Artie Tobia - 10 Questions Music Interview
Artie Tobia has a career twenty plus years in the making. He is a storyteller with a voice that easily and comfortably navigates musical styles. Tobia blends elements of blues, rock, folk, and country to inventively create his own brand of roots rock, known as blue jeans rock. Amidst a tireless performance schedule that has averaged 200 nights a year for past 22 years across a variety of venues, Tobia has released five albums, the most recent one having been released in summer 2018.
Since he began writing his own songs, Tobia has connected to fans with original music that honors the artists who influenced him. His catalog of over 100 songs offers something for everyone. According to Roberty Barry Francos in The Quiet Corner’s Best of 2008 article which references Tobia’s second album Still In The Way, Tobia “would easily be sharing a stage with all those British and West Coast bands.”
“My writing took a turn on Chase The Sun.” says Tobia. “I really worked on my craft and continue to do so to this day. The semi auto-biographical tale of the Vagabond told over thirteen musical chapters took a lot to pull together. It also elevated my writing moving forward” he continued.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
That ‘s a great question. I am not sure it was any single experience or individual that was the catalyst to write songs. I was exposed to a lot of music when I was growing up from my parents and siblings. I know early on I was always attracted to a good story lyrically. I wrote my first song when I was around 10 or 11. It was called The Birds. I very clearly remember writing it as I crossed a dandelion covered field walking to a friend’s house. I didn’t begin to really try to write songs until I was about 16. I wrote a pretty good handful most of them were throwaways but all were critical in getting me the point I am now in my craft as a writer.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Well I think it would have to be when we did a show for a group of bikers who paid us in moonshine, gift cards and a smile.I have been very fortunate over my years as an independent artist.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Certainly releasing 5 albums to date has been a high point. I would also say that the variety of opening opportunities sharing the stage with the likes of Tanya Tucker and Dr. John among others has been pretty incredible.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I do a lot of writing on a small classical guitar I have around the house. I can start with either lyrics first or a chord progressions. Real events or people inspire some songs, some are fictionalized. The most important strategy I have learned is the editing of the lyric until it is refined. It allows the melody to breathe and the performance to embody the emotion of the story.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
The greatest challenge facing Indie Artists today is the ever-changing landscape of the business. It can be hard to see all the opportunity that is actually right in front of us as Indie Artists in this climate, but I think it is the most exciting time to be in the industry.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
SRV or the Allman Brothers
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
We set out to create a show that will truly engage and connect with our audience. By owning the show, not guessing where we are going next from song to song, we are able to focus on performance. We make an effort to engage the audience, with a well placed story to connect on a personal level, to sing along or clap at a strategic point of the song. By varying the tempo and mood we set out to create an experience that leaves them buzzing and wanting more for the next time.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
I never suffer from writers block or getting hung up on lyrics. My writing has always been organic in nature and I am fortunate in that it has resulted in a catalog of over 145 songs at this point. I do sometimes let songs “brew” until I feel they are complete but never see that as a challenge so much being patient.
What's coming up in the future?
We are working on a new live album dropping in early 2020. We are also headlining a 250 seat theater show in April debuting the new band members.
Tell us where fans can access your music?