Upcoming Artist Series: Travis Rockenstire

My husband and I stumbled across Travis Rockenstire seven years ago when we walked into a local pub to grab a bite to eat. He was 17 at the time. Playing guitar and singing for tips while on stage. He sang his own rendition of Dolly Parton’s Jolene and I was literally captivated by his talent at such a young age. He innately knew how to engage with the audience, and had a beautiful tone to his voice.

I met up with Travis recently to ask him a few questions about his music; his plans for his career, and what motivates and inspires him as an artist.

He told me how music had always been a big part of his life.  That his mom loved classic rock and how she would buy him KISS CDs when he was a child.  His grandmother listened to Elvis — she was a fanatic. His grandfather loved Johnny Cash and the great outlaw country musicians. He remembers car rides with his mom humming and singing to the melodies of Air Supply and Motley Crue as she drove. She was, no doubt, enjoying her own private Travis Rockenstire concert.

In his first year in middle school, he began writing songs and hasn’t stopped since. He describes his original music as “sincere.” He writes various genres of music; from pop to metal, and covers a wide range of emotions through contrasting types of music.  His goal is to keep the songs true to the message and to what he is feeling, then project that through his singing and performance to connect with his audience.

He mainly plays guitar and sings, and that’s where a lot of his songwriting begins.  He starts singing words and melodies into his voice memos and comes up with a song from there. He also plays piano, electric bass and just started playing drums two years ago to see how that goes too!!  Clearly, he’s on a mission of constant and never-ending learning and improvement.  Being adventurous, he even joked that someday maybe he’ll jump out of an airplane or go to space.  But for now, music and his woodworking business are his passions.

Travis’s songwriting dream has always been to construct and perform his own songs fully like Stevie Wonder or Prince would do. Lately, he has been in the music studio with John Chiara at Albany Audio Associates. He practices constantly. He records on his laptop at home, working out and arranging demos.  Some of his favorite music artists include Henry Rollins, Lemmy Kilmister, Tom Petty, and Noah Gundersen.

Travis said he would love to release some of his solo songs this year; either as an EP or an entire album release.  He is the lead singer for the band Sugarskull, an original heavy metal band that also covers Black Sabbath, Pearl Jam, Tool, and Led Zeppelin.  The band plans to release an EP this year. Travis continues to write original music along with them. 

As he performs live, either with his band or as a solo act, he looks to the future and considers touring. He said it depends upon what the world decides to do next. For now, he’s been a regular at local venues such as Swifty’s, O’Slattery’s, The Venue, and Putnam Place.

Away from music, Travis works towards another passion of his — woodworking. He’s remodeled homes and built new ones. He’s made mahogany garage doors and custom furniture. His other hobbies include powerlifting, hiking, yoga, running and just about anything outdoors. And when he’s sitting still, he turns to coin collecting. The history excites him, he said.  Learning about the people that lived and loved here before him is interesting and humbling.   

I asked Travis what inspires him and his answer was interesting.

“There’s too much in life to be inspired by to list,” he said. “Anything really. Whether it’s a positive thing or negative. I find inspiration in the journey.” 

Travis is an old soul for sure.  That’s how his mother described him when we first met seven years ago. Since then, our families have become friends.  Travis has opened or played to support my band, Playin’ With Fire. It’s important to me to help young artists and to provide them with opportunities. We as musicians have to get our start someplace. And he is off to an amazing one.

He said he’s got big plans to keep his “musical journey” going and to achieve great success.

“I would like to thank anyone who has ever sat through one of my shows, supported me, booked me for a gig, danced, and applauded,” he said. “The real magic behind the music is the connection we can feel together. I’ve been so blessed with the people I have met along this musical journey so far.”

Keep an eye out for this young man, Travis Rockenstire.

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