Musician Spotlight: Robert A. Kraft

Jan 19, 2023

Soul singer and songwriter Robert Ashker Kraft began playing guitar, bass, and singing in bars and clubs around Dallas at age 15. His past projects include The Governours, Deep Ellum Soul Review, The Ken, The Glover Gill Quartet, The Kevin Lovejoy Trio,  Acme Song Company, and Tosca Tango Orchestra. He has worked as a sideman, playing bass for various soul and funk projects, but has always considered his rich, soulful voice to be his primary instrument. He is in the studio now, recording new original material for future project(s.)

We sat down with Robert to discuss his injury, what inspired him to start playing music, and what he has coming in 2023!

How did you get your (musical) start? What inspired you to start playing music in the first place?

I grew up in a musical household. My older siblings all played instruments and sang, and I learned the fundamentals of harmony and rhythm sitting around the living room and singing hymns and folk songs. A big part of my early friendships revolved around playing guitar and singing, and we kind of organically ended up in bands together in our teens. Music, for me, was a gateway to a world that valued the things that I valued- beauty for beauty’s sake, love, compassion and kindness – all the things that I felt were missing from my own life. Music got me through some very tough times, as a kid, and I think I started performing with the idea that I could maybe do that for someone else.

I started playing solo acoustic gigs around Dallas when I was 15, and have been performing with bands and as solo act across the country ever since.

Who are some of your musical inspirations?

Ray Charles, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye, ForChaka Kahn, The Beatles, the Stones, Carol King, Vocal groups like the Chi-lites, Spinners, The Emotions, Temptations.

What was the injury that first brought you into contact with MTF? How did it impact your ability to play music?

Torn distal bicep tendon. Changed my whole arm position when I tried to play bass or guitar. It also ached very badly, which discouraged me from playing.

What was your experience like receiving treatment through MTF? How long did it take for you to be able to play again?

Amazing. An acquaintance clued me into the Foundation, and I couldn’t believe it existed. I did the initial consult, had a visit with Dr. Barron, and within two weeks, my arm was fixed. I was playing again around three weeks after surgery. It is still hard to believe that there are such kind, compassionate people in the world.

Is there anything you’d like us to plug?

I’m re-releasing my 2017 album North Bishop Ave with a couple of bonus tracks featuring my new band. Should be out in April. Keep up with my BandCamp for updates.

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