Rollie is a prolific singer/songwriter whose unique sound has earned him a loyal following. His songs range from being as chill as a beer in the sand to as upbeat as a beach party to as deep as the ocean itself as he makes observations about the hardships and lessons of life. Rollie is a popular fixture in Atlanta and has played some of the country’s most celebrated venues. He recently release an EP titled ‘Breezy’. Enjoy our interview with Rollie below!
Entertwine: What is your music background like? Were you always drawn to the concept of singing and playing guitar?
Rollie: I have always been a singer for as long as I can remember. My mother was my first musical influence. Her voice is beautiful. She also plays the flute. I’m awestruck every time she performs. My father was my first lyrical influence. He would always write poems or improvise song lyrics to familiar melodies in a joking way. Always clever stuff. Anyway, I played saxophone in middle school and really enjoyed it. Though, after a while I became bored by the lack of challenge and asked to try out percussion. Was denied the opportunity too many times and lost interest in the band. It wasn’t until high school that I began playing guitar. I went on a beach trip the summer before my sophomore year with some cousins. Pretty much all of them could play guitar. We’d sit around a buddy burner on the back porch at night passing it around and singing old classics. I wanted so badly to be included in the guitar rotation but was unable to play. As soon as I returned from that vacation, I picked up my dusty old beginners guitar that my parents had bought for me for Christmas years earlier, and I taught myself how to play. Have been writing and playing ever since.
ET: Who are some of your influences when writing and/or playing and why? Do you feel that these influences are channeled through your music?
R: Life itself and my attempt to understand it is the biggest influence on my music. I feel that can definitely be heard in my lyrics and in the emotions behind them. Artists who have inspired or influenced me include any band whose music I listened to growing up. I get influences to this day from new artists I find and become fond of. From what I hear in my music now, I feel as though Sublime, G. Love & Special Sauce, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews, Rehab, Shwayze and Cisco Adler, and several others’ influence make up my style.
ET: What 3 words would you use to describe your sound?
R: Soulful, Catchy, Carefree. That’s the kind of music I like listening to, so that’s the kind of music I try to make. I try to keep things bubbly. Happy music makes life easier for me, so I try to always look on the bright side of the situation when writing lyrics. Songwriting is my way to leave my story. It has captured my emotions through the years, as well as my growth; both vocally and lyrically. I understand this more than I have in the past. I appreciate it more now than I used to, I guess. Music is life and it is my heart, so it’s always nice to hear when your work has made an impact on someone in a positive way.
ET: Tell us a bit about your latest EP, “Breezy.” Which song would you say really encapsulates your sound the most and why?
Rollie: “Breezy” is a story of my life from 2012-2013. It really helped me deal with trials I was facing during that period of my life. Through the hardships I had my music to vent my frustrations. I also began looking at songwriting in an entirely new way. I kind of began coaching myself through my lyrics. When I’m presented with a problem in life, I think about how to rationally go about solving it in a positive or optimistic way. That eliminates loads of stress. When a “problem” is out of your control, such as a death in the family or a serious illness or injury, sometimes it becomes harder to control your emotions and think with a clear, rational mind. Instead of writing lyrics with this unfocused mindset, I would write the music, then dwell on how to approach these life difficulties in order to better myself as a human being. Then I would write the lyrics. The positive, optimistic approach allowed me to “keep the faith” when facing these exhausting obstacles which, in the end, helped me through these situations. So far, I’ve received great feedback from others finding comfort in my songs in the same way I have, so that makes the album successful in my eyes. All of the songs tell my story; however, my plan is to one day retire to a South Carolina beach and own a fishing boat, so until I have accomplished that “The Beach” will stick with me. I also think the sound from that track will be more prominent in my newer work. I can never predict what kind of style I’ll be writing. When it happens, it happens.
ET: What are your plans for 2014? Tours? Releases? Etc?
Rollie: Keep checking with my website at rolliemusic.com for tour info as well as exciting news and new releases. Right now I’m looking at a fall college tour, so until dates are announced I’ll have a lot of content coming out. If you happen to live in the Atlanta area, I’ll be playing mid-town at Smith’s Olde Bar on May 1st @8pm. Thanks so much for having me. Big Love and live it large!