In 2009, I was invited to an independent music show called Sister Speak at the former Ciceros Restaurant in the U-City Loop. This very eclectic young man got on stage and my best friend turned to me and said, “you’re going to like this guy”. He performed one of his well -known songs at the time, State of Emergency, and I became an instant fan. He smiled at everyone he came in contact with that night. I got the chance to meet him and congratulate him on a great show, and told him I was an instant fan. He smiled at me so graciously and thanked me like that was the best thing he heard all day. He does not know this, but in that moment, I wished he was my friend. From then on I would go to local shows throughout the city and he would be there, sometimes performing, and sometime just there to enjoy and support other local artists. I would run into him at various events throughout the city and he would flash that smile and treat me as if he just saw me the previous day, (even though it had been months prior most of the time. Not even sure if he knew my name lol). From 2009 to the present day, through various social media, music, events and conversations, I am glad to say, that the very unique and gentle human-being I met 10 years ago and wanted to be my friend is now just that. So now, I introduce to you my friend, Mr. Robert Dillard….
Robert, tell us a little about yourself, your music and your other artistic abilities?
My name is Robert Dillard. I was born and raised in St. Louis City. I’ve been a performing artist for the past 20 years and a recording artist for the past 12 years. Instrumentally and sonically, my music changes with my mood and where I am in my life. Lyrically, it’s a snapshot of where I am in that moment. For the most part, my music chronicles the journey of my life. I explore the lessons, the joys, the sadness, and the peace of life through melodic artistic expression. It’s been a beautiful gift.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Compassionate, Creative, and Sensitive.
At this point in your life what do you consider one of your greatest achievements?
Internally, I am proud of my mastery of self. In our society and culture, it’s so easy to get consumed with external expectation, that you forget who you are and what your individual purpose is. I’ve achieved an inner peace that doesn’t enslave me to public acceptance. Externally, that has shown up in the form of 3 honest studio records, officially filing for candidacy, and remaining healthy in a culture that challenges my health. I think those are achievements that were feats to accomplish.
Name 2 goals you have going into 2019?
One of my goals is to try to understand more. That means understanding my lack of understanding when I don’t understand something. It seems knee jerk to reject what we can’t put our finger on, but I have a goal to dig in more when there’s a gap between what’s happening and how I perceive it. Another goal I have is to win my upcoming election as Alderman of St. Louis City’s 4th ward.
You are running for 4th Ward Alderman in the City of St. Louis in 2019. Tell us a little about that?
Yes. I was born and raised in St. Louis City’s 4th ward, which is an area that was formally the 20th ward on the north side of the city. I have a particular affection for this ward, and I’ve watched it spiral since I was a child. Crime has increased significantly. Vacancy is at an all-time high, and it’s a resource desert. I’m throwing my hat in the ring because I know that there are many steps I can and will take to reverse this downward trend.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I’m true to myself. I live my life intentionally, so the work I do doesn’t feel like work so much. My pleasures in life sprout from the same seed that my work ethic springs from. There are times when I get overwhelmed, but when that happens, I trust my body and adhere to its warnings. I make sure to incorporate rejuvenation time into my schedule to prevent burnout. While I’m a firm believer in hard work, I am not a work addict. I live a balanced life.
What are your top 3 favorite places to go or things to do St. Louis?
I love going to Steinberg skating rink during the winter months. There’s something about being out in Forest park at night, skating underneath the stars. I love going to the Art Museum on Art Hill, and I also love taking strolls through the Delmar Loop. There’s so many cultures that come together to meet in the Loop, and I love witnessing it.
You have a show on January 27, 2019 at the Gaslight Theater, “An Evening with Robert Dillard”, tell us about that? And how can we get tickets?
Yes. Performing and connecting with the audiences who appreciate my work is one of the most cathartic experiences I’ve come to know. These shows are beautiful conversations through art. The show on the 27th will be acoustic and I’ll be playing some old favorites, performing some new work, and telling a few stories. You can get tickets online through Eventbrite. Just google ‘An Evening with Robert Dillard’ and click the link to purchase tickets. (link below)
Do you have any advice for anyone who would like to hone their music/artistic abilities?
My only advice would be to create art from the heart. Don’t put it through filters or alter it for anyone’s approval. Before anyone else loves your art, you have to love it in order for it to be true. Whether you’re a dancer, singer, poet, painter, etc., the passion comes from an authentic feeling. Don’t be afraid to explore that feeling.
How can our readers reach out to you? (social media, email, website, etc.)
I can be reached through facebook, twitter, Instagram, my website and email.
Facebook: Robert Dillard
Make sure you get your tickets for "An Evening with Robert Dillard", this Sunday, January 27, 2019 at the GasLight Theater on Eventbrite: www.eventbrite.com/e/an-evening-with-robert-dillard-tickets-50244125532?aff=ebdssbdestsearch Tickets start at $5. Hope to see you there.
Hey, girl, hey!