Interview: Robyn Sherwell
Robyn Sherwell is not one to rely on over-produced backing tracks to carry her music; her voice floats effortlessly across mellow electro-soul beats to create an intimate and heartfelt listening experience. With her highly anticipated debut album due for release on March 25th, Exposed pulled her aside for 5 minutes for a quick chat about all things music.
Hi Robyn, what are you up to today?
Rehearsing for tour. I’m doing shows all over the UK from March 16-23rd before my album comes out March 25th.
Name three things that you can see.
Tea, endless cables, my laptop.
What was your childhood like growing up in Guernsey? Do you think life growing up on a secluded island influenced the music?
I think the natural beauty of the island definitely inspires my writing – there’s an oceanic theme I keep coming back to. I had a very lucky childhood – beaches, clean air, and lots of freedom and independence from a very young age as the island was pretty safe.
The new album focuses a lot upon love and relationships; is there a particular relationship the album was based upon, if so, were there any fears concerning their opinion of the record?
There are definitely personal experiences behind the songs – that’s the nature of my writing on this album really, it’s quite emotionally exposing. But no, I don’t have any fears in releasing it, I haven’t even really thought about that. I reckon I’d be a pretty crap songwriter if I did – how would I write anything with any depth if I feared exploring my experiences creatively? And I think that whilst a song may be inspired by the circumstances of a particular relationship, in time it becomes a thing in its own right – people read their own stories into it, relate to it in their own way.
You’ve also covered SBTRKT, as well as a haunting cover of ‘Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac, is it fair to say you have eclectic taste?
Yes, fair enough! Recently I’ve been listening Lake Street Dive’s newest album, Side Pony – I loved their first two. Their recordings have that raw, all in one room, one-take quality. I’ve been enjoying Jono McCleery’s latest album Pagodes too.
Producer David Kosten has worked with Bat for Lashes and Everything Everything before – what was it like recording in that company?
Hilarious. There were lots of stupid YouTube videos and burger lunches, and obviously it was very creatively rewarding too. It was fun as well as inspiring to develop my songs with him.
You’re now based in London – has your song writing changed since being in such a different environment? Was there a bit of a culture shock?
Believe it or not, Guernsey is only a 40 minute flight from the mainland (as we affectionately call it). Although I grew up there from when I was seven, before that we had actually moved house (and continent) several times. If anything I’m used to starting over! But it is fair to say being in such an urban environment in London is a hard contrast to having spent so many years so close to the sea. I do miss that.
You signed to Birdland Records in 2013, how has that experience been?
It’s been great to have some financial support for the creative work I’m doing.
You are putting on your dream gig, which three acts do you put on the bill?
Joni Mitchell, Foy Vance, and Donny Hathaway. In a small dark room, no more than 100 capacity. iPhones are left at the door or you can’t come in. No filming, no phoning. Just music, experienced in the moment. That’s my dream gig anyway!
Thanks very much Robyn!
Robyn Sherwell plays Picture House Social 17th March, to buy tickets head HERE.
For more information about Robyn Sherwell head over to her website HERE.