ASK ME ANYTHING: Professional Musician, Amateur Adult

Roux Bedrosian
Mar 13, 2018

My name's Roux, and I'm a Roux-ician. More, I'm a vocalist, songwriter, pianist, and recording artist based in New Jersey. I do everything from cover work to commercial jingles depending on who needs what from me. I'm also an original artist, and part of a nerd-tastic acoustic duo with my pal Evan. Together we are ROUVAN, and we hope to one day take over the world. 

I've been a freelancer in the music industry for over ten years. I've got stories, struggles, and answers to share for all your burning questions. Feel free to send 'em my way.

Conversation (60)

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The music industry is known to be cutthroat and cruel at times, how do you keep from falling apart from all the rejections and criticisms?
Mar 15, 6:50PM EDT0 Reply

I don't, haha. I fall apart constantly. Maybe that's my way of coping with it--I allow myself to be upset, angry, devastated, even. Then, I pick myself up and put myself back together. I've gotten better at it over the years, but rejection will always hurt. That's a fundemental part of rejection, after all.

I also don't view criticism as an innately bad thing. Constructive criticism is so useful, especially when your listeners are invested enough to give it to you. I don't take every suggestion I hear to heart, but I sincerely value feedback and use it to grow. There's a distinct difference between critique and insult, too, and I appreciate when people are kind enough to stave the latter for the former. 

Mar 16, 2:35PM EDT0 Reply
As a musician whose your dream artist with whom you would want to collaborate with someday?
Mar 15, 3:24PM EDT0 Reply

I've mentioned Matthew Bellamy (of Muse) in a previous answer. He is absoultely my first pick. Other artists I dream of collaborating with include Brian May (Queen), Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!), and Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys). I admire all of them for their composition skills, as well as their journeys and personalities. They've founded a few of my all time favorite bands, and I'd do anything to learn from them personally. 

Mar 16, 2:31PM EDT0 Reply
When you look at your musical journey, what brings smile on your face?
Mar 15, 8:33AM EDT0 Reply

The progress I've made, not only as an artist, but as a person. I smile at how hard I've worked to accept myself, to be proud of myself and the things I do. I smile at how capable I can be, and at how much I can do if I really put my mind to it. It's a nice feeling that mixes with gratitude for the people who've helped me along the way. I'm also thankful for the opportunities, even the failed ones, that taught me all this about myself.

I also smile (albeit a little nervously) every time I remember that a song my duo was commissioned for will air for millions of people on YouTube next week :D

Mar 15, 12:04PM EDT0 Reply
What is one of your most memorable experiences in the music industry and why did this event have such an impact on you?
Mar 14, 4:36PM EDT0 Reply

I vividly remember the first time I was let go from a band. We were about an inch away from an independent record deal when I was abruptly fired and replaced by an older and less qualified vocalist. The band cited my 'lack of commitment' as their main reason for ditching me. That hurt the most because I felt wholeheartedly committed to them, and my dreams, despite also feeling used, out of place, and unappreciated within our band dynamic. I was the youngest member by several years, and defintely had the most to learn. That said, I never saw it coming.

I was in high school at the time, and I came home from class to my devastated mother who had heard the news first from my father. They'd told him instead of me before asking in the same breath for him to be their band manager. That added salt to the wound for sure. He accepted, much to my chagrin, but only to secure the rights to all the lyrics and melodies I'd written with them. That worked out for the best in the end, but it hurt like hell in the moment.

This was memorable because it was my first major failure and rejection in the industry. It was a huge setback, and an even bigger blow to my confidence. It took me years to even consider trusting another band, and I still struggle with it sometimes. Nowadays I understand why it happened, and I do actually think it was for the best. Still, when your trust is broken and your character is torn down, it sticks with you even after you learn and grow from it. 

Mar 15, 12:12PM EDT0 Reply
What, do you feel, is the best song with which you were ever involved?
Mar 14, 11:13AM EDT0 Reply

One of the more recent projects I was involved with was a band called Astrokatz based out of South NJ. I was only with them for about a year, but within that time we wrote my favorite song to date. It's called "When Words Don't Work", and I wrote the lyrics about a long distance friend who I was missing very, very intensely. There's also a reference in the chorus to the song "Making Believe" by The Ink Spots & Ella Fitzgerald that I'm particularly proud of. 

I tend to dislike much of my own work shortly after it's completed, but I have yet to get tired of this track. I love the melodies I was able to come up with, and the poetry of the lyrics. It doesn't feel cliche or dated--at least not yet--even though I have long since left the band and parted ways with the friend it was written about.

I wish I could share it here, but I only own the rights to the lyrics and vocal melodies. I am hoping to re-release it in the near future with different music, though. It's too good of a composition to just let go of. 

Mar 14, 12:06PM EDT0 Reply
What are some of the difficulties associated with your career as a musician and what are the methods you use in order to handle these issues?
Mar 14, 10:07AM EDT0 Reply

At risk of being repetitive, I'll narrow it down to these three difficulties:

  • Lack of resources--money, other musicians, recording time, etc.
  • Lack of ability--instrumental, writing, producing, etc.
  • Lack of stable mental health--depression, anxiety, etc.

Each of those bullet points plays host to a plethora of specific challenges that I face on a regular basis. Facing these challenges require different things at different times--patience, sleep, persistence, and sometimes, tears. Sometimes I have to drop projects for the sake of my well-being. Other times I have to accept projects for the sake of pushing myself to be and do better.

I apologize if this is sort of a vague answer, but it's the truth. I've also answered similar questions below if you're looking for more specific challenges and solutions. 

Mar 14, 10:34AM EDT0 Reply
If there was a movie made about your life, who would play you and why?
Mar 14, 8:31AM EDT0 Reply

Personally, I think Keanu Reeves would do a great job. 

Mar 14, 10:29AM EDT0 Reply
If you could choose to work with one specific musician, who would it be and why?
Mar 14, 5:31AM EDT0 Reply

Excluding deceased musicians, my first choice would be Matthew Bellamy of Muse. He is essentially my living idol. The man is an astoundingly talented multi-instrumentalist, has close to five octave range, and singlehandedly arranges symphonies that marry classical elements with booming arena rock. I would love to learn from him. Seriously, If I could be even a fraction of a percent as talented as him, I think I'd be set for life. 

Mar 14, 10:27AM EDT0 Reply


Mar 13, 9:48AM EDT0 Reply

I will continue to be involved in music so long as life allows.

And I will be a kind and gracious leader :D 

Mar 13, 12:23PM EDT0 Reply
Do you continue your career in the music industry out of passion or demand?
Mar 13, 4:24AM EDT1 Reply

Passion. Passion over everything. It's what I do, it's what I want to do. It's part of my idenity, and it's what I work the hardest at. It causes me the most grief, and the most joy, and I don't know what I'd be or what I'd do if I couldn't do it anymore. 

Mar 13, 12:17PM EDT0 Reply

What are some of the musical tours you have been apart of and what was the experience like?

Mar 13, 12:23AM EDT0 Reply

I actually have next to no touring experience, much to my dismay. It's definitely been a long-term goal of mine as I've bounced between projects. Many of my friends and colleages have touring experience, though, and I'm always learning from them so I can plan my own next steps.

The first and largest venue I ever got to play was The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. This was when I was with an original band called Life By Proxy. We performed at an original band showcase for a meager audience, but it was still a blast. I'm determined to get there again, as well as to other local, bigger name venues, by this time next year. 

Mar 13, 12:09PM EDT0 Reply
Has succeeding as a musician been made more difficult by being in New Jersey? Does location play a role in the musician's success?
Mar 13, 12:09AM EDT0 Reply

I think that depends on how you view 'success'. New Jersey has an excellent music scene, so I am able to find certain work on a pretty regular basis. I'm also reasonably close to NYC and Philly, so I get to draw from the creativity, popularity, and accessibility of those locations without actually having to live there. That's great for networking, collaborating, and picking up better paying or more high profile jobs.

Am I famous? No. Am I getting there? Eh. Is New Jersey typically where the magic happens? Not really. Perhaps that does, and will effect the growth my success. If it does, I can't say with certainty if it'll be for better or worse. All I know is that there are definitely worse places to be.

Mar 13, 12:16PM EDT0 Reply

Have you got a favourite key signature for composing? How wide is your vocal range?

Mar 12, 11:23PM EDT0 Reply

My favorite keys to compose in are Cm and Am. I don't have a particular favorite when it comes to singing. That said, I have about a two and a half octave range. I'm most comfortable as an alto, but I can get as low as a high tenor and as high as a low soprano. 

Mar 13, 12:04PM EDT1 Reply
What are the best lessons you have learnt from your musical journey?
Mar 12, 7:51PM EDT0 Reply

I received a similar question, but I left out one enormous lesson I've learned: "don't be afraid to fail."

It is waaaaay easier said than done, and it might be a little cliche. But, failure and rejection is unavoidable in this field. It should actually be expected and prepared for on a regular basis. I'm still learning to cope with it, and it is as uphill of a battle as you can imagine. It's a big part of the process, though, and I am doing my best to embrace it fully. 

Mar 12, 10:28PM EDT0 Reply
Have you tried to work in feature films, if so, what was your experience?
Mar 12, 5:29PM EDT0 Reply

Unfortunately, I have no experience working in feature films. It sounds like something I'd love to do, though, so fingers crossed that I get the opportunity to someday!

Mar 12, 9:48PM EDT0 Reply
Why did you choose to be a freelancer and were you interested in freelancing from the beginning of your music career?
Mar 12, 3:27PM EDT0 Reply

I originally chose to freelance because I didn't have the patience for a 'typical' or more structured job. Everything that wasn't music just felt like a distraction from it, and finding secure jobs in any art is a feat in itself. Freelancing also allowed me to work while I was in school. Specifically, it gave me flexible hours, I got to set my own rates, and I had a variety of projects to keep me engaged and motivated while I made my way towards a degree.

Freelancing became harder to balance as adult life became more demanding. Now I use another, more structured day job to support myself and my passions. I get to choose what projects I do more carefully, too, which makes all the work I do seem more meaningful. 

Mar 12, 9:59PM EDT0 Reply
In what ways does your mood affect your music or song output?
Mar 12, 3:25PM EDT0 Reply

I am very open about my struggles with anxiety, OCD, and depression. These are all conditions that persistently and greatly effect my mood on a daily (sometimes even hourly) basis. I have always been my own worst enemy while armed with these disorders that make me feel like I'm not 'good enough'. I cannot stress what a motivation killer that is. and it's one I am constantly battling. 

On a day where I'm dealing with poor mental health, I shut down before I even begin. Creative sparks are snuffed out because of needless, overbearing perfectionism and doubt. I lament to myself, "Why bother even trying if I'll never do it right? If it will never be good enough, or as good as _____?"  This gets ideas tossed out before they ever have a chance to be shared or developed. I'll also turn down offers to collaborate because I'm afraid I'll make embarrassing mistakes. I'll find excuses to back out of auditions or projects, too, and beat myself up for it for months, somtimes years after the fact. I stand in my own way because, as my anxiety likes to remind me, it keeps me 'safe' in the long run.

I am always struggling to produce and create because I am always struggling to function. But, I am proud to say that I am always fighting, too. 

Mar 12, 10:08PM EDT1 Reply

If you've got one, what's your recording set-up like? Mics, interfaces, DAWs, plugins, that sort of thing. (No-one cares about this stuff except me)

Mar 12, 1:26PM EDT1 Reply

Believe me, lots of people care. You are not alone, my friend. 

I have a fairly simple setup here in my home studio. Specifically, I use a Shore KSM 44 microphone and a Presonus Eureka channel strip. I actually use an older DAW called Traktion to record and produce, but I have some experience with ProTools and Garage Band as well. I don't use many plugins aside from your basic reverb and compression. I like to keep things clean and simple, and tend to use harmonies/layering in place of effects to give my songs depth. 

Mar 13, 12:22PM EDT1 Reply
Are you learning any new forms of music at present? What are some tools you use for learning?
Mar 12, 12:52PM EDT0 Reply

I actually received a melodica for my most recent birthday, so I'm trying to work out some basic melodies on that. So far I've mastered about a third of the original Pokemon video game theme song. Safe to say I have a long way to go. 

Mar 12, 7:27PM EDT1 Reply
Among various things you do, which is the one is the most lucrative and why?
Mar 12, 12:40PM EDT0 Reply

Weddings. Singing at weddings pays the most money for the least amount of work relative to the hours I am booked. Most of the time I find myself sitting around and waiting for the formalities to pass--cocktail hour, speeches, that sort of stuff. I end up DJ-ing off of a laptop more than I sing live. Don't get me wrong; weddings make for loooong days. But, most of the day is really spent off your feet and waiting on cues from the maî·tre d'. You typically also get to eat and drink for free, and clients tend to tip generously after the festivities are over. That is, reasonable clients. 

Mar 12, 9:54PM EDT0 Reply
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