With such richly sweet and soulfully smooth vocals, it’s no wonder Mike Robledo wears the moniker Mexican Chocolate. The full-time family man and part-time Ray Prim wingman has developed into one of Austin’s most beloved male vocalists and is by far one of the most welcoming entertainers to be around. He’s a passionate father of three, with a huge laugh and joyfully infectious disposition that immediately attracts. I suppose, technically, Mexican Chocolate’s title in Ray Prim’s band would be ‘backup singer.’ But, to witness him perform, it’s immediately evident that Mexican Chocolate is so much more than backup. Prim may sing the lead…but, it’s Mexican Chocolate that paints the canvas with a sugary sweet coating evocative of his namesake.
Mexican Chocolate is still working to define his own sound. But, with the help of Prim and the city’s support behind him, this smooth vocalist is well on his way towards something big. Track Rambler caught up with MC prior to Ray Prim & Band’s Unplugged at The Grove show on June 22. Hear what he had to say about family and future below.
You’re a loving husband and full-time family man. How do you balance a musician’s schedule with your personal life and still keep everyone happy?
Honestly, man, I can do it because of my wife, Rita. Without her help I wouldn’t be able to balance all of this. She’s at home right now with the kids…taking care of them, feeding them, giving them their baths and getting them ready for bed. They’ll be in bed by the time I get home. If it wasn’t for her and family members like my mom, and my mother-in-law I couldn’t to do this.
Ray Prim & Band was recently awarded a large grant from Black Fret and with that comes a few requirements such as touring outside of Austin. Will you be missing family time on the road soon?
We just got back from doing a couple of shows in Houston. We were set up to be really busy in July…just Ray and me. But, unfortunately, Ray’s going to have shoulder surgery soon. So, all of those plans have been put on hold for the time being.
Ray half-jokingly considers you the ‘true talent’ of the band. Does it ever get difficult having to carry the old man all the time?
Naw, man. I couldn’t do this without Ray and his insight. His vision has given me a vision of what I want for myself and what I want for the band. I want to put out the best music, the best product for people to enjoy and have fun listening to.
With that being said, do you ever see yourself putting out a Mexican Chocolate project?
Yeah! Right now, I’m going through the process of trying to find my own sound, you know? I could easily just put something out. But, that’s not what I want to do. I want it to be ‘me’ and I want it to not sound like everybody else. So, as soon as I figure that out…you’ll see something.
What are you and the band working on right now?
Well, actually we just had a live album come out, Live at Strange Brew Lounge Side. We did that with Goose Creek Records and we just finished recording the studio album. It’s in the process of getting mixed right now and then it will move on to be mastered. We’re trying to put that out in September. But, with Ray’s surgery, it may have to wait until October.
Well, us here at Track Rambler can’t wait to hear it. Always a pleasure talking with Mexican Chocolate.
Take care. Hope to see you at the show.
Photos By: Corey Mendez