Omar Afra
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Everything But Music: Robert Ellis

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Editor’s note: This is the first installment of Omar Afra’s off-the-wall interviews with some of Houston’s favorite musicians — except none of the questions are actually about music.


Although singer-songwriter Robert Ellis doesn’t seem live anywhere long enough to call it home, the folk-country guitarist’s Houston roots still run deeper than ever. Ellis’ upcoming U.S. tour launches in a month with a performance at Discovery Green on Thursday, June 2, just one day before the release of his fourth studio album, Robert Ellis.


FPH: Do you have any faith in the American political process? Will you be voting in the next election?

Robert Ellis: I vote. I voted in the primary. I will vote in the election. I’m not certain it matters, but I do it.


FPH: Describe your relationship with your mother.

Ellis: I see my mother as often as I can with all the touring and talk to her on the phone frequently. She went with me to vote in the primary at the public library in West Columbia. I’m sure we voted differently from one another. I love her more than anything.


FPH: What is your earliest childhood memory involving feces?

Ellis: In first grade, a kid in my class shit in the urinal in the boys bathroom. I find it very interesting that someone could so fundamentally misunderstand how the bathroom works. I think about this often. I wonder what he’s up to now. Henry Gilbert. Age 9.


FPH: What do you imagine Houston will be like in 2024?

Ellis: Gentrified Atlantis.


FPH: What sport are you most adept at? Care to get dunked on?

Ellis: Somehow I’m scary good at dodgeball. I know that isn’t a “sport” in the way you would probably like it to be, but I seriously slay. I also still love to skateboard and can land a kickflip. When I was in elementary school, it was the golden age of the Chicago Bulls. At the time I thought I wanted to play basketball when I grew up but I was never very good at it.


FPH: What drug have you never tried that you really, really wanna try but are afraid?

Ellis: I’ve done every drug I’ve ever wanted to do. I’ve never shot up heroin. From what I hear it feels incredible.


FPH: Is God transcendent, imminent, or both? Wait, aren’t you an atheist?

Ellis: God is a word.