Over 20 years ago, Bob turned away from law school and made the bold decision to become a musician. He had never played a guitar and he didn’t know how to sing, but he knew that he was passionate about music and that he was tired of avoiding what he really wanted to do.
After purchasing his first guitar, Bob locked himself up in his small apartment and eventually learned his first song: “American Pie” by Don McLean. Since that day he has released 9 albums (with more coming) and has toured all over North America. He has a loyal following of fans which he treats with just as much respect as he does his music, because he knows that they are the reason he gets to do what he loves. I think we could all learn something from that.
His role models are Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfood, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and Jim Croce. “These guys told these stories in these 3 or 4 minute box that were so rich, and it stuck to you, and you could apply it to your life.”
In an interview I had with Bob over sushi several months ago, he told me: “You need to learn how to fight through your own discouragement” and you have to understand that the skepticism of other people doesn’t really have to do with you .
As far as craft goes, Bob says this:
“You have to learn everything about the craft you want to do, no matter what it is – be it painting, to mining, to singing, to writing, to acting. There’s so much to learn from people. So there is no short cut to this. None whatsoever. But you’ll grow not just as an artist but as a person – because it’s the same.”
This is the first in a series of interviews that I will be releasing on Creative Life. These are Bob’s answers to my questions about life, art and following your dreams.
An Interview with Musician Bob Rylett
1. What is the force that drives you forward? What fuels your ambition?
The force is curiosity. The wonder in us all. The fuel is challenge. The ponder in us all.
2. What has been your most significant failure, or can you remember your greatest paradigm shift?
Oh, I have made so many mistakes and they all seem pretty significant. Only because each one moved me forward and closer to what works. Einstein said, “ You never fail until you stop trying.” So I will go with Albert on that one.
3. Are you happy? What does happiness mean to you?
I feel joy. And sadness. As well as a wide variety of other emotions, ranging from anger to trust and from disgust to anticipation. I think that is healthy.
4. What do you think is your greatest strength? What is your greatest weakness (something you struggle with)?
I would say my capacity for Love. Because Love can make you strong and Love can make you weak.
5. What do you love about what you do?
I Love the mystery. The unexpected. The surprise. The discovery.
6. What is the one habit that you’ve implemented that has had the greatest impact on your success so far?
I never stop creating. I read voraciously and I am always writing even if just for exercise.
7. How do you deal with doubt?
Doubt is like the monster under the bed. You turn on the light and there is nothing there. Doubt is disbelief and I believe.
8. Is there a quality that you think artistically successful people have in common? What is it?
If you are creating, with no thought of making money, finding fame or receiving accolades, then you are an artist. You create because you have no choice.
9. Do you have any advice for artists? Perhaps advice that you wish you’d been given when you were first starting out?
Complete every project you start. See it through. The Muse will hesitate giving you your next inspiration if you leave work unfinished.
10. What is your happiest memory?
My happiest memories are the moments I was fortunate enough to make those I Love, laugh.
I have a new “happiest” memory every day. Today I received art from a architect from Albania. We worked through 6000 miles of distance, a language barrier using only emails to produce a piece of work that we are both in Love with. Tomorrow I am going to put a vocal down for a song written by a Latin rhythm and blues singer, which I have helped translate from Spanish to English. That will soon be my new “happiest” memory. I am making them every day. Sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. We should always be striving to make these happy memories through love, friendship and accomplishment.
11. What is your favourite book?
It could be about your craft, or maybe just an excellent story. If that is too difficult to answer, who are your favourite authors? So many inspiring authors! I was raised on Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Robbins. So I will go with them. If you haven’t devoured everything those two have written. Do. It. Now!
Watch Bob’s Music Video for his single “On a Delicate Moon”
*It was directed by Creative Life writer Greg Melanson
Facebook: Bob Rylett Music
Vimeo: Bob Rylett
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