You can’t talk about legends of the Wales music scene without talking ultimate 70s sex icon Tom Jones, but this time around, we think we will.
Willow Robinson is a Welsh singer-songwriter, who believe it or not, is also a “planet earth based Singer,” according to his Facebook page, which is pretty assuring. Everything is eco-friendly these days, and Robinson is no different.
Robinson is riding the high off of his latest single and music video, an acoustic rock tune entitled, “Hope,” off of his new EP Winter. The song takes you on a pleasant and ensuring ride, and the fun acoustic introduction is only exceeded by the heavy-hitting rock chorus. It’s got all kinds of unique musical accents and sounds going on in the background throughout, and the production values are damn impressive.
Robinson harnesses almost a Hozier-like power behind his voice, and I even got a hint of Scott Weiland/Stone Temple Pilots out of the chorus. It’s a jam for sure, with an emotional bridge that cruises to a sure-fire victory.
We asked him some questions to learn more about him as an artist, his music, musical heroes, and much more.
First things first: where are you from and what’s your favorite thing about living there?
I am from the English/ Welsh border, but I was born in Los Angeles. My parents moved back to England right after I was born as it was a crazy time in LA: the Northridge earthquake and the Rodney King Riots scared them off. My favorite thing about growing up in Wales is the tranquility, space and fresh air.
How do you feel your upbringing there has shaped your music?
Massively. I tend to go for a more organic sound, with lots of live instruments. My lyrics are also quite often related to nature and the romanticism it inspires.
What inspired your most recent EP, specifically the song “Hope?”
I wrote it during the harsh winter onslaught that you endure living in Britain. It’s freezing and gets dark at 4pm; generally a tough time. But the song is about keeping hope alive when the land is totally bleak. Incubating and growing, in preparation for springtime.
I saw on your website you’re associated with Ocean Groan Music. Can you describe the journey from getting in contact with that label to releasing your EP with them?
My girlfriend at the time lived in Los Angeles, so I went to visit her. It was a weird time as I was totally lost after one of my managers passed away. My musical direction was very undefined, so I left my trust in the universe to offer some clarity. I was doing some songwriting sessions out in LA to pass the time and ended up writing a great song with the production team Ocean Groan Music. The day before my flight home to England, they called me up and urged me to cancel my flight, stay in LA and record an album with them. That same day my girlfriend and I broke up, so I was in a mentally turbulent place. But I decided to cash in my entire life in London and follow the omens. I stayed in the US, moved to the desert for a year, and recorded my debut album, of which the EP ‘Winter’ is the first installment.
What has your day-to-day been like during these quarantined times?
Honestly, life hasn’t changed a whole lot. I spend most of my time writing music, practicing, and drawing anyway. The one thing I’ve started doing a lot of is live streaming to compensate for all the canceled gigs, which has been so great! So I’m happy to have discovered that.
Are there any contemporary artists you’re feeling especially inspired by?
I loved Michael Kiwanuka’s new album! Also my friends Lime Cordiale who are going from strength to strength and proving that you can achieve your dreams if you keep it moving and persevere.
Any oldies you’re gravitating toward at the moment?
Oldies are usually my go-to. My friend recently introduced me to Goodie Mob, been really enjoying their album Still Standing. Also been on a bit of a Nirvana kick. “Civil War” by Guns N Roses, “When The Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin.
If you could have a coffee or beer with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
It’s always tricky meeting your idols, hopefully they live up to your expectations. But probably John Lennon, or Jimi Hendrix. Those guys seemed to have their heads screwed on.
Any big plans to follow through on once the pandemic is over?
Release the other three EP’s throughout the year and keep it building. By the time it’s all over I hope to be able to jump right on a tour and take this whole thing to the next level. I have big dreams to fulfill.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I’m pretty shy and introverted at times. People assume from my public image that it’s the exact opposite. That always surprises me. I guess usually you see things for face value.
What’s one movie and one book you’d recommend people experience while quarantining at home?
The movie Heat. Absolute masterpiece with an incredible cast. And for a book, I’d go with The Count Of Monte Cristo, such an amazing story, beautifully written, and big enough to consume you whilst quarantine continues.