Wednesday 3 April 2013

RFT Meets: Leanne Robinson

So in very late January I managed to meet up with Leanne Robinson, creator of the amazing Exhibit A EP for a quick interview after a similarly amazing performance at the Barfly in Camden. Then in mid February, all of the files disappeared, causing me to die a little inside. I then found them again in late March during a time when I was looking for any reason to not destroy my technologically obsolete laptop, and now in glorious early April, I present to you – A QUICK INTERVIEW WITH LEANNE ROBINSON!

“No not any! I do like the drink, but there’s no relation!” She proclaims in defence of allegations that she is affiliated with the Robinsons fruit drinks. A likely story I know, but after her stunning opening performance at Barfly, with vocals as sweet as hers the connection isn’t as nonsensical as it seems. She most certainly killed it, graciously sang it back to life, then killed it again, and made it all look effortless.

But is effortless the right word? Having been singing from a young age in choir and doing gigs all over the place, Leanne is far from a rookie in the game. “Singing wasn’t a choice; I didn’t choose to sing, I was born to” - and believe me it shows! Backed by a lively full band Leanne is truly in her element, achieving a level of comfort on the stage I once thought was reserved to those with several inch thick quilts and Egyptian cotton pillows. As she sings bathed in Barfly’s indigo spotlight, passion flows from her lungs creating an infectious vibe neither the crowd nor myself could ignore, forcing me to buss my signature cheeky two-step.

She says no connection.
I'm not convinced.
Leanne cites classic greats such as Nina Simone, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston as her main inspirations, seeking to learn from and outdo them wherever possible. However when it comes to modern inspirations, musical superpowers Beyonce and Emeli Sande take the limelight, alongside an artistic appreciation for Miguel, Bruno Mars and Frank Ocean. “When it comes to singers what catches me is tone. With Emeli it’s her tone; she may not be able to sing the highest but she’s true when she sings and writes very well, and that’s what I think makes a good artist”. And it’s clear she tries to emulate this in her own songs. Displaying professional level vocal and lyrical prowess in songs like Last Love or Taking It Back, as well as giving off an on stage energy that makes her performances (well at least the one at Barfly) exciting and memorable.

Finally in a world dominated by bad beaches and people who claim to be so different they're not even human, the talented Miss Robinson stands before me a truly delightful person who’s respectable, genuine and bar a sock and open toe shoe combination reminiscent of socks and sandals, beautiful. “The best way to be on stage is yourself; if you create something that’s not real people can’t relate to you and you can’t maintain it – it’s not you.” Words she clearly lives by. She’s herself on stage and in person, which adds to an endearing quality about her that just makes you want to shout “GO ON LEANNE!” in your strongest cockney voice whenever she performs.

And with that and a quick gift of a bottle of London’s finest Robinsons Apple & Blackcurrant squash, our meeting was over, as the busy singer shot off for another interview. But with a calendar full of shows and Exhibit B to drop at some point this year, 2013 is looking to be a big year for the young East London songstress, and I for one wish her all the best.

And below for some footage of Leanne’s performance at Barfly:

Review by MrReesh - What's your view of socks and sandals? Holla - Twitter: @MrReesh

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