Robert Alan Rife: singer with a story

Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
I grew up in Calgary, Alberta in the bosom of the Rocky Mountains. Music was, for me, a formative influence from a very early age. Not just music, but wildly eclectic music as well. While still in single digits I would listen to everything from Classical to Chart-toppers to Celtic folk music. Like many singers, my earliest influences were singing in church. We'd also stand around the piano at home and sing pop tunes. I fell in love with all things Celtic while quite young as well and started learning Highland Bagpipes at age 8. By 12 (like almost every other early Junior High boy!) I was teaching myself guitar fascinated as I was with artists like Bruce Cockburn, Paul Simon, The Guess Who, among others. It didn't take long until I was singing publicly at parties, community centers, and other places. I've been a singer songwriter ever since.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
Well, oddly, I'd still consider myself a start-up in many ways! However, what success I have seen has been a result of consistent playing and singing. Wherever. Whenever. However. Just sing. The more opportunities you find to strut your stuff, the greater the chance of still better opportunities and ones "with teeth" - that propel your career forward a little more.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
Ha! Yup. And, the better I get, the bigger the mistakes! I'm a funny guy and can usually roll with it. Turn something potentially disastrous into something welcoming and fun for your audience. They'll love even more as a result!
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
I don't tour any more. But "road stories" abound with any artist who has done any amount of touring. I've had people undress at gigs before (not always a welcome sight I gotta say). I've fallen off stages. Once I hyper-extended my knee and had 20 minutes of music left to do. I once did a twice daily outdoor show at a dinner theatre and had a pigeon s**t on my head while I was singing!
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
Not as such. I'm doing a ton of arranging these days, which is always a blast.
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
These kinds of platforms. Online spaces dedicated to developing awareness of and championing artists. It's an online world and is absolutely the best place for PR.
Exposed Vocals: If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
Bruce Cockburn, Dan Fogelberg, Dougie MacLean, and The Chieftains. They are some of my biggest influences. I'd love to think that who I am now as an artist would in some way show my gratitude and praise of them as musicians.
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
I'm working on a 5 song EP on which my oldest son, Calum is both playing and producing. I'm also uploading many of my songs, scored for numerous instruments, onto my page on Sheet Music Plus.
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Writing. I am a published blogger, writer, and poet. THAT'S what I'd be doing.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in the next year or so?
Hopefully my new EP will be ready for release and I'm working on a book as well!
Exposed Vocals: Any Shout-outs?
To any and all up and coming artists still struggling to get out from under bigger shadows cast by more experienced artists with more machinery at their disposal. Just. Sing. And, eventually, your voice will be heard.