Austin Kolbe is a rising star with a sound like you’ve never heard before. The self-taught musician has had a rocky start in life forcing him to run away from home and “grow up” at a very young age.
From playing music on the streets for money and living in hostels to landing an opportunity to work with music producer extraordinaire Eric Lilavois and performing in front of crowds filled with adoring fans, Kolbe has definitely come a long way in a short amount of time.
With a debut EP being released later this month called Rebel, the 20-year-old and I spoke early this week and discussed how his interest in music sparked, musical influences, his current single “Lips” [LISTEN BELOW] and more! Check out some excerpts from our interview below.
On becoming interested in the music industry: “I can’t really say exactly where it started from. I started playing trumpet and trombone a while ago, I was probably around 12. I was in a competitive Jazz band touring around and there I picked up a guitar, around 12, 13-years-old and I taught myself how to play the guitar and ever since I’ve been able to play guitar I started writing my own music. Music has always been in my life, I don’t really know where it came from. It could be from my dad who was a drummer a while ago, or me just wanting to be a musician.”
On what influences his sound: “I’m very influenced by Prince and James Brown, Lenny Kravitz, kind of like Funk Rock influences. A little bit of [Jimi] Hendrix‘s too, B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, but mainly, my go to is Prince.”
On how his shaky upbringing shaped his music: “It’s everything. It’s pretty much everything that made my music, everything that I’ve gone through, everything that has shaped me into what I am today, shapes my viewpoint, shapes my mind on what I want to throw out there in the world. Looking back on it I could have gone either way. I could have gone down a road that wasn’t good, but I went down a road that was good, good for me and it’s everything. All my music is influenced by, I only write from experience. I can’t really write something just because it sounds good. I have to write it because I have felt those feelings and emotions for it.”
On his current single “Lips”: “I wrote that song when I was about 15 or 16. So that was a song that I wrote a while ago. It was a reflection on one of my first sexual experience in a sense and especially as a young kid you can’t really shake the hormones, so it just took over. All those feelings of the lead up to it, during it, and afterwards, I just had to write about it and it was powerful. The inspiration [for the song] is from multiple things. It took a long time to actually make the song. It went through a few different changes, lyrically it stayed the same but musically it went through different changes for 5 years and then the final product came out a few months ago.”
On working with music producer Eric Lilavois: “He’s somebody that is truly special. He’s the first person that was able to understand who I am, where my music came from, and allowing me to be who I want to be. He truly was able to help shape me as an artist based off what I want to be and who I want to be rather than his idea of who I should be. He doesn’t have this idea of, ‘oh you should try this,’ it’s like, ‘you want to do this, OK, let’s make the best that,’ and that’s the most important [thing in] creative process is allowing the artist to be free, to be himself because in this industry you have a lot of people trying to tell you what you should do, and which way you should go, and what things you should try. Even people with no music experience what so ever tell you what things you should write and he does the complete opposite of that, he’s very intelligent, but that’s more of the reason why I take the advice that he gives me. Amazing guy and anybody who works with him is very lucky.” [Read GGB’s interview with Eric Lilavois HERE]
Be sure to follow Austin Kolbe on Twitter and Instagram @Austin_Kolbe and on Facebook at Austin Kolbe. If you’re in the California area and want to see Austin live see some show dates below and to stay updated on all things Austin Kolbe visit his official website HERE.
Austin Kolbe Live
Trip in Santa Monica – Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 10:30pm
Mrs Fish in Downtown LA – Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 9:30pm E.P. Release Party (FREE Show)
SilverLake Lounge in Silverlake – Tuesday, April 14, 2015
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