UP CLOSE WITH JEANIE
By Jeanie Summerville
Whatz up, babies?
I hope, that all is well with you, yours and everyone else whom you come into contact with because I don‘t want anyone to try and take your sunshine away as we travel on our journey of love. Now let’s get started with this weeks spotlight. I’ve heard that Bigg Robb is an awesome entertainer, so when I knew that he was coming back to the city, I had to check him out so I could bring his entertaining experience to all of you. I have my dancing shoes on and I’m ready, so here we go. Everybody’s looking and feeling great, it’s a beautiful sight to see and Bigg Robb definitely has the crowd’s attention and I’m loving it. So now, we bring to you Bigg Robb:
“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Robert Smith aka Bigg Robb and I was born and raised in Cincinnati and I’m the real Bigg Robb. I know that in every town and city there’s a guy named Rob who’s big but I spell mine’s with two ‘g’s and two ‘b’s because I’m just that bigger and I’m just that better.
“What inspired me to become a world-wide entertainer is that, at the age of 11, I became a disc jockey for WAIF FM 88.3, which was a small community radio station in my hometown. And, I did this so my mom and dad would be able to sit at home and hear me come through their radio. During that time, I was able to hang out with a lot of great, phenomenal artist who were from my area and that allowed me to learn how to make records. After being a DJ for a year and a half, I got my own show and that’s when I really got loose. I was the first person to play rap on the radio and I’m talking Grandmaster Flash, Spoonie Gee, Planet Rock, Run DMC and the list goes on.
“Then, I got the bright idea from GOD to try and do some interviews with some of the stars and that’s how I met Reggie Calloway of Midnight Starr, Bootsie Collins and my good friend Roger Troutman. Bootsie was the first guy who came and gave me a chance to really be a professional when I was 15 years old. He’d let me do odd jobs and hang out with him in the studio. He was my first hero. He was the king of glitz, the Black Liberace, and when I saw how the people responded to him, I wanted to be like him because he was really a superstar. He also made me promise not to ever mess with drugs and I know that may surprise some folks, but it’s true. He would lecture me for hours on how drugs was the wrong path and that staying drug free is the right way. I feel so thankful to have him as a friend, mentor and musical hero.
“Also, during that same time period, I met the Zapp band while leaving a Midnight Starr recording session with the Calloway brothers and it was then, that I was introduced to Roger Troutman. When I turned 18, I started going on the road and working exclusively with Roger Troutman and Zapp. I was a member of that group for 25 years and during that process, I learned how to make records. So when we’d come off the road or have a day off, I’d go to the studio and try to practice what I learned from hanging out with those guys and I got pretty good at it.
“When Roger pasted away in 1999, the whole group was at a crossroads and I was getting pretty good at producing, writing, engineering and all of that other stuff that goes along with it. During this same time, I met a guy by the name of Mel Waiters which is a very, very big Southern Soul blues artist and we recorded, ‘Let’s Go Baby To The Hole In The Wall.’ We also worked together on numerous other songs and sometimes I’d sing along with him. After that, the whole Bigg Robb thing really took off, so I started getting off into Southern Soul music or what I call juke joint, grown folks music and it just progressed from there since the year 2000. So, we’ve really been grinding.
“In 2010, I took a break from the Zapp band because we’ve been so busy with the Bigg Robb thing. Me and my band Da Problem Solvas, are having a great time performing the ‘grown folks/over 25 sound.’ And, with all the records that we’re making, I’m very passionate about my own solo projects so I haven’t had the chance to go back and be with my Zapp brothers but we’re all still friends and family.
“This is our second time performing here at the American Legion Post 148 and it’s all good. Last year, we had such a good time and everyone enjoyed themselves so much, they brought us back again. People need good entertainment and there’s a certain segment of people over 25 or 35 years old, that don’t want to sit at home listening to smooth jazz, they want to go out. So, when Bigg Robb comes to town, it gives them the opportunity to put on their nice clothes and party in an atmosphere like how we used to do it and that’s kind of what I do. I’m here to remind people of how things use to be and how we use to get together and commune and just revisit a positive time in your life.
“After we’re done here tonight, we’re going to finish getting ready to start our big major tour this month because we play a lot all over the country. And, while on tour, my family is always with me and I learned that from Joe Jackson, father to the Jackson 5 and Roger Troutman. Because as long as they’re with me things are beautiful, we’re self-contained. Also, since my family stands to benefit from the results of my hard labor they need to be there to help out and it’s supportive. A lot of people don’t have family to be around and go on tours like I do so I know, I’m blessed. Also, my new CD, ‘Think Bigg,’ is on sale now and is rooted deep in blues and soul while still giving you that old school funk flavor that you like and you can find us on our website heybiggrobb.com or call me on the Bigg Robb hotline at (937) 367-8650.
“Last but not least, I’ve been entertaining since the age of two when I would grab my grandmother’s wig, that she had on a mannequin head and run around the house with it to make all of my cousins and everybody else laugh even though I knew I would get in trouble but I did it anyway. So my bottom line is, I’m going to entertain you and love every minute of it and first and foremost all the glory always goes to GOD.”
Now, at this time, I’m taking it to some of the people and this is what they had to say:
“Hello, Frost readers. My name is Quincy Noel and I think Bigg Robb is a good blues singer and he adds a lot of emotions and feelings to his songs and the people here in Fort Wayne get into it and enjoy it and that’s what it’s all about, having a good time. I’m a concert goer and I love live music and I always will and if he comes back again me and my wife will definitely be here.”
Then, Brenda Anderson said:
“Bigg Robb is the bomb!”
Terry Scott said:
“I’m here at the show having a beautiful time and showing my support and I love it.”
Anthony Payne said:
“I’m the first vice commander here and I think that Bigg Robb is awesome and I think we’re going to bring him back again because I think he’s off the chain and everybody in Fort Wayne loves him and has his CDs.”
Dennis Thomas said:
“The Bigg Robb show is fantastic. He’s doing it and he’s doing it big!”
And, Lisa McPherson said:
“He is so awesome. I love all of his music and I’ve got his CDs and I would encourage everyone if they did not come out and see him to definitely come and see him when he’s back in town again.”
Now in closing I say, thank you Bigg Robb for being so much fun and exciting and also thanks goes out to the people who provided their input on the Bigg Robb experience. And, to those of you that don’t remember Bigg Robb from the Zapp band, he was the one that wore the big white Pamper, had a big bottle in hand while wearing flashy sunglasses and utilized other things from childhood days. So until next week you’ve been Up Close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.
P.S. If you would like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone who you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from ya.
P.P.S. I’d also like to thank all of you who have been sending me e-mails to give me some feed back on our journey. Keep up the good work and to those who haven’t please feel free to do so because I’d love to hear from you too.