Rob Murat: “Know your WHY”

Know your WHY. Purpose will be the only thing that gets you past the hurdles. Knowing exactly why you are going after whatever it is you are going after will eventually get you there. This reason must be deeply personal and has to mean a lot to you. Your why is similar to a flame […]

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Know your WHY. Purpose will be the only thing that gets you past the hurdles. Knowing exactly why you are going after whatever it is you are going after will eventually get you there. This reason must be deeply personal and has to mean a lot to you. Your why is similar to a flame that burns somewhere inside and never waivers no matter what. The best part about it is — You won’t be able to put it out even if you try.

As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Rob Murat.

Rob Murat is an accredited singer/songwriter/producer (recording artist — R&B/Soul — pop-leaning R&B) and actor originally from Queens, NY. His work has been featured on MTV, Vh1, BET, ESPN, CBS, TV One, HBO, and PBS achieving over 100 million impressions nationwide. After a recent string of periodic single releases, The Ivy League graduate and voting member of the Recording Academy is slated to release his yet-to-be-titled sophomore album in 2021. Highlights include production collaborations with Seandammit (Sia, Dr. Dre, Kelly Clarkson, Demi Lovato), Nate Williams (Rick Ross, Machel Montano, Verse Simmonds), and Optiks (Blitz the Ambassador, Talib Kweli, Styles P), with special guest appearances by former Dr. Dre protege, Jon Connor, among others. As an actor, Rob currently is a recurring guest star on the hit Netflix series, On My Block, which begins filming its fourth and final season this spring. He has made guest starring appearances on the FOX TV series, Bones, and in recurring episodes of the CBS TV series, Extant, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, opposite Academy Award winner, Halle Berry. Rob is also the narrating voice of a series of ESPN TV campaigns and various nationally televised award ceremonies.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I am the first born child of two hard working and accomplished upper middle class parents from Haiti. For many, that about sums up how I grew up. For those not well versed in the ways of Caribbean culture, in short, I was raised in an abundantly loving, yet, relatively strict household where education, hard work, discipline, self-respect, integrity, and determination were all repeatedly emphasized values. Successfully applying those values to just about everything I engaged in throughout my school years — from class work to extracurriculars, which included a lot of sports, music, and the arts — has led me to where I am today; and it will continue to guide me towards where I will end up in the future. I am endlessly grateful to my folks for that.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

It seems as though I have been involved in (and/or influenced by) the arts and entertainment since birth. My grandfather was a world renowned jazz and big band musician/composer from Haiti. His work exposed me to the concept of making a living in music. However, it wasn’t until high school that I seriously began thinking about it as a career. Of course, my parents giggled (heartily) at the thought of me studying music and the arts in college, so I went on to earn an Ivy League degree in applied science and management instead. Funny enough, it was during my college years that I was able to begin honing my skills as a singer and arranger as a member and director of one of the most popular acappella groups on campus.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Among the many experiences I have had in the world of entertainment is the time I found myself toe-to-toe acting one-on-one with Halle Berry on the set of her former CBS series, Extant, which was executive produced by Steven Speilberg. The fact that I was acting opposite THE Halle Berry, although intriguing on its own, was not the most interesting part of that scenario. More interesting was the fact that my audition for that project, which I was very proud of, was preceded less than a week or two earlier by what may very well be the worst audition I have ever had. It was for another project, and my audition was so miserably off that I very briefly questioned whether I should continue acting as a career. I decided to stick with it and my very next audition led me to a guest starring on a TV series opposite an Academy Award winner. Such is life.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Allowing self-doubt to creep into my mind after that terrible audition, although not funny, was definitely a mistake. The reason that audition was so miserable was because I was not as prepared as I could have been. From that day on, I have always held myself accountable for being impeccably off-book (memorized) and ready to crush it in any casting office I step into. The funny part is, I’ve always had that insatiable hunger to represent on stage in live music performances, it took that one bad audition to immediately summon that same focus and drive when auditioning for acting roles.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I am currently filming the fourth and final season of the Netflix hit, On My Block. I am really excited about this season. After spending a little over a year in quarantine, it feels good to be back on set, even with the extended safety and testing protocols in place to help fight this persistent pandemic. On the music side, I am equally excited about releasing a new album later this year. We have already started rolling out singles from the project and the feedback has been amazing! We are still finalizing songs for the album, but I can’t wait to share it with the world.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Wherever diversity is lacking, so is flavor. The entertainment industry thrives off of global consumption of its content. Content must reflect the variety of taste buds of its consumer base. The more ingredients… the better. The presence of a wide array of experiences, viewpoints, and cultures, results in a flavorful industry that promotes the telling of more dynamic stories, inspires the involvement of unique creatives from all walks of life, and, by default, increases the wellness and vibrancy of the industry as a whole. The presence of diversity has revolutionized and innovated Fashion, Food, Architecture, Tech, and just about every other industry in the world. Entertainment is no different.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Most things I needed to hear when I first started, I heard them. Certain themes were planted in me early and they continue to fuel my journey to this day. Here are three…

There is a solution to every problem — endure and solve it. My father studied engineering and was a professor for a good part of his career. More than too many enduring and often teary-eyed late night disciplinary homework sessions with him as tutor-in-chief (lol) taught me the value of never quitting and always finding a solution to any given problem. He continues to instill this in me by example.

If dishonesty is required, you don’t need to be engaged in it. My mother has and continues to teach me integrity both by council and by example. Whatever your goal is, exceeding it is possible without lowering your standards or resorting to unethical activity. I’ve been able to draw this conclusion simply by listening and watching my mom in action with both her family and accomplished career as a Chief of Operations within the United Nations.

I see greatness in you. This one may not have been said to me directly, but I internalized it as if it was. Ever since our parents made a habit of playing old Earl Nightingale motivational audio for me and my sister during long car rides, I took a subconscious liking to following and studying some of the best motivational speakers and authors I could find. Among them was Les Brown. I remember devouring his book, Live Your Dreams, in what for me was record time for an unassigned book in grade school. In it, he mentioned that his mother would explain to him that there is greatness in all of us, and that we are delivered here with a mission. That thought resonates with me until this day.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Know your WHY. Purpose will be the only thing that gets you past the hurdles. Knowing exactly why you are going after whatever it is you are going after will eventually get you there. This reason must be deeply personal and has to mean a lot to you. Your why is similar to a flame that burns somewhere inside and never waivers no matter what. The best part about it is — You won’t be able to put it out even if you try.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Social media and Traditional News outlets are saturated with troubling news happening around the world. A cool movement would be a “see good… do good movement” where more and more positive news and current occurrences are highlighted, celebrated, and in turn, replicated.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My wonderful parents, for reasons already stated above.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I have so many favorite quotes. I was known in college for being the quote guy. Cool quotes are a staple on my IG and other social accounts. This paraphrased quote from an unknown source is one of my absolute favorites:

“The person who does not believe it can be done should not interrupt the person doing it.”

I choose to be the one who sees it, believes it, and does it. And I’ve made it a general practice to either steer clear of (or ignore) naysayers.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Mahershala Ali. He is one of several actors and public figures I follow closely, study, and respect. Although he has been in the game for a while, it feels as though he is continually breaking through to higher levels. Getting a breakdown of the industry from his vantage point may help as I approach more and more breakthroughs of my own and figure out how I can be of most value to others within the industry as a whole.

How can our readers follow you online?

My official website is // My twitter: // My IG: Thanks so much for this opportunity to be included in your publication.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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