Robert Tepper is a rock singer who is known from songs such as No Easy Way Out from Rocky IV -soundtrack and Angel of the City from Cobra-soundtrack. Robert’s singing voice is unique and easily recognizable and it has lasted over the decades. The biggest hype for him happened in the 80’s but now he is back with a brand new album! The new album, Better than the rest, has been released on September 27th. Heavy Profile has the honor to interview Robert, so let’s begin!
1. Hi Robert! It has been a while since you last recorded an album. Why did you take a long break from recording?
I know it’s been a long time between what I want to call rock records, but I just didn’t feel motivated to do any old AOR-collection of songs. I needed to feel inspired and with the collaboration of myself and guitarist Pablo Padilla it all started to make sense for me to do this record now. And it’s not as if I wasn’t still writing and recording music. I was paying my dues as an engineer and producer. I never stopped.
2. Your voice is one of the most recognizable in the rock & AOR -scene. I regard you as one of the best AOR-singers and your singing has brought tears in my eyes many times. What is the secret of your unique voice? Have you had singing education?
First of all that is so kind of you to say those things about my voice. It sometimes feels like it has a mind of it’s own. Things that are true about my signing. It is truly emotional. I try to train it and exercise it and sometimes it likes to give me a hard time. It’s definitetly something that is under utilized.
I probably consider myself first as a songwriter and second as a singer. I still feel I’m finding things out about it. Sometimes when I’m succesful at singing I might be the last to know. Maybe less true now and more true when I was younger. I have to work to make my voice happen. It’s an olympic event and you better be prepared!
3. Your new album, Better than the Rest, has been released on September 27th. How would you describe this album especially for your fans here in Scandinavia?
I would describe Better than the Rest as an album that was inspired and performed for those people who love AOR music. Me and Pablo tried to incorporate all those elements that made us love those records. Some of those things are the bigness of the sounds. The relationship between keyboards and guitars ot the shear size of the drum sounds. All of those things excited us then and still excite us today.
4. No Easy Way Out is your known song and probably one of the widely known songs from the 80’s. I think No Easy Way Out played an important role in the Rocky IV -movie too.
Can you tell us about that time when the song was recorded? What do you remember from that time? Did you get to meet Sylvester Stallone?
First of all, during the No Easy Way Out -era I had the pleasure of meeting Sly Stallone and hung out with him in the studio one day. He had a strong connection to the song and if you remember which I’m sure you do, he used the song right down to the fade in the movie.
Well here I was sitting at the opening of the movie saying to myself: “Holy shit did anyone else see and hear what I just saw and heard?”. It was amazing and afterwards there was a party at some restaurant I don’t remember, in Westwood California. I sat at Sly’s table and he pointed to me and said: “You are next”. Meaning we are about to kick some ass with this movie. And right he was.
5. What kind of dreams do you still have considering your career in the music industry?
My career dreams are being answered right now as we speak. Here I am at the latter part of my life and I have a brand new record out that people thus far are really loving. No one on the planet, but especially someone who sings and writes for a living, wants to feel like their art is not important or is not relevant. I’ve been working the digital angle of this album and I truly enjoy checking in with the people who are listening. It gives me a tremendous thrill to be able to sing something that someone truly appreciates, no bull shit. If they love it, what a great thing.
6. You sing with huge emotion and that is what you are also known for. Is that emotionality also part of the person who you are? How would you describe yourself as a person?
As a person I would describe myself as someone who tries to the best of his ability, to be the best Robert Tepper he can be. And someday’s I’m succesful and somedays I fail. But as the Dalai Lama says: don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. People are being very complimentary about my voice and that it seems strong. Well I still have somethings to say and I feel very deeply about putting that out there.
7. What are your best memories considering your career so far?
I wrote for Barbra Orbison in Nashville for a while and I once wrote a country song and there was a line in that song that I didn’t write. But I think the lyricist was an actor named Peter Strong. The title was My Best Memories are in Front of Me. I’m gonna go with that.
8. Who are your biggest influencers as a singer?
Being I’m bordering on ancient number one has to be Elvis. That was emotional singin. Roy Orbison: amazing voice. But I am just as impressed by the voices of Rod Stewart and of course there’s the people who can rip your heart out with simplicity: Tom Petty, Gillian Welch, the guy from a band called Pinegrove. Then there’s the pop masters Justin Bieber and Stevie Winwood and probably the two most amazing singers ever: Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney. I can go on and on and on. Paul Carrack, Sam Cook. Aretha Franklin. Stop me now!
Thank you for the interview Robert!
Interview: Pekka Montin
Edited: Aili Viitanen