Interview with Singer-Songwriter & Actor, Rob Mayes
New Country artist and successful actor, Rob Mayes, just recently released his debut single titled "Closer" to Country radio. Co-written by Mayes along with Kevin Leach and Ryan Rossebo, the track features Smith Curry on pedal steel and was mastered by Grammy-nominated producer Andrew Mendelson. Mayes also happens to be a successful actor best known for his role on the ABC hit-show "Mistresses." Learn more about Rob Mayes in our interview below!
Tell us a little about your debut single, "Closer."
"Closer" was the first song I wrote when I got to Nashville with my producer Kevin Leach and Ryan Rossebo. It's a glimpse at having a crush on someone and wanting more. It's innocent and fun, poppy, and upbeat, and I hope it makes you want to sing along!
Are you mainly inspired by what happens around you for your songs?
Totally. Honesty is everything in music and especially in Country. I was going through a bad breakup last year and when I first at down to write with Wood Newton, he asked what was going on in my life. And I told him that I just broke up with a girl for the final last time...and that became the first line of the song we wrote that day. Country music is such an extension of storytelling, it IS storytelling, I think at its best. If we can be open to what's happening around us and in our lives, there's so much there to write about. It might not always be the easiest thing to cull through, our thoughts and emotions, but sometimes the best way to sort through them is to write a song about it.
Did you come from an acting or musical family? What is it that first drew you to music?
My Dad plays drums, my uncles play accordion and sax, my grandfather played a Les Paul and a banjo. So music is ingrained in me. I think it's the language I've always understood the best. I was 5 years old when my folks bought a piano for me so that I could learn to play. From reading music off the sheet music, I learned to string together chords and explore different chord voicing, and then I'd bring my latest song to grade school where my teacher, Mrs. Clark would have me play the song at the beginning of class. I owe so much to her. Supporting that creativity is key. So, thank you, Mrs. Clark for cultivating my musical voice and for allowing it.
What was it like working with Grammy-nominated producer Andrew Mendelson?
Man...You turn on the radio and it seems nearly every country song you hear is mastered by Andrew Mendelson. I reached out to him, and he was gracious enough to take on my project and what he does to the songs just elevates them to something beyond. It's magic.
You've worked with big name artists and actors fairly early on in your career—talk about what their influence and guidance have meant to you/done for you.
I've been really fortunate. I think luck is a product of our mindset - wanting it, believing we can do it (the biggest factor of all, really) and our work ethic - to be ready if/when the opportunity arises, and being in the right place at the right time. I've learned so much from whom I've gotten to work with. Finding a mentor, if we are lucky enough to find one, is so invaluable. For me to be able to call some of my mentors friends, is a pretty cool thing. It reminds you that it's important to give back, to help the next ones come up.
You stay so busy with your acting and music career, how do you manage it all?
Ha! I am getting less sleep than ever, I think. But I'll tell you, the busier I am, the happier I am. Not just being busy for the sake of not sitting still, but to be creating, and contributing to something. Both of those things give us purpose. So the more creating and contributing I can do, the more purpose I feel, the more fulfilled I am. So, bring it!
Where do you like to hang out in Nashville?
Everywhere. I love this city. It's so vibrant and full of hopeful people, and that's contagious in the best way.
Say you had a completely free day in Nashville—no work allowed. What would you be doing?
Drink beer, play music, see music, and laugh. Oh and some Hattie B's. But the truth is, none of it ever feels like work.
What Nashville restaurants are you loving?
Hattie B's! Edley's, 5th & Taylor, Bar Taco. There's so much good food.
What hobbies do you enjoy when you need to unwind on the road?
I love the show "Barry." I just finished the first season of "The Widow" on Amazon. Oh, and wine. I love good wine. Me and my brothers and sister-in-law also do a lot of karaoke.
You have an impressive fan following online. What is it that keeps your fans engaged the most?
I'm not quite sure. I just like sharing a glimpse at my day, what I'm up to, what I'm doing. To hopefully inspire folks, but if nothing more, to entertain. Why not!
Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why?
That's a good question...I always drink Four Roses in the studio. So, Four Roses. Final answer.
Although this is Mayes’ introduction to Country music, he is no stranger to the world of entertainment. As an actor, Mayes is most recognizable from the ABC fan-favorite series “Mistresses” and from the cult-classic Don Coscarelli-helmed film, “John Dies at the End” with Paul Giamatti which premiered at Sundance Film Festival. Other credits include Lifetime’s “The Client List” with Jennifer Love Hewitt and CW’s “Frequency” and “90210.” Other film credits include “Deep Blue Sea 2,” “Ice Castles,” “Burning Blue,” “The American Mall” opposite Nina Dobrev, “Melvin Smarty,” “Dangerous Matrimony,” “My Christmas Inn” opposite Tia Mowry, “Love for Christmas,” “A Soldier's Heart” where he stars alongside Val Kilmer, AnnaLynne McCord and Jake Busey, “Maybe I’m Fine,” “Into Thin Air” with Samaire Armstrong and FOX’s “Proven Innocent.”
Mayes is excited to launch the next step in his career with his Country music debut. From Cleveland, he’s no stranger to the genre. As a young boy riding in the car with his father, Mayes was introduced to the songs of Alan Jackson, George Strait, and Michael Peterson where he was immediately drawn to the stories, melodies, and harmonies. Playing piano from the age of five and guitar since the age of thirteen, Mayes has written countless songs; instrumental, pop, singer-songwriter, jazz, but it is Country music that he is most proud of and that gives him the most joy.