This week our Swag Spotlight shines on Rob Mayes, a rising artist, songwriter, and successful actor. Throughout our conversation, we learned how truly talented, inspiring, and how passionate Mayes is about his craft.
Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, Mayes was born into a creative and musical family. According to the entertainer, everyone in his family played music in some form or another. Both his uncle and his father were in bands and everyone played instruments. Even though he took piano lessons as a youngster, Mayes joked that reading sheet music was not his thing. “What was more interesting to me than reading the sheet music was taking these chords and then stringing them together in my own way and writing my own stuff.” Clearly, songwriting was in his blood.
Drawing influences from all types of genres, Mayes credits his parents for his early interest in jazz music, naming incredible musicians like Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Natalie Cole as some of his favorites. He even expressed his love for world music. Of course, when he first heard country music on the radio at eight years old in the car with his dad, he instantly fell in love with the genre’s greats like Alan Jackson, George Strait, and Michael Peterson.
For Mayes music is all about the “color and [the] vibrance to it and life and happiness and hope,” adding that he always appreciated those factors about country music. Acknowledging that the music he makes leans more towards traditional country, Mayes eloquently speaks about the genre that he loves, sharing what he hopes his music brings to listeners. “Songs about having faith in something, whether it’s a God above or whether it’s faith in yourself or faith in your family or faith and hope that things are going to work out […]. There should be a moral fiber that you can connect with and at the end of that journey, [music] should always leave you a bit [more] elevated than where you entered that experience from.”
Mayes’ own music is definitely full of songs that make you feel. His newest EP Closer is an inspiring seven-song project that boasts a blend of contemporary and traditional sounds. The singer-songwriter lent a hand in writing each of the tracks off the record, and talked to us about one of our favorites, the closing tune, “We’ll See.” The song evolved from a proverb and plays with the idea of good and bad luck.
Although developed from a more religious perspective, Mayes shares that he is not a church-goer, revealing “For me, country music is my church and sometimes you sit down and write a song and the song just kinda writes itself,” sharing more about his personal writing process. “There’s words and phrases and melodies that just kind of come out of you and you don’t even know where they came from.”
On the contrary, Mayes’s new single “Wine + Whiskey” is the perfect throwback to “that old style of country music.” The singer shared “I wanted to write something that was fun and isn’t just personal to me […] When I play it at my live shows, people enjoy it cause it’s fun to kind of let loose and that’s what they’ll be getting when they’re listening to music.” He credits one of his idols, Dwight Yoakam as a big inspiration for this lighthearted tune.
As our conversation came to a close, we made sure to chat with Mayes about what fans can expect as we head into the new year, and he is quite busy! He currently has a holiday movie on Lifetime called ‘The Road Home For Christmas’ and another Lifetime original flick out this week entitled ‘He’s Out to Get You.”
On the music side of things, Mayes promises that he has a “whole bunch of singles that [he’s] just putting the final touches on,” that should be out sooner rather than later. Most recently, he released the heartfelt ode to his grandfather, as song perfectly named, “Grandpa’s Hands.”
Keep your eyes peeled for Mayes across all platforms, as we are sure that his talents are going to take him far.
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