Grammy Award Winning Singer & Songwriter / Producer
After years of producing and penning hit records for super stars Usher, Janet Jackson, Chaka Khan, and even playing at the White House, Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Bobby Ross Avila is preparing for the release of a new solo album, When The Music Plays.
The talented musician, who names Prince, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, and Roger Troutman among his biggest influences, is on a mission to bring his interpretation of soul to the forefront of music. “I want to represent just genuine music again that has emotion and substance and is something that can be played at parties or be played alone in deep thought,” he says.
Bobby cites Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” as an example and has his own poignant offerings as well. His song “Try,” for instance, resonates with a powerful message of hope and love with the touching chorus, “Can we try to love better?”
Accomplished at playing piano, bass, guitar, harmonica, and talk box, Bobby shows his chops on When The Music Plays that also features work from his brother, IZ, the other half of their in-demand Avila Brothers production team. The keys are the driving force on numerous tracks on the album: the Stevie Wonderinspired “Something Came Over Love,” the heartfelt “The Avenue,” “Expressions,” and “Senorita.” Bobby turns up the funk on “Wanna Be A Devil Tonight” and features Raphael Saadiq, Sheila E. and Poncho Sanchez on “Party” that is reminiscent of something from soul, funk, rock band War.
For Bobby, his purpose of “When The Music Plays” transcends simply scoring a hit song. His intention is to make records that touch every nerve and have true meaning. “Having those kinds of records, they’re much bigger than singles,” he says. “It’s a part of the story. That’s the kind of place where I want to come from.”
Bobby, says this record is giving him a creative freedom than he’s never had in other label ventures. “I’m getting to make the record I wanted to make,” he says. “Everything from the art design, what the logo’s going to look like, I have the ability to be objective and do what I wanted to do. It’s also great having your peers appreciate what you’re doing and excited for you.”
Bobby’s work as a producer creating songs for so many artists has helped him fine-tune his own music. To date, his works have amassed more than 38 million record sales. “When I worked with other artists, I gave them what their brand was asking for,” he explains. “When it comes to making my records, I know how to be objective. It allowed me to envision what I want to say on my songs and how I’m going to say it.” Bobby’s compassionate disposition is inspired by his formative years as a child prodigy who began recording by the age of 10 and released his debut album, Music Man, on RCA Records when he was 13.
Finding success at such an early age did not come without the pressures of a strict, overbearing father, who is also a musician whom is entirely responsible for Bobby’s journey in the world of music. “There’s no road map on perfect parenting and my fathers unfortunate experiences in life caused him to push me in the right direction but in the wrong way at times and I generate the love for what I do from the experiences I had growing up. What I dealt with at the house with my father growing up in music,” he recalls.
Fortunately, music was Bobby’s therapy, and by the age of 14, he caught the attention of super producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis who signed him to their Perspective Record label. Though Bobby released an album on Perspective, My Destiny, the teaming with Jam and Lewis allowed him an opportunity to develop his production talents by working with other artists.
“Being with them in their environment that’s where I learned the most,” Bobby says. “It’s not necessarily them teaching me directly. It was being taught indirectly and just knowing the lay of the land and environment and rising to the occasion.”
Bobby’s skills have afforded him a 14-plus year working relationship with Usher, beginning with the R&B singer’s No. 1 Confessions album, in which Bobby contributed to seven songs. He’s worked with Janet since the pop icon’s Damita Jo album, and he has also worked with Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Anthony Hamilton, El DeBarge, and Beyoncé.
In addition to production work, Bobby has accomplished impressive feats in technology. The artist, who began beta testing for Yamaha when he was 13, teamed with Izzy and Best Buy to develop the Young Creator’s program that awarded youth with instruments and provided a platform to expose their work. Bobby also consults Monster Cable, DTS, Akai, Novation, Zoom, and numerous Tech companies on various products. He and brother IZ will be the face of an entirely new product line that is soon to be released.
All of Bobby’s experiences as a solo artist, songwriter for other artists, and projects with tech companies have prepared him for the launch of When The Music Plays. “Timing is everything,” Bobby says. “I know where I slipped through the cracks before. But, now, I’m more experienced. I know who I’m competing with. I know I’ve got my 3-point shot or my free-throw down. I’m in the gym mentally and physically everyday and “My Purpose in life is to be the Somebody that does for Someone else through my god given gift of music.”