First of all, our magazine is beyond honoured to have a chat with you Mr Roger Street Friedman. Could you kindly introduce yourself to the Italian audience?
It's so nice to talk with you and your readers! I'm a New York-based singer/songwriter and recording artist. I've been writing songs since about the age of 12. I pursued music in high school and college and then dropped out of music school to join a rock band in New York City, when that band fizzled, I moved out west to the beautiful town of Telluride, Colorado in the Rocky Mountains, where I worked at the ski resort and skied while practising classical guitar to audition for some of the higher level music schools in the states. I had the best intentions, but as so often happens my life took a left turn and I wound up pursuing a career outside of music for many years. In 2004 my dad passed away after a long illness, I got married in 2005, and in 2006, just 2-weeks before our daughter was born, my mother passed away suddenly. Then my daughter was born and the emotional rollercoaster of loss and new birth cracked something open in me. I started writing songs again and performing at local bars and open mics… in 2014 I released my first album "The Waiting Sky", and the rest as they say is history!
You are an acclaimed songwriter and just to mention one of the milestones of your career, your fourth studio album is produced by Grammy-winning producer, guitarist, and songwriter Larry Campbell. How does it feel and what is the album about?
Working with Larry has been a real highlight of my career. He is such an incredibly gifted producer and musician and works just about as hard as anyone I've ever met in any field! And he just cares so much about the projects he works on that it's impossible for the results not to be fantastic!
The album encompasses several different subjects that are relevant to me as a human being living in this day and age. "Love Hope Trust" is an aspirational song about trying to come together as people and find the commonalities that bind us together rather than the divisions that tear us apart, while a number of the songs are more deeply personal about love, life and loss, or my kids, or gratitude for something as simple as driving down a country road "In The Summertime".
I recently write a Quote from Tyler Perry who stated that he had a vision for his music career which constantly make him guess ‘how will it be the next ten years from now?’. How does it work for you? In simple words, which is your creative approach?
I love Tyler Perry's wisdom! I haven't projected out that far! I generally try to follow ideas where they lead. It's kind of haphazard to tell you the truth. It happens when I pick up a guitar or sit at the piano and just allow things to flow. I know that sounds kind of esoteric, but it's just the way it works for me. I used to struggle a lot to try and write something, or more specifically to finish a song(starting them is easier than finishing them), but these days I just try to allow the song to finish itself and that makes it a lot less of a struggle. When something doesn't come to me right away, I don't worry about it because I have faith that if it's meant to come to me it will come eventually. This approach has taken the stress out of songwriting for me!
If you have to pick one, which is the song of your latest album you are most attached to?
That's like asking me to choose which of my kids I love more! Each one is special to me in some way… for example, I think "The Ghosts of Sugarland" is special for its detailed storytelling in the old folk tradition, while Love Hope Trust has a cool vibe and message, and "Mother And Son" is a beautiful and loving tune… and so on. I couldn't pick one that I'm most attached to.
You describe universal feelings and sing about everyday life. So, we are guessing, how is your typical day?
Well – it's pretty typical. I have two great kids and a wonderful wife, after the kids go off to school my wife usually goes to the gym and I like to ride my road bike or a mountain bike. Then we go to work. I go into the studio to write or promote the music (more of that since releasing the album), then after the kids come home and do their homework or I usually cook dinner, we might watch a tv show together or go our separate ways until bedtime etc.
Which are the funniest things about going on tour?
Not remembering what town you're in! Listening to Dave Chapelle while driving, and the sounds we make while warming up our voices before the show! Also, there comes a point when you're so tired from travelling and playing day in and day out that just trying to put two sentences together seems funny!
If you could duet with one late artist, whom would it be and why?
I'd like to write a song with John Prine. I think he's one of the greatest ever and I'd love to be in the room with him and see his process in action!
Last but not less important, your favourite fashion brands? How would you describe your style?
I don't know… maybe ‘Johnny Cash’ chic style! I wear a lot of black. I love a Hugo Boss jacket and black jeans. I also wear some Etro and Theory button-downs and my favourite black Tecova cowboy boots…