Entertainment: Artist profile: Bob Hughes
The following is an interview by ACI staff writer John Fischer with Bob Hughes (BH) and the owner of Dharma Records, Allen Bondar (AB).
• Can you give readers a brief background of who Bob Hughes is?
BH: I’m 39 years old. I’m a father of two girls. I’m a stay-at-home dad. I currently live in Chesaning, and have for about a year now. I lived in Omer my whole life before that. I have a (video) recording studio in Owosso with Uptown Studios and also at home.
AB: Bob is a very talented individual. He sings and plays well. He wouldn’t be working as much if he didn’t have anything to offer the fans. Bob does not play in one place just once. He is always going back to his venues and that is a true testament to a good entertainer.
• How did you get your influence in music?
BH: Growing up, my parents listened to older country and classic rock and roll. In high school, I listened to 80s rock. I also played in a garage band called Exhibit A. That’s what drove my passion for music.
• How did Dharma Records find out about Bob Hughes?
AB: Bob was touring around Michigan with the Pool Boys (out of Tawas). They used Dharma Record Studio as a rehearsal room when they were working on material. Impressed by Bob’s great voice, we asked him to do some vocals on some of our in-house productions. Bob also has a great knack for video production and we hired his video company to do a video (viewable on YouTube) on Jake Allen (a Dharma Records artist). Our mutual respect toward one another made me happy to use his video company exclusively along with his dedication toward our audio production for his album. Bob was happy to use all aspects of our facility as far as publishing, production and even using our in-house musicians to perform on his project. After using five songs from our catalog, as well as using us to publish his original songs, it was a no-brainer for us to make Bob the first free agent to sign to our label.
• What are some things a “small” record label does for an artist and is one goal to promote your artists to “major” labels?
AB: Dharma Records, as a small label, offer a local studio coupled with a publishing house, website, booking agency, promotional hub, retail sales outlet and full production of CD’s. We can take a project from start to finish under one roof. Yes we are always looking to have a major take interest in one of our artists. Certainly is a great way to get a product moving a lot faster. The industry has changed so drastically in the last five years that it is not our main objective, to strive for observation from the “big” labels. As fugal as it may seem, Dharma Records makes a base in trying to produce “great” music first.
• What can you tell me the record “Some Stories”?
BH: There are ten songs on “Some Stories.” It’s a little country, a little bit adult contemporary…sort of a middle of the road between the two.
AB: I think “Some Stories” is a great example of what can happen when the mixture of songwriter, artist and producer work together with respect for one another. “Some Stories” is like reading a good book that makes you want to move on to the next chapter because you are curious to know what could be next! I know that I’m close to this album but I have heard the same explanation from many other listeners.
• If there is one hit song on “Some Stories,” what is it?
BH: I’d have to say Stay. It was written about a fellow from Standish. It follows a universal theme.
AB: I’m going to have to say Deep End. It’s a very strong anthem that seems to knock out the ladies. That’s my professional opinion. My personal favorite…I’m stuck on a bunch of them.
• What instruments do you play?
BH: I play guitar, bass and drums.
• Who were some of your influences growing up?
BH: My high school music teacher, America, Jimmy Buffett…
• If you could tour with two bands, who would they be?
BH: Neil Diamond would be first. I’m a huge fan and, of course, Led Zeppelin.
• What else can you tell me about Bob Hughes?
BH: I’m just thankful to have an opportunity and gifts to be in music. A lot of people aren’t as fortunate as I.
AB: I am happy to be Bob’s producer and I would NOT be in shock if he manages to win a Grammy, someday. Believe me, he has more talent than many who have garnished the nominations.