZONE and WE DIFFERENT? … both of which have yet to get distribution lol ) or playing guitar and piano and writing my own stuff. I just know that so long’s I’m creating and it’s reaching eyes and ears and making a difference in someone’s life, not only do I feel fulfilled with and in that creative outlet, but it’s nice to know that maybe something we’ve created, a movie, or a song I wrote, might speak to someone. And that’s reason enough, really, to keep on keeping on.
Who is on your playlist at the moment?
No joke: Lewis Capaldi, Nicolas Jaar, Bonobo, Randy Houser, Brooks & Dunn, Fela Kuti, Nathaniel Rateliff, Michael McDonald, Luke Combs new EP, David Ball, Frankie Ruiz, Eric Church, Khatia Buniatishvili, Ashley McBryde, Tyler Childers, Dustin Lynch, Morgan Wallen, Andrew Bird. How’s that for varied??
If Rob Mayes was a superhero, who would he be?
Ha! Raphael of the TMNT! Cowabunga.
Rob released his EP ‘Closer’ on 20th September 2019 and his new single Wine + Whiskey is out now.