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Rob Moratti: Paragon of perfection

Canadian singer Rob Moratti needs no introduction unless you spent the last 20 years in a garage. Well, if you did, it’s a good time to leave it as the singer has just released his new album “Paragon”. I know these words are overused but “Paragon” is Rob’s best effort so far. We got in touch with the singer to talk about the new album, the new writing team and many other things.

Hello Rob! Congrats on the release of “Paragon”! Two albums in two years is an impressive result! It seems music is pouring out of you! Is it your way stay sane during these crazy days?

Thank you so much Konstantin! Absolutely, it’s been quite ride and these crazy days made it possible for me to get a little more creative time in and keeping me sort of sane

You worked on “Paragon” with some co-writers including Ulrick Lönnqvist, Pete Alpenborg, Felix Borg, and Ken Sandin. It was Ulrick who reached you and offered to work on some songs together. So what was the first song you did with him?

Yes, Ulrick had reached out to me shortly after I released “Renaissance” last year and it’s been truly amazing experience working with them. That’s an interesting question because the first song we wrote is called “When You Really Love Someone” and it’s not on the record. We had written so many and it was just a matter of balancing songs for making “Paragon”.

What made you to work with new people? You and Torben have been such a great team. Did you feel you needed to add something new to your music? Or were you just in need of songs to complete the album in time?

Honestly, it just happened that way. Ulrick and I tried writing a couple of songs just to see if there was any chemistry between us and then from two songs to four songs etc… and here we are!!! The album truly speaks for itself. I’ve made a monster record filled with monster co-writers and monster players.  Torben is a very big part of the team. He plays on all the songs and he knows what I like. He’s amazing on guitars and he’s great when we mix the records together. There’s an understanding and professionalism that makes it work for us and we always manage to get the best out of each other.

Stu Reid has been your drummer since 1996. Could you tell me more about him? How did you meet him and what is the best part of working with him?

Yes, Stu and I have friends since the early 90’s. He’s a solid player and perfect for what I produce. We’ve worked together for so long that he understands what I like and I know what to expect. He auditioned for my old band back then called Moratti and loved him ever since.

How did you get Joel Hoekstra on board?

Joel and I started chatting and he’s level headed and such a great guy all around which makes it easy to work with so then I asked him if he’d be interested in playing.  Five songs later, here we are. It’s my first time working with Joel Hoekstra and I was blown away with what he added to the record.

What was Joel’s input to your music? Was he able to change arrangements etc. or did you ask him just add some missing pieces here and there?

No, the songs were all complete and arrangements were all done and so I was expecting him to play just the lead parts but he brought a whole new dimension harmonically and his performances like I’ve never heard before. Filling the songs completely from In the intro’s, throughout the tracks, solo part and outro.  I didn’t think the songs needed much until you hear what Joel delivers.  He’s a freak of nature.

What is your approach to recording of the vocals? Do you like to be spontaneous and record everything in 1 or 2 takes or do you need 5-10 takes to pick up the best?

I’m a perfectionist when it comes to recording vocals. It’s about taking the best of your performances always.  So one or two takes will never satisfy me alone as a producer, never mind the fans! (Laughs)  I mean, I’ve recorded things a bunch of times and gone back to hear the first two takes and they there was something special in it that made it work and I’ll use it but I love to be sure with what I’m delivering. People expect the best performances, it’s what the fans want to hear. This is genre has to be done right.

“Alone Anymore” is a tricky title. Could you explain it please?

“Alone Anymore” is about being stuck in a vicious circle of what he thinks Love is.  He knows it’s not going to work but he’s constantly waiting at her beck and call.  He easily gets pulled in and to eventually get pushed out again…. sounds familiar, eh?  I’m sure many can relate to this.

Title “Bullet Proof Alibi” also sounds intriguing! Is it a story of a romantic heartbreak?

“Bullet Proof Alibi” is absolutely about a romantic heartbreak.  She’s constantly hurting him over and over and he’s tired of it all, wants to be set free but she she’s always backing it up with a solid alibi.  She’s such a good a liar that she convinces herself that it’s true and sticks to her story. That poor guy never had a chance!

Do you listen to your albums after they are done?

Yes I do but not always… I’ll go through my periods with it. Sometimes I listen to them back to back just to see how they all feel. Then I take breaks on it all and go back again and when I do, most of the time I’m listening to it in my car enjoying it on the road on my own time.

Before you signed with AOR Heaven you worked with Escape Music. Wasn’t Khalil Turk interested in releasing “Renaissance” or was it your decision to work with different label?

There’s no bad blood with Escape Records. Khalil and I had a wonderful run. I’m proud of all my releases but based on the circumstances it was my decision to leave the Label.

There are songs which pop up first in heads of listeners when they think of a certain artist; “The Touch” of Stan Bush is a good example. What song is your blessing and curse so to say?

Based on the latest release “Paragon” and I would have say “I’m Falling”. Hopefully a blessing! It’s truly a hard call because I love everything.

You’ve never been that active as a touring artist. Don’t like to leave your family that much?

When I joined Saga we were constantly touring and it was great because it was all world class. From the tour buses to the hotels, food and most importantly there were major concerts arena’s we filled. I miss it very much.  I think about it all the time and may consider some festivals in the future.  Now with the kids at home and I don’t want to be gone for long periods of time. I’m enjoying being a Dad and my boys love all my music. It’s great!

I guess the new album is already in the making, so could you reveal any details? Will you keep working with the same team or writers and performers?

Absolutely! I get excited when I’m writing.  Yes, all my co writers are all with me again. All I can say is based on what we’ve already written for the next record will be a continuation of what we’ve started and in many many ways it will be even better.  Seriously.

Now let’s make a quick run through your career. I understand that Journey is one of your all-time faves. So did you record “Tribute to Journey” just for fun or was there special purpose for that release?

It was my tribute to Journey… I really did do it just for fun. I wasn’t expecting much from it but to my surpise we had sold out on all the copies. Crazy!

“Tribute to Journey” was recorded with a help from your longtime friend Graham Fillier. How is he doing? Why did he disappear when Moratti split up?

Yes,  Graham  did help a lot at the time. He’s doing well. We keep in touch all the time and he’s always in good spirits. He still plays his guitar and does a lot of live local gigs here but that’s about it. He’s enjoying his life with his family.

Have you been asked to join some established bands (beside Saga of course)? Why do you prefer to work as a solo artist? What are the cons and pros of being a solo artist?

To be honest, I was asked. Very discretely and I respect that so because of that I can’t tell you! (Laughs) Hey, I understand their position.  I love working as a solo artist because I’ve been doing this now for a few years and people know what they’re going to get from me. I work with the best of the best from co-writers to players and I trust my Production. There are no cons. It’s a lot of work on my end and I truly love it. It shows when you hear it.

Why did you have to leave Saga? How did you take this news?

Michael came out of retirement and I was OK with that. I’m still grateful for it all.  Ian and I have written a lot of great songs.

The early days of every artist are filled with dramatic events which now raise a smile. Could you share some of such stories about your first steps in music business?

All I remember is my first show ever was downtown Toronto at Larry’s Hideaway and it had hotel rooms upstairs for us.  I was seventeen. I went to bathroom for the first time and it was loaded with cockroaches trying to attack my feet. (Laughs)

What lessons have you learned about show business?

Over the years the best thing I’ve learned as an artist is to be true to yourself. Do what makes you happy because time moves faster than you will ever realize. You want to look back one day and be happy with it all.

How did you get into kickboxing? Did you participate to any contests, tournaments? Do you have a category in kickboxing?

I was always very active at the gym and I needed something more outside the weight training. So decided to try kickboxing one day and I was hooked right away. I’ve never participated in tournaments because it takes a lot of prep time. This would take up my music time so I didn’t take to that level.  Though, I did teach classes for a couples of years! (Laughs) I was busy!!

Don’t you want to shot a movie about kickboxing (something in the vein of Van Damme) and write a soundtrack to it?

(Laughs) Yeah, maybe 20 years ago.  I mean don’t get me wrong. I always keep my options open to everything.

I think your music have a great potential for movies. Have you ever been approached by someone from the film industry on that matter?

Thank you, yes it does have an energy about it and it should for the kind of music “genre” it is. . But honestly, not in recent years.

If there is anything you want to add to round up the interview — the space below is all yours!

Thank you everyone for all the wonderful years of continued support! This is why I’m still here doing what I do. I promise you that “Paragon” will rock you!

Thanks to Birgitt Schwanke of Germusica PR ( for making this interview possible.

Visit Rob Moratti official sources:

Konstantin Chilikin

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