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Posted under: Music Interviews Discover

"Rap & Roll" artist Kurt Rockmore on music, family and art

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Blavity's Creative Society sat down with rapper Kurt Rockmore to learn more about his music and motivations. Rockmore was born and raised in the suburbs of Long Island, NY. Rockmore has toured the country with multiple acts, such as G-Eazy, Tory Lanez, and many others performing what he calls 'Rap & Roll,' an energetic hybrid of hip-hop and rock. Read the interview below:

Blavity: Tell us about your early stages of creating music. How did your upbringing, your family and the city you grew up in influence you?  

Kurt Rockmore: I've been making music since the age of 18. I've been really going hard after my first tour four years ago. I'm from Long Island, NY, and I'm very proud of that. My mom made it a point to raise us with both parents, "in a house with a front and back yard and upstairs downstairs" (in her words). She was born in Haiti, as well as my father, they came here at young ages with their parents being Haitian immigrants. They grew up in Queens/Brooklyn respectively. They aren't rich, but they provided, and although we may not have the biggest house, my mom's love made that place feel like a mansion. So her love and support made me want more for her. She loves cooking, the goal is to buy her a house with an outdoor kitchen overlooking a pool.
Growing up in the suburbs of Bay Shore, you see a lot of cultures, a lot of Hispanic friends, as well as Haitian and Jamaican friends, whose families have similar backstories as mine. I'm from Long Island, I don't tote guns and move drugs... I was a young guy who LOVES women, had friends who LOVE women, we partied a lot, I threw parties and I have ambition, so thats what my music is about. I only tell truths, I talk about things I've seen, things I've been through, things I want to happen, but I try to put it in a relatable perspective.
facebook.com/KurtRockmore/
facebook.com/KurtRockmore/
Photo: facebook.com/KurtRockmore/

B: Tell us about your creative process, how do you go from idea to execution? 

KR: I approach every song like "this is the one thats gonna BLOW UP." But I always work on projects more than I do singles, so everything usually has a reason, a purpose, and its own moment in the story my project is telling. It's kind of a weird situation when you're not sure what is working best for you cause you're still on the come up... but I think these past 14 months I've figured it out, we just gotta get it out there.

B: What are some of the challenges of being both a father and artist?  

KR: Being a father became more important than anything to me when I had my second daughter. I had my first daughter at a young age, and even though I see her about six months out of the year, I was never full-time, her Mom's family moved to Florida so her and I never worked out, and I had my little girl, but I didn't have a family. Now that I have a family, and I'm with my youngest EVERY DAY, it's a whole new world, new feeling, and I honestly LOVE IT.
I'm a savage by nature, but she changed that, I used to love being out and all of that, but she changed that. When I'm on tour or on the road, I want to be near her, cause if she grows an inch without me there, all hell is gonna break loose. I love my girls and they are everything to me. My Mom showered me with so much love and hugs and kisses and FOOD and FOOD and FOOD, that Im trying to live up to half of her greatness as a parent.
When I do something, I give it my everything, and that's what was going on when my youngest was born, I stepped away from music to be a family man. But her mother told me she could see I wasn't me, and I need to revamp and refocus. I did some soul searching and said, why not be the first ROCKSTAR DAD? Why not make that my brand? I'm always the life of the party, whether I'm making jokes while changing a diaper or at the venue with my homies causing a ruckus, I'm lit up... so yeah, I figured out how to balance both... I just be a little bit more tired at 2 a.m. than I used to be, but its alright, I love it. I'm the life of the party wherever in life.

B: Can you tell us more about why you're so passionate about fighting breast cancer? 

KR: My grandmother passed away on my 16th birthday from breast cancer. my grandmother was THE HOMIE — I cannot stress that enough. So you only can imagine the pain I felt. I didn't understand, this God-fearing, church-going, great woman died from a sickness. So after that, I did research on it and a bunch of stuff and I just had it in my head... a few years later, my mother told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer, the devil..... And after seeing my Grandma die from it I thought it was going to be all downhill. My grandma was in really bad shape in the end, and thats all I ever had to attribute with breast cancer. However, by God's grace, my Mom beat that evil, and she still has her hair. She doesn't know this, but anything I make off merch and sales on iTunes/streams etc., I give a portion of it to research. They need to find a cure, I have too many women in my life that are important to me, and if that evil takes another one, I don't know what I'll do to be honest.
facebook.com/KurtRockmore/
facebook.com/KurtRockmore/
Photo: facebook.com/KurtRockmore/

B: Describe your sound to us, what is "Rap & Roll?" 

KR: I don't want to say Im a rockstar in the sense that "I don't rap," cause that seems to be the wave right now. I say I'm a rockstar 'cause I speak from real experiences, I have a lot of unorthodox fun, and I use live music (drums, bass, guitars, keys) as the inspiration and basis to the beats I choose. I like the gritty nasty sound, that distorted bass at the bottom of the record, that feeling when you look at a punk rocker that looks like he didn't shower in a week, and his eyeliner is runny... Yeah, I like my bass to sound like that looks/feels. The new sound I'm on is also loud and melodic, that's also rock-esque. I'm going to be a rockstar, not in the sense [that] I'll be the most famous, but I'm going to influence people to love being themselves and live life how they want to. That's what The Beatles did. I'll be a rockstar, minus the drugs though. I'm going to be a rock star, but I rap, if any rappers want smoke, feel free to test me.

B:  What keeps you motivated and inspired to create? 

KR: My brother, my mother, my lady, my kids, my family, my friends/team, most importantly... myself. Creating is the ultimate freedom. You can take silence and create "Thriller," you can take a blank piece of paper and create "Mona Lisa," you can take copper sheets and make The Statue of Liberty... There's no limit to creating. If you see it in your head, it's almost impossible for it to not be possible... that's motivation enough for me.

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Blavity Staff Writer