Each week from now through December, we’ll pose several short questions to a member of the Dent family and share their answers with you. This week’s featured Denter is Roem Baur, a singer and songwriter who served as one of Dent 2014’s two artists in residence. Roem’s blind audition for NBC’s stratospherically successful singing show, “The Voice” aired this past Tuesday night.
Say it in a sentence: Whether you’ve met your biggest goal or it’s still ahead of you, how would you like to be known for having dented the universe?
I think the purpose of goals is to constantly be pushing new boundaries. If I ever feel like I’ve met my biggest goal then maybe I’ve stopped challenging myself or I’m dead. I strive to create in spaces that haven’t yet been created in. Like the Blues for instance. So much space for innovation in the cracks and blurred edges of that powerful art form. In that, I want to take the work of great artists and further it. Expound but also disrupt. And in doing so, I hope that it also furthers the greater conversation about how this generation consumes art. I believe there’s truth waiting in the unknown.
What would I know about you after we’d gone on a long tour or co-written a song together?
Ha! You would know that I’m not a planner. Doing things on the schedule and between the lines makes me anxious. You’d know that I rely on spontaneity and instinct to get us from point A to point B.
If I’m not terrified or uncomfortable, I’m bored.
What historical figures do you admire most?
Benjamin Franklin. He seemed to innovate and every space that he worked in. I also really like the idea of Amelia Earhart. But I’m terrified to the core of flying into the abyss. However, I’m convinced that’s the last ounce of courage that I need to finish my story, one day.
What natural talent would you most like to be gifted with?
I wish I had gills. I would love to spend long periods of time underwater. It’s so peaceful. Like flying in slow motion. Scuba diving seems cumbersome to me.
Who else is doing interesting, universe-denting work right now?
Musically speaking I think Andrew Bird is a great innovator. As well as Kanye West. And yes I know he’s an asshole. (However I do believe it’s the microscope we put on celebrities as a culture, that turn our geniuses into monsters. But I digress.) I’m also morbidly fascinated by Aphex Twin. His work scares the crap out of me.
Question from Ellen Petry Leanse: What early experience or influence most shaped the course you’ve taken with your life?
When I was 16 years old I was chosen to travel with a music group to Zimbabwe Africa. Experiencing that culture in such a young age, understanding that I had arrived there because of a gift that was inside of me, gave me a great sense of empowerment. I realized then that it was up to me to make music my life’s work, and that work would take me across boundaries I never thought possible. Nearly everything great that I’ve ever experienced in life since then has been through the avenue of music/art/creativity.
What would you like to ask the next Denter of the Week?
When you look in the mirror, what surprises you about yourself?
No overnight success, Roem Baur has played thousands of shows in a career that spans 4 continents. With roots in opera, he studied in school as a lyrical tenor before breaking the mold to become an award-winning singer and songwriter (Elly and MAMA Awards.) His new “boisterous” (Bay Guardian) full band EP “ROEM & The Revival” marks his first studio recording and was recorded with GRAMMY nominated producer/engineer Damien Lewis (Rihanna, Katy Perry, Keane).
Dent the Future is a conference series that tackles the art and discipline of visionary leadership. The next Dent The Future conference is coming up March 22-25, 2015. Register here.