FAIRFIELD — Ruben “Matai” Oriol-Rivera and Bobby Ellison, also known as “Bobby E.,” met as cast members of Solano College Theatre’s “Rent” about five years ago.
That friendship recently expanded into the music studio as the pair worked together on Ellison’s new single, “Groove Me.”
Oriol-Rivera provided the music and some rap vocals, Ellison did the lyrics and lead vocals. Once he heard the music, Ellison said the lyrics flowed. Oriol-Rivera loved what he heard and recorded the single in his studio.
The record is a dream come true for Ellison. Not only does it mean he’s launched a music career with “zero dollars,” but he also hopes it’s something that will move people’s hearts. The lyrics center on one man’s attraction to another.
“The lyrics are respectful,” said Ellison, who is gay.
“With music being the universal message, I hope it opens a lot of minds to what he’s trying to do,” Oriol-Rivera said.
The song is great for anyone needing some encouragement, Ellison said.
They are hoping to shoot a video for the song but have run into some resistance from videographers who don’t agree with the song’s subject, Oriol-Rivera said.
Both said they are tapping into a market many are afraid to pursue.
“I know I fit in somewhere,” Ellison said, adding that artists such as Frank Ocean and Adam Lambert are openly gay.
“Groove Me” was released a few weeks ago. There are two reviews, both positive, for the song on iTunes. One mentions that the song makes him miss the 1990s.
“I loved that era,” Ellison said. He listened to artists such as New Edition and Bell Biv DeVoe.
In 1988, the band Guy released a single called “Groove Me,” which hit No. 4 on the R&B charts. Ellison said he loved that song, but never dreamed that 15 years later he’d be penning a tune with the same name.
Ellison is focused on music as he settles into life in Santa Rosa. He’s already working on his next single.
He auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” earlier this year. He also tried out for “The X Factor” and “The Voice” in past years.
Oriol-Rivera just finished a new record, “Crazy Beautiful Love,” and will be featured in the play “Enslaved,” which opens Aug. 15 in Sacramento.
“Groove Me” was released on Oriol-Rivera’s new record label, his own.
“What better way to launch it,” Oriol-Rivera said.
Oriol-Rivera’s music can be found at www.youtube.com/user/Mateezy.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.