Eric Roberson: ‘Being busy keeps me faithful’

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SOUL MAN: Eric Roberson

US SOUL singer Eric Roberson is celebrating 20 years in the music industry with therelease of his new album, B-Sides, Features and Heartaches. True to its title, Roberson’s ninth album is a collection of collaborative songs where he has shared tracks with fellow talents such as Angela Johnson, Bilal and Raheem DeVaughn.

The Grammy-nominated singer has built a successful career over the last two decades as an independent artist through hard work and perseverance; he is already diligently recording his tenth album (tentatively named Musical Monologues), which he says should be out at the end of the summer.

“B-Sides, Features and Heartaches is a combination of new songs and features that I did on other people’s albums over the years,” Roberson explains. “It is celebrating my 20th year in the industry and the collaborative spirit that I and my peers have had over the last 12-13 years as independent artists.”

He continued: “We put songs on the album that people can be really excited about and at the same time I’m recording a studio album that will come out sometime between July and October.”

Roberson – whose body of work mainly consists of songs about love and relationships, hence the ‘heartbreak’ aspect of his new album – is undoubtedly a busy person and an advocate of hard work. Not only because he loves his job and supporting his family, but also because being occupied keeps him out of trouble and away from temptation, says the songwriter.

In fact, when asked if it was harder to remain faithful whilst being in the public eye, the married star said the easiest way to avoid infidelity was by remaining productive.

“The best solution to cheating is if you stay busy,” he said. “For me, it’s [cheating] not even an option. I’m putting out two albums this year, I have two amazing boys and an amazing wife. It’s hard enough to keep it all in play, there’s not even any time to consider infidelity.”

In recent months, several male celebrities have come under fire for conceiving children with women who are not their partners or wives. Roberson himself has written many songs about the temptation of cheating, including Shake Her Hand, from his last album Mister Nice Guy. For the singer, fidelity is a case of respect for all involved.

“My grandfather was the one who inspired Shake Her Hand. He was a pastor and a lot of the song is about respecting how God made men and women. If you respect that, it helps.

“[But] I’m still a man and even though I’m married and I love my wife and I love my children and I would never want to jeopardize what I have, I understand I’m a man and I recognise beauty. But at some point, the respect aspect is what keeps you on your toes, to avoid whatever situation that could lead to your downfall.”

Reflecting on his popularity, Roberson admitted that there are celebrities who are far more famous than he is, who earn more money and have far more options available in general. But while the singer admits he would like his financial prospects to improve, he wouldn’t want to increase his level of fame.

“I’m a father now and I love being able to go places with my kids. When I go to work, I go to work like everyone else. I’ve been in this business for a long time and though I know a lot of people who are far more successful than I am, a lot of them are far less happy. I wouldn’t trade stuff. I’d like to build things so it becomes a little easier and be able to fly my whole family on tour wherever I go. But until then, there’s always Skype.”

It’s a means of communication the singer will have to once again rely on as he tours the world to introduce fans to his latest album. And while Roberson is immensely proud of the offering, he says the real judges are his fans.

“I’m a person who practices the term ‘process over product’ and the only people who know what works are God and the crowd. Usually my new work does better than the last and it would be great if [this album] does better than the last, but we’ll have to wait and see. I wouldn’t be surprised or disappointed if it sold 1,000 or 100,000 units. To me the effort is in making the best record either way and letting people decide what it can do and what it will do.”

B-Sides, Features and Heartaches is out now on Dome Records

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