R&B in the Northwest is a rare commodity and like other emerging artists gaining respect being any kind of local artist is often being under appreciated. Encompassing tough with a name like eRok the singer recently released his debut album entitled “King” which has a meaning that may not be as easy as it is perceived. eRok speaks on the process of making the album, how personal the release was, his celeb crush, as well as his outlook on love in marriage in today’s generation.
Hows it going eRok, “King” is finally out must be a little relief seems like the album has been a long time in the making?
Life is good to be honest, I am in the best place I have ever been in life right now. No complaints to finally have my album out feels good man. It has been a long time in the making. The feedback has been amazing, better than I could have ever expected.
Before we get too deep into the album tell us a bit about eRok, give us a formal introduction?
I was born and raised inSan Franciscoand all around the bay area. We moved around a lot when I was a kid. my mom used to bump R&B music all day everyday so that’s where my influence comes from. That is pretty much all you hear in the bay area too hip hop and R&B. I moved up here toPortlandwhen I was in Junior high when my dad’s job transferred up here. Took a little while to get used to the people and feel of this city is very different than San Fran but I love Portland now. Only thing is i’m actually moving back to San Francisco pretty soon!
So tell us the story of how eRok the singer came to be is there a story or instance where it clicked and you said I want to do this?
I was actually on a R&B music blog a few years back and they had a song writing competition and I thought “This Cant Be That Hard” so I gave it a try and it actually came to me pretty easy. I didn’t win though and I’ll never share that song with anybody (Laughs) but a couple years later I wrote a song for an ex for Christmas. I then realized that I really love writing songs and singing. So after that I wrote another song and recorded my first song called “Down Tonight”. That’s was a sexy track, I still love that song.
How did you come up with the name of eRok? Was it your first choice?
“eRok” was actually a nick name given to me in high school by my friend Jeff Bond, who is actually now my studio engineer. (clangorden.com) I recorded my entire album with him. He’s a pretty funny guy and he had nicknames for everybody back in the day and mine stuck with me. Not too many people actually call me by my first name, it’s always eRok.
You mentioned your originally from California and now your residing in Portland but seems were are losing you already with you heading back to San Francisco?
Yes im excited to go back home and get my music heard and broaden my fan base. I want people who actually listen to and appreciate R&B music more so than people do here in Portland. Part of me will always be in Portland, I grew up here in a sense and even attended PSU. I will miss the Northwest, I love how green it is you don’t get that in the bay.
So you grew up in Portland but is it pretty much when you started doing music or had you been working on songs before you came out here?
Yeah, I started my music career here in Portland. In a way it’s been a blessing because R&B music isn’t as prominent here in Portland as it is back home in San Francisco so it’s allowed me to shine a little brighter in my genre for a new artist than I might have back home.
R&B is pretty universal do you think being either which region whether it was California or Oregon it would of influenced the type of music you make?
Being from San Fran definitely influenced the music I make. Like I said, it’s all you hear down there and my mom only listened to it when we were kids so it’s all I knew. I like all types of music now but R&B is where my heart is.
So lets get into “King” why did you choose the title? The general fan probably has their own ideas but what was your ideology behind the title?
KING, a king is somebody who commands respect and attention. It’s somebody who evokes emotions out of people through his strength and character. That’s what I wanted to do with my album. I wanted to command your attention and have the listener hear the words and feel something. There’s a song for everybody on the album and you instantly relate the words to your own situation.
How long was the recording process for the album seems like you been working on it for awhile?
I worked on the album for almost a year. I pushed back the release date a few times actually because halfway through recording I went through some tough times and it changed my mindset for the album. I started writing a bunch of different songs that meant a lot more to me than what I had already written. So the direction of the album changed for the better. I think when you listen you’ll know what I’m talking about. I wanted it to be real and wanted to make sure you knew me when you were done with the album.
What producers did you work with for the album? Was it hard to find good producers?
The majority of the album is produced by this guy from the UK actually his name is Al Frasier. He’s great, once I heard one of his tracks I kept going back for more because even the music itself has emotion to it. It sets the tone for the rest of the song right when you hear the music begin to play. It did take me a while to find him, it was about two months into the process when I found him and changed things up.
I notice features are limited is that by choice?
Yes, that was by choice, I did not want to cloud the album with other artist’s ideas of what the song concept was about. I really wanted this album to tell my story of where I am at in life right now. Im also hella picky about who I collab with so that played into it to. I had a handful of requests from other singers and rappers wanting to be a part of the album. It’s very humbling but for the song “Somebody Else” I thought it would be great to get a female perspective to do a call-back style song between her and I. I actually approached Tiffany Mall, she is an amazing artist, her voice has so much depth and soulfulness to it. When we were recording the track I remember thinking “Damn” she’s about to out sing me on my own album (Laughs) but it’s one of the most well received songs so I am glad that she was able to be on it with me.
R&B always seems to be a bit more personnel and after hearing the album you wonder is a lot of the material based on your experiences?
Yes, it’s very personal. I wrote every song on the album from personal experience. The only song that holds no truth is the collab with Tiffany Mall”Somebody Else”. I’ve never left anybody for somebody else but everything else is definitely personal. That’s one of the reasons why I was so nervous when it came closer to the release because I was anxious to hear what people would think about the songs since they were so personal to me. I been through some ups and I been through some downs and I used all of that to write my music.
The album has a good mix of classical R&B feels along with its share of what many call pop R&B is that kind of a ode in respect to old and new fan bases or just you in general?
It is mixed with some pop on there before my album I released a bunch of singles. I know what works for my fans and what doesn’t so I did my best to combine everything I knew they would love. You have the stuff on there that is radio friendly. Also, you have to have songs that can play in the club. That’s where I do a lot of my promo is getting DJ’s to play the club tracks. A lot of music today has a lot of pop styling’s and influence so I wanted to keep it current as well. Don’t get me wrong, it’s mostly R&B but there are some definite pop records on there. It is funny because on my album the most pop style record “I Wanna Be” has had the most success online. I even had one person try and steal the rights to it and say they wrote and recorded it!
Once had a woman say something along the lines why cant R&B singers be like real men and speak their feelings. True to a sense do you feel like making music is a good outlet to let you vent feelings you might not normally let out?
Yes, writing these songs has definitely been an outlet. I pour my heart out on these tracks. It’s not stuff you normally bring up in your everyday conversation so it feels good to let it out. It lets your fans relate to you when you sing about the exact experience they’re going through it hits home and resonates with them for a long time.
Top three favorite songs from the album and why?
Aaahhhh that’s tough! I really like “Nobody Like U”. It’s an upbeat song about being in love and enjoying it. There’s no better feeling than the first part of realizing you’re in love then nothing else matters. This song takes you through those emotions, it’s fun and R&B in true fashion. It definitely has a good summer time vibe to it and it kicks off the album really well. “Don’t Leave Me” is another favorite. It shows my more vulnerable side and its definitely one of the most personal tracks on the album. It’s about being at a crossroads in your relationship where you can’t decide if you want to hang on and stick it out even though you know it won’t last or deciding to just let go of it all. You’re not strong enough to let go yet, so you stay and beg you’re girl or your man to not leave. It’s a sad track but I think a lot of people have been at this point one or another. Everybody has their moments of weakness. “I Can’t Wait” is another favorite of mine. It’s definitely a club record and those are always fun to record. I will be in the recording booth dancing (Laughs). This is a track about going out and just having fun and whatever happens…happens. You’re only young for so long so enjoy it! Also, it is amazing to have my track drop to a packed club and seeing everybody react so well to it. Having an entire club dancing to my music will never get old.
Being a independent artist is hard enough do you think its harder being a R&B artists versus a rap artist or is the struggle similar?
I definitely think the struggle is the same for any new artist. It can be hard when you’re first starting to find people that want to get behind you or people that want to believe in your dream with you. I think when you show everybody that it really is your passion, that nothing else in the world makes you happy they’ll immediately get behind you. It’s exciting having fans that stick with you and grow with you as an artist.
Quick five for the end, best quality a woman can possess?
Asense of humor for sure. If you can’t laugh with each other, what do you got?
From what you have seen what place has the most beautiful women?
You already know im going to sayCaliforniagirls are the best! There’s more diversity down there so you see women from every culture and ethnicity!
Love at first sight such a thing?
Nah. I think you definitely can feel a very strong attraction with somebody when you first meet them but to be in love requires getting to know somebody. I think you can definitely fall in love pretty quick, been there done that but not at first sight.
Celeb Crush or Dream Date?
Jennifer Lopez!! ever since I was a kid and I saw the movie “Selena” I’ve been in love with her, even to this day. She kills me and she clearly likes Latin men so I am positive I have a chance!
Misconception or truth being a R&B singer has ladies flocking by the masses?
It definitely doesn’t hurt at all! No complaints!
Throw one serious one question at you before we end things out. You see it day in day out even R&B singers who sing about love, heartbreak, and all the good things in between struggle romantically. You think love and marriage is something that is not nearly as respected today as it once was?
Marriage and Love is definitely not the same as it was. Everybody now a days is looking to get in a relationship so they can change their face book status. The idea of a real marriage is exploited everyday on these ridiculous TV shows that focus on everything but being in love. It’s too bad. You got shit on TV like the bachelorette where they create a circumstance that would never happen in real life. It makes people not want to believe in the true ideals of being in love and being in a respectful relationship. Everybody wants to be in love, it’s just a matter of what you believe love to be. I think when you listen to my album you’ll see that I am pretty traditional. I have fallen in love, I have had my heart broken, I’ve gotten over it all, and started over.
Lets make sure people know where to find you on the web, plus where to get the album, and any last words.
My album “KING” is available on most online retailers like iTunes (http://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/king/id520561906), Amazon MP3 (http://www.amazon.com/King-Explicit/dp/B007VWMEBI), Google Music Store (https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Erok_King?id=Bj2g35oqvhqhkwwcoqmqqkipd2e&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImFsYnVtLUJqMmczNW9xdmhxaGt3d2NvcW1xcWtpcGQyZSJd)
You can order physical copies through my website http://eRokmusik.com by clicking on the tab on the right labeled “KING”.
I post covers on my YouTube channel at http://Youtube.com/eRoknumberone
I want say thank you to everybody who had stuck with me since day one when I wasn’t sure about it all up until now. Seeing my album selling better and better every week because I have people standing behind me who really believe in my music! I want to give a shoutout to my DJ “DjTj”. He really pushes the eRok brand and goes hard for me, I owe a lot of my success to his grind! Always have to thank my family, they hold me down! I have nowhere to go but up from here and I ask that everybody continue to raise me up, there’s nothing I want more than to be able to share my music and tell my story with more and more people. God Bless.