Being from a rather small suburban town in central California, I never thought I would stumble across an artist that would leave me with a profound sense of admiration. Much to my surprise I had the pleasure of hearing Ballad: The Memory at a local benefit concert. So much so, that I could hardly believe my ears at first, because something like this is so rare.
Ballad is a solo act by a man, Omar Rubio, who has a comforting, raspy voice that is reminiscent of an early Ray Lamontagne mixed with Sam Beam of Iron and Wine. He keeps you listening until you have finally deciphered JUST how much you like him. Needless to say, any true fan of acoustic or folk music will have nothing but good things to say about this up and comer.
I spoke with Omar after the show and insisted on an interview, the fruits of which can be seen below.
MEB: What inspired you to start making music?
OR: I started using music as a muse to get a lot off my chest in a more positive way, and to maybe have others that feel the same about what im saying appreciate it fully.
MEB: Was there ever a moment or event that provided you with some profound inspiration for your music?
OR: I’d say a break up or two, or if not, just nature and traveling. Being poetic.
MEB: As a fledgling musician, what can you tell me about your recording process?
OR: I built my studio and have been working on it for 2 years now and I try to not overproduce my tunes. I like the recordings to have as much of a natural feel more than anything, so that you can hear it live and have not much of a difference then on record, but no one really knows whats gonna happen live, so some stuff does change but not too dirastically.
MEB: Thus far in your early career, what do you consider your greatest achievement?
OR: Beeing able to book shows out of town and arriving to people that actually go to listen.
MEB: In 10 years, where do you see yourself as an artist? What achievements would you like to have made?
OR: I’d like to be living in the UK, just to get the whole traveling aspect of my life on way and to be somewhere new.
MEB: If you could instantly master an instrument, what would it be?
OR: I’d love to master traditional classical guitar, with some singing on top of it.
MEB: Have you ever had any doubts about making music?
OR: It happens to all of us. When that occurs, I take it as a sign to slow down and take a rest for a bit, let that spark hit you again.
MEB: Being a fledgling musician, what advice would you give to others that are in your shoes as well?
OR: To keep at it with the footwork!
MEB: If you could meet any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
OR: I would love to have a sit with Elliott Smith and maybe get some gypsy tea sometime in Winter.
MEB: Who is one artist that you would recommend for our readers to listen to?
OR: Justin Vernon <3
MEB: What would be your direction, if you were not a musician?
OR: I would probably go into nature studies, and an author.
MEB: Folk is more of a niche genre of music, what made you decide to create folk music, rather than hardcore or any other genre with a greater following?
OR: I’ve done the hardcore and the heavier rock, folk just was more forgiving. The term “Folk” to me is alot more of a open variety of a style, more foreign then anything, I wouldn’t say its a genre anymore I think it has evolved into a sound of one’s self.
MEB: What is the greatest thing a fan has ever done for you?
OR: Help me to promote my music is always the best thing anyone can do for me.