Catch up with New York native and pop-rock singer-songwriter Rick Rocker and listen to his latest single, "How Long", out now.
What first got you interested in music?
Rick Rocker: I would say it was my sister. She was a singer from a young age and she was always singing and I sung with her a little bit, like Aladdin and "Whole New World" or whatever, stuff like that for fun. So music was always around. I really started getting into music when she actually started trying to play guitar and I was around 15 years old - I was in high school - and she never committed to it and I saw it in her room and went to grab it, picked it up, and I pretty much just got addicted to it [laughs]. She taught me one thing on it, I didn't know what it was at the time, but I found out later that it was Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" intro bit, so the whole thing was strings; it wasn't even chords or anything, but I pretty much practiced that to death. At first, it took me a while to just pick every single string and then I got the picking down and I just practiced the heck out of it but then my uncle started teaching me some chords, as well, a few chords here and there. My sister's boyfriend also played guitar and he taught me some stuff, but I'm mostly self-taught. There were little things they would help me with, but I didn't have any formal teaching up until more recently, like the last year or two. Mostly self-taught, but my sister was definitely the spark of the musical interest in my family.
Do you remember the first song you wrote?
It never got put into production or anything, but the first song I had was called "I Won't Say Anything At All" or something like that. It was like a precursor to my first single on my first album, Spend The Night, which is the song "Spend The Night"; it was a slower, more mellow version of that, 'cause it even had a very similar lyric opening it up. I said something like 'driving the streets at night and I don't know where I'm going,' very similar to my single on my first album which is, 'roaming around the streets at night / I don't know what I'm looking for'. It was a very, very early precursor to what would be "Spend The Night" later, I think subliminally.
Which musicians have you been influenced by, other than Metallica?
Yeah, that's not a main influence, but Metallica was there in high school, predominantly. My high school years, a lot of kids liked Metallica and it was the cool thing and everything else sucked and metal was kick-ass and you were a sissy if you liked anything else [laughs]. At least, that was the unspoken word. But, I was the rebel - or at least I felt like that - for liking pop rock. I was like, okay, you guys can take your metal or whatever. I was also very good at poetry in high school and a few times got noticed for my poetry and had the poetry read aloud by the teacher or something, which was cool. I also played in my high school jazz band, but I'm getting way off topic. My main influences, besides Metallica, would be Bon Jovi, Zeppelin, Green Day, U2 - U2 is a big one - The Stones. More recently, for the newer stuff, I've been listening to more modern stuff, just trying to get a little more awareness to how the pop sound is becoming, so Imagine Dragons, Fall Out Boy, I really like some of the stuff The Struts are doing as well, they've really got a modern Queen thing going on. There's more, like I used to listen to Paramore a lot, too, and Guns N' Roses was also a big one growing up, but that's a good bulk of them.
How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard your music before?
I'd say it's fun, meaningful, and catchy.
What were your inspirations behind your single "How Long" and can you tell us more about your upcoming music video?
It was done over a period of a few months so it's a collection of emotions. The core lyrics are definitely just about a relationship and it's like somebody that you wanted to go out with and it didn't work, so it's frustration, but not entirely anger. You want it to happen and that's where the 'how long' comes into play, I guess.
The video is going to have some space-type references. We've got a space suit and it's going to be kind of cutesy, but in a good way. It's a fun song, a happy song. I don't want to give too much away [laughs], but it's going to have some cool space props in there and the locations are going to reflect some more space/out of this world imagery. It's going to be a love story, as well; guy trying to get girl or girl trying to get guy, something revolving around that. We're still working out the very specifics of it and we're going to shoot it very soon.
How does the music you're working on now compare to Spend The Night and do you have plans to release a new album?
The first album is more raw, it's not as pop-y. There's a little more pop element sheen to this one, it's a little more electronic-ish, but not entirely, just a little bit. But the production element is definitely different, it's more polished and it's more full, I think. There's just more to it. In a nutshell, I'd just say it's more pop.
For the EP, I'm going to take it a song at a time, right now, and I might just hold - depending on how things develop with the single - I might just make the songs now, the newer stuff, 'cause I have a bunch of songs that are ready to go and record and it's just a matter of saving up the money [laughs] and making sure I can come out with everything; put my type of promotion behind it so that the songs can get into the hands and ears of the right people and reach as many people as possible, as well.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
Just to feel good. Just to bring them up, help them get through the day. Most of my music is just feel-good music that's supposed to pump you up or make you feel better. I am working on one song in particular that's got a good feeling behind it, it's all meant to give you a lift or hope or something good.
Is there anything you want to add?
Find me on YouTube and check out the other stuff.