Robert Smith’s love for creativity shines in Musicplayer

Robert Smith gave his band, or “project,” the name Musicplayer because that is what they do.  This is an electric guitar, bass and drum combo that serves as Smith’s creative outlet.

“Music is just my life, it’s what I do,” he said. He plays guitar, makes beats and his first instrument was the piano which he started playing when he was 10. He had one growing up and the first song he learned was Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” from the film “Titanic.”

“I went and saw it with my parents and came back home and was like ‘mom I really want to learn how to play this song,’” Smith said. “Ever since then I have been picking up music by ear.”

Musicplayer has been around since March 2010. Though Musicplayer is a fairly new project, Smith was previously in a band called Tokyo and has toured with known local band Mae.

“Mark Padgett, the bass player of Mae at the time, he has a studio in Chesapeake and Tokyo was recording with him and he said ‘I’m going to be quitting the band, and so is Rob who plays keys’… he kind of just passed the word along,” he said.

He has toured with Mae for four/five different tours as a replacement keyboardist and has gone to countries like Japan and Australia.  While touring in the U.S., he has traveled in a tour bus and has traveled in a 15 passenger van with 9 other men. Something that kept them all going was pulling pranks on each other.

“The guitar tech took one of these cards that had a naked man on it and taped it on the bass guitar,” he said. “Through about the second song I realize what’s going on. This was at a venue that was very small and intimate so all the kids are like up close, so they obviously see it at some point. [The bassist] finally noticed and he was like ‘This fucking sucks.’”

Throughout the month and a half long tour, Smith said they would put these cards of naked men on the bumpers of the other band’s vans touring with them or in between lap tops so the card would be in plain sight when someone would open them.

“You gotta keep it fun,” he said.

The plus side of touring was he got to experience how a successful band works, he said.  Smith said the hardest part of being in a band is when a band has a lack of resources.

“It comes to the point as a musician when you have to make the decision to either keep going down the musicians’ path or leave it and actually get a career,” he said. “I’m still going down the path and somehow I’m making it.”

It’s not about the money for Smith, it’s about the music. He delivers Chinese food on the weekends, sells various items on Craigslist.com and plays shows every other weekend at either houses or venues like 37th & Zen in Norfolk.  Musicplayer also played in a Battle of the Bands in Fredericksburg, Va. in October.

“We got first place actually, it was pretty cool,” Smith said nonchalantly.

Smith is continuing to work on Musicplayer and hopes to have an album out soon. He’s taking his time to make sure he puts out something worthwhile.

“It’s a slow process,” he said. “I feel kind of late in the game sometimes because I’m 26 years old and I’ve been playing music forever and I’m looking around me at all these young people being successful at what they want to do… I’d rather present something that I’m proud of rather than something that I rushed to make.”

To hear some of the Musicplayer’s music, check them out at musicplayermusic.com. Another way to keep up with the band or Smith in general is to check out Smith’s daily blog he started in January 2010, observantdreamer.blogspot.com; his way of practicing his writing and becoming more conscientious about how he spends his time.

“Doing what makes you come alive and doing what you’re meant to do and taking on that role with all of your mind…I think that’s the most important thing to do,” he said.

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