Robbie La Blanc, best known as vocalist with Blanc Faces, Find Me and as a Solo artist, expands on his singing career and what the future holds with regard to new music and live gigs.
Who were your influences in the early days and have you always wanted to be a singer?
I first started to sing when my father brought in a Trini Lopez record into the house when I was three years old. His voice and guitar playing were fantastic. Not long after the Beatles came out and I was immediately captured by Paul McCartney. I loved how he could change his voice depending on which song it was. I’ve been singing pretty much my whole life. I feel it comes from God.
Have you ever auditioned for the vocal spot in any notable bands?
There was a chance many years ago with Survivor. Frankie Sullivan called me as Bobby Kimball from Toto gave him my number. But it never came to fruition. Jimi was such an incredible singer. I’m not sure I could’ve filled his shoes.
You have appeared on a great number of albums. Do you have a favourite and why?
My favourite material that I have ever sung on were our Blanc Faces albums. I really like the simplicity of the production, they were great songs. I also love the project called Cannonballz that I did some years back with Vince Dicola, Doug Wimbish and Alan Friedman. There are some great moments in the Find Me albums as well.
Do you still get the same buzz out of singing live as you did in the past?
I love to sing live. I wish I had more opportunities with the band. I do a lot of solo work where I live in Delaware to keep my voice going, lol. At my age you’ve got to sing every day and not get rusty!
Some vocalists are on strict dietary regimes or gargle with special liquids. How have you kept your voice in tip top shape all these years?
I appreciate your kind words. I’ve never abused my voice at all. I’ve never really done any lengthy tours as well, so in a way I’m a little preserved, lol. I don’t smoke, I drink occasionally, pretty much just wine. Dietary restrictions include no dairy at all, and no coffee. I learned that from Michael Bolton.
Are there any musicians that you have not worked with, but would like to in the future?
I would love for the opportunity just to sit for a little while with Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons from the Doobie Brothers and play some songs with them. They are my favourites. I’d love to play a few with Paul McCartney as well, lol. Not sure that’s ever going to happen 😊
Is there any unreleased recorded material from your days with Blanc Faces, or any other projects you’ve been involved with that could be released?
That’s funny you ask Stuart. I may have a chance to play in Belgium in December and do some Blanc Faces material. My friend Primo has a bunch of unreleased tracks that I sent him and I believe we are going to put out those two albums out again with the bonus material. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Your upcoming release with T3enors sounds interesting, can you tell us a bit more about it?
It was great to share an album with the great Toby Hitchcock and Kent Hilli! Frontiers approached me with this project and I thought it was a great idea. It’s always hard when there’s more than one singer but I think the three of us approached it pretty well. Again it was just an honour to be on the same record with those two guys. They’re amazing.
With the live circuit opening up again, is there a possibility that we could see you performing some live shows in the UK, solo or with one of your bands?
I would love to perform in the UK, there may be a shot in Belgium in December. I haven’t heard anything else yet though. I need to start working on that more🙏
I believe you are heavy involved in the wine business. I’m partial to red myself. How do you balance the work life between singing, touring and managing the vineyards?
Well Stuart, I don’t really manage the vineyards. But I do manage all of our distributors that sell our product. I’m pretty much relegated to the weekends with music or if I have enough energy left at the end of the workday to go into the studio at night during the week. It’s always a challenge to manage time but when you get older you find out that your time is very limited and you get unreasonable with yourself and just get things done. Losing my brother a year and a half ago was a real shock, I’ll never get over it. I do look at life a lot differently now though.
Have you ever thought about doing any production work?
Not really, I would like to record my originals soon though. I have a lot to record!!!!
Do you have anything in the pipeline at the moment that you would like to share?
Well Stuart, hopefully there’s always something in the pipeline. I’ve got a project I’m doing with Frontiers and possibly another Frontiers project with another Find Me album. That’s looking pretty promising. I hope to have another solo album on Escape records next year. But one day at a time right! I appreciate you wanting an interview with me, it means the world to me. 😊
Interview by Stuart Dryden