Blake Roberts, who prefers to be addressed just as Blake, is the last person you would figure for a musician. Not to say musicians are obviously recognisable, but they do have some sort of artistic air about themselves which sometimes is apparent in their dress sense.
Blake is nothing like that. He is the chilled out guy from across the street you would probably call if your computer was giving you problems. Yes, he looks like that techno dude who knows everything about Microsoft and nothing about music. Well, this image gets thrown out the window once you get to know the man.
“I grew up in a musical family and knew I would end up making music,” said Blake nonchalantly.
He started out secretly playing the guitar as he was not allowed to touch the instruments at home when he was a child.
“You know that thing when your bigger brother says: ‘Don’t touch that guitar’ and you can’t help but touch that guitar? Well, that was me right there,” he confessed.
That naughty behaviour paid off as music came naturally to young Blake. Unbeknownst to him, his other interests would all have to give way for music at some point.
“When I completed my matric I went to the UK for a year and decided to play cricket there for a bit,” he said.
On his return, when it was time to decide what to study at a tertiary level, music popped up again, but he wasn’t sure it was the way to go: “I had an option between studying graphic design and music. I would have gone with the music, but I knew I needed something that would give me a steady job. So I went with graphic design.”
That move took him from of his native Durban to Joburg where he put in a few years behind a computer and sharpened his Photoshop skills. But, like an addict off his fix, Blake needed to be back on the music scene to feel normal again. His move to Joburg had been a great idea in that the city happens to be the country’s musical capital so he could kill two birds with one stone.
“There came a time when I decided to ask my company to employ me on a freelance basis so that I could make more time for the music. I would need the salary from the company to pay bills as I worked towards establishing the music,” the muscian said.
And establish the music he did. Late last year Blake independently released an album, 21 Restless Grams, which has proved to be a success.
“I would not want to classify it as gospel, but I write from a position of faith,” he said. “I just talk about the different scenarios in life that we are all likely to go through and how faith can play a part in that,” he explained.
So no flying doves at waterfalls for this dude. Instead, you see quality music coupled with innovative visuals.
“We shot the video to my single, I Think I Love You, a few days ago and that is about to be on TV soon. So far people can find it on YouTube,” he said as he pulled out his phone to search for the video which turned out to be a masterpiece.
After having lived in England and playing in New York for a bit, Blake’s ambition is to relocate to the UK at some point and have a go at the European music industry.
• 21 Restless Grams is available at music stores nationwide.