My love for music started as early as childhood when Pops put me on old Motown records, and when my grandmother spent the last of remaining government assisted pension to buy my first saxophone in 4th grade. Grew up on Jazz and R&B. But I got my first taste of the camera on the first season of American Idol season 1, and have been at it ever since; that was almost 15 years ago. On a seriously level career wise, I have been more active the past 3 years or so. It’s a constant grind and i wouldn’t have it any other way.
I usually don’t like to dwell on past accomplishments because you lose your edge. This industry is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ type of business. But I'm proud of some of the milestones. I honestly have been told ‘no’ a million more times than I have been told ‘yes’, and I am the epitome of an artist that has maximized the most out of every single opportunity, big or small. Touring with R&B legends, going on my first promotional tour last year, stints on national television shows and regional radio, traveling for festivals, selling out local headline shows consistently, to building an organic die-hard fan base on social media have all been wonderful. I like what we have accomplished on my resume so far, and when I say we, I mean ‘we’ because I didn’t do any of this alone. There are SO MANY people who have helped me get to where I am at today. And though I am proud, I am definitely not content and want more. This can be a gift and a curse because it sometimes shows that your ungrateful, which is certainly not the case. I'm just one of the most ambitious people you will ever meet in your life. Besides, when you can start trimming your bio down to make room for bigger accomplishments, that's a good thing right?
As a kid I was always artistic. I loved to draw and write down stories in my head. By the time, I was in junior high and high school, I was already writing lead sheets and solo music for my saxophone. But I was always intrigued by pop music. I studied all the greats from all different types of music. I took pride in being a musicians musician, because I could sight read and I could improvise. When I was featured with a solo in Jazz band, I honestly just played notes and chords that felt good or right; I played off of emotion. Lyrically, I came into my own straight out of high school, as I started to write about ‘life’ and one of the first things I experienced was a heartbreak. Even without music, I just started to write, write, write, especially about how I felt. I loved the sound of making words rhyme and creating catchy stories that captured emotions. Soon local producers began seeking me out and I was now creating songs with music. I was always the type that liked to write alone because I could get into my own element. A typical way I would make records would be that I would go to the studio and vibe out to some tracks. I would immediately choose the tracks that moved me spiritually, and I would go home lock myself in my bedroom with my headphones and write. I was fortunate to work with producers who would give me the freedom to write, but as my career moved forward I began working with industry professionals who began to criticize my writing and help me become a better writer and artist overall. Soon I learned that collaboration writing made my records have that much more impact . I do all my own vocal parts and have been lucky to work with some of the best vocal producers in the game. I am really thriving making records on the spot now because I am much more comfortable and experienced in my artistry. There have been many nights of re-recordings, and re-writings because as a singer, you want your best voice and the best song possible; and those take hours upon hours to record. It baffles my mind when I hear, ‘singers’ say ‘Shit I recorded my parts in an hour’. if you have the right engineer and mixer, your vocals will shine and I have been blessed to have both
“You will NEVER make it in the industry as a lead singer”. “ You’re voice is ok”. “You may have a shot as a writer but only as a writer”. “Asian R&B singers are going against the grain in the industry”. I have always been the underdog my whole music career. And my audience today will say otherwise, only because of my accomplishments. But those accomplishments were a direct result of thick skin, the resiliency to take as many ‘rejections’ as possible and good old-fashion non-stop hard work. That's what motivates me. When I am told that I can’t do something, more than likely I am going to bust my ass and prove you otherwise. Been like that my entire career. Sometimes I surprise myself. I often ask, why don’t I just give this up? But it’s just not in my DNA and it’s not how I was made. It’s almost like a gift and a curse. I believe that it’s my work ethic that sets me apart and I take great great pride in that. Its not that I don’t pay attention to the ‘naysayers’. Its more about really paying more attention to yourself and the people who truly love you. To this day, I am never on the list of the best vocalists and that's fine. Because I like my voice and what I can do with it and I am peace with my artistry. I'm comfortable in my own skin and I know who I am and where I want to go. Confidence makes your voice sound that much better and its not always negative. Because I am motivated by love. I am motivated by my family. I am motivated by my fans. Any stage is a blessing. Whether its 10, 50, 100, 500, 5000, or 50000 in attendance, you will get the same passionate, high energy Rocky Sandoval performance. That's my guarantee. I am firm believer in God and I only hope that my plans are the same ones He set out for me because His plans are what make this whole thing go. I am motivated by leaving a legacy of creating great art that people can enjoy. I am in the business of selling emotions, not songs. That's what motivates me.