Nashville-based singer-songwriter Robby Hecht has been on the rise for quite some time. His measured, mature approach to songwriting has won him hundreds of fans, and that number is only going to get higher with the release of his new self-titled album on March 25th. Hecht is in New York to celebrate the album’s release with a show at Rockwood Music Hall tonight, March 24th. We recently had the chance to talk to Hecht about the new album, as well as his development as a songwriter and the changing scene in Nashville.
Elmore Magazine: How has your songwriting process evolved over the course of your career up until now?
Robby Hecht: Early on, writing was mostly a personal process for me. I’d write in spiral-bound notebooks whenever an idea struck, and could write all night if I felt like I wasn’t finished with an idea or a concept. I’ve always been a perfectionist with writing and can sit on a song for years until I feel like it’s done. When I’m home from tour, I’ll set aside time in the morning to write when my head isn’t full of the duties and noise of the day. In the past couple years, I’ve opened myself up to the idea of co-writing and it’s been really rewarding — two of the tracks on Robby Hecht came out of those co-writing sessions. “The Sea and The Shore” (co-written with Amy Speace) and “Papa’s Down the Road Dead” (co-written with Wyatt Easterling) are two of my favorite tracks on the record.
EM: You seemed to have had eclectic taste growing up. How has that influenced the songwriter you’ve become?
RH: I think having an eclectic musical upbringing has helped me develop my own set of rules about what makes a good song. There are different rules for country writing, pop writing, rock writing, folk writing, and I’ve always been interested in finding a way to write songs that tell their story in the best way possible. A lot of kids go through different phases of music in their life but folk and singer/songwriter albums were a steady influence in my life from childhood through college and even today.
EM: You’ve worked in a band and on your own. Would you ever consider going back to working in a band again?
RH: Sure! I loved working with Jason Jurzak in our folk-pop swing band AllDay Radio and we still collaborate today. I tour a lot with other singer/songwriters and talk about possible projects all the time. I’m actually in an 80s cover band with Angel Snow called Marsha and the Martians. We’ve played two shows. You can find us on YouTube wearing alien head boppers.
EM: What did working with Lex Price bring to the album?
RH: Working with Lex not only brings his immense technical and musical skills, but also allows access to some of the best session players Nashville has to offer. He seems to have an uncanny ability to know who’s going to nail a certain part and what is missing from a particular track. He and I are both slow and careful with songs, treating them both as individual tracks but also parts of a whole. We both want the record to flow well start to finish and I’m proud to have worked with him on all three of my solo albums. I’ve learned to trust his instincts with how to let the production of the songs evolve and he is patient and thoughtful enough to allow that process to unfold naturally.
EM: How has being in Nashville influenced your creative process?
RH: It makes a big difference to know so many of the best songwriters in the world are all around you. I certainly benefit from the enormous pool of musical talent when we’re recording. We are what we eat, so to speak, and being around the level of songwriting that Nashville has to offer has pushed me to continue to get better at my craft and allowed me part of a real community of kindred spirits.
EM: As a Tennessee native, have you seen a change in Nashville over the past few years? It seems to be the go-to spot for musicians of all stripes now.
RH: Even though Nashville has always (and rightly) been known for its country music scene, since I moved here in 2005 there’s always been a thriving rock, indie, and rockabilly scene in the city. After I’d been in town for about a year slogging my way through various writers’ nights, I started to find singer/songwriters who I really connected with on a musical and personal level. There’s a spirit of lifting each other up that you don’t expect to find when moving to Music City and I’m proud to call Nashville home.
Robby Hecht plays Rockwood Music Hall tonight at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased here.