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A closeup of the wish tree at the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, FL. Here, I promised myself to realize my creative potential. I meant it.

A closeup of the wish tree at the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, FL. Here, I promised myself to realize my creative potential. I meant it.

The other evening I was at the South Jersey Writers meetup and I announced to my friend Glenn Walker that I like music again. The look on his face let me know it was a puzzling statement. It is not a surprising concept to me, but I was surprised to hear those words coming out of my mouth and to another person.

It was a somewhat equivocal statement. I always like music. I often require lots of silence around me, but I leave space in my world for singing when the spirit moves and listening to favorites (Today it’s Wall of Voodoo.). That said, I have felt a separation from making music for a while. I’ve written an awful lot about not writing, so I won’t bore you or myself with that. What used to feel like an uncomfortable alienation from creative source feels like synergy now.

Even though I haven’t produced many songs of late, I am very happy with “Everybody Does the Best They Can” that I performed with Jessica Floresta at the Soma Center in Highland Park. There are more where that came from, still dwelling in my head. Now is the time for me to be gentle with myself and let the songs emerge when they will. I don’t mind the gentle reminders from Glenn, other friends, and potential collaborators. I am on the mission. I am also very aware of the value of the other creative things I am doing now and I feel at peace in following the trail of the creative impulses that are calling me.

My dreams have been inspiring in recent weeks. I’ve been enjoying writing them down and the morning contemplations that result. Being part of the Audacious Eleven podcast is one of my favorite expressions right now. Recent episodes have been about Luck in the Tarot, The Buddhist Excuse, People Behaving Badly, and What Hollywood Does to Our Favorite Books.

I have been very busy with SEO, Web Design, and Social Media Management. I really dig it. I used to keep my musical and creative writing life separate from any of my “other work.”  My experience of this is entirely different now. I appreciate the orderly and concrete more than some may imagine, and this branch of my work has given me a sense of much needed productivity and stability. It has been an important factor in my feeling that much happier in creative space. I have been working a lot my friend Brian Loebig at Loebig Ink. We met a number of years ago when he was booking shows at the 5th Street Coffeehouse in Philadelphia and he recruited me to perform.

In other news, two weeks ago my good friend Betty invited me to be an extra in her actor/producer brother’s comedy horror movie. It was a blast being a vampire for a day! Last weekend, I was invited to play guitar for the very talented Brienna DeVlugt for two very different happenings – a Lord & Taylor fashion show and later that same day for a West Philly community event. In February I created a workshop focusing on non-binary gender identity at the Poly Living conference. Sometimes no matter what I do, I perpetually feel less busy and less productive than I’d like to be, but as I say, I try to be gentle with myself and take time to appreciate this eclectic cycle of events.

I have had a lot of activity out in the world given the internal shifts and changes and inner work that has needed attention. I recently had the fastest end of major relationship and beginning of new major relationship I’ve ever experienced in my life. This has been a lot to process. I am trusting. My head and heart have been spinning now for the better part of a year, and now I find myself happy and centered in a space of love.

This year, there will be songs and I predict projects I haven’t even yet considered. I am in the mood to simply see what’s next. Right now life has a lot to do with peaceful enjoyment, finding – and creating – day-to-day stride, and nurturing precious new connections.

SkinnJakkit

Writer friends Glenn Walker and Becca Butcher recently asked me to provide a stop along The Rock Blog Tour for a North Carolina-based band called Skinn Jackitt, and I am glad I took on the opportunity.  I had been planning to put together an interview series for The Dream Between, and there’s no time like the present.  Skinn Jakkit has just released their self-titled album on November 5th.   You can pick it up here

Being the old folkie and punk rock girl that I am, I had to admit I am not as much the expert when it comes to the 70’s to 90’s heavy rock and metal that most influences this band.  I have always been fascinated and impressed by the intensity of metal fandom, however, and curious about how the business works for indie bands on that circuit.  Thanks to lead guitarist Barry Sams for the interview and the glimpse into the music and music business according to Skinn Jakkit.

1. You name check musical influences from the late 80’s and early 90’s. Aside from the general category, metal – and in my limited knowledge, there seem to be many subgenres of metal – what are the terms you use to describe your music?

We pull from a lot of subgenres in metal, such as thrash, groove, grunge, hair metal, southern rock and power metal. Each one of us has a different take, but an ideal mesh that makes us who we are. For instance, I (Barry) could pull a good Fear Factory feeling riff and Shane comes with his heavy Sabbath influence to help hone in our sound.

 2. Some punk rock is fairly similar to metal from a musical standpoint, but with some distinct differences, often in vocals and subject matter. Are you at all influenced by punk or other alt rock bands?

Of course. We love and respect all music types. Listening to our album, you will hear punk, thrash, hair metal, black metal, southern rock, and many others.

 3. For which other subgenre do you have the most affinity?

All the guys grew up when it was simply known as “Heavy Metal”, and it still is a good way to define us.  I’d say progressive metal.  But, sadly, people have to label everything so most can divide and not have it become just “music.”  I believe we all like something from every style out there from classical, country, metal, and hip hop. The subgenre divides most people in the music community and leaves little support as a whole. Our belief is a true musician can listen to and enjoy all music.

 4. What do you think generates the deeply devoted audiences for particular metal bands and for metal in general?

Every generation has their hero of rock. Growing up for us was Metallica, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath.  Then it was Nirvana, on to Avenged Sevenfold, and Five Finger Death Punch. Devotion to a band comes from several factors – the band breaks new sound territory, or just the need to fit into a group. Mainly, the music generally says something to us, we relate to the lyrics, and the music really fits and creates mood for us.

 5. How did you meet and begin working with your label and marketing representative?

In 2011, we submitted to several labels and shopped for a while before we signed with TMG (Tate Music Group). They gave us what we were looking for in a label. TMG contacted us via email, they sent us a contract to review, and the rest is history. Our relationship with TMG is a well-balanced machine. They have opened up doors and Marketing works very hard to help get us out there. We really enjoy being with TMG.  They allow us to be us, and didn’t come in and take over.

6. What is your strategy regarding the types of venues where you’ll seek to perform in support of your new self-titled album?

We are working on bigger venues with higher profile bands. We need to connect with larger audiences and gain support in their territories. Every venue has a place for us to develop and grow. Not all places are ideal, but a lot of clubs, music halls, and other establishments are desiring more original music. Our current game plan is to plant our feet in as many States we can for 2014.

 7. What are the other important ways you are getting the word out?  Do you have advice for others?

Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, You Tube, creating your own website. Allowing some of your music to be downloaded for free. You can’t be a social shut in.  Really network yourself. People still like the human touch.  Get out there and talk to people, club owners, bookers, and so forth. We have a manager to help us in other mediums. Whatever you can afford to do to gain any media acknowledgment, take advantage of it.

8. Tell us a bit about the most memorable show you’ve played so far.

Opening up for Eye Empire was our first big moment. We had such a small area to stand, if we took a step forward we would have fallen off the stage. Being there, sharing the stage with a well known nation touring band is surreal and a chance few bands get.

 9. What song or moment on the new recording is your personal favorite?

The recording process is always excitement and frustration rolled into one. You are creating songs that will be locked in for eternity. My favorite is a song called “Farther.” I love to jam it live and it has a power and groove that stays in your head.

 10. What are the things you would most like to achieve professionally and artistically?

Artistically we are always growing, changing, and evolving into our true selves. Every song we write feels better, stronger, and really defines what Skinn Jakkitt can accomplish. Professionally, we want this full time. To play music, being in a band, recording new songs, without having to rely on a 9 to 5 job. Plus selling 10 million CD’s wouldn’t be too bad.

 11. How do you think indie musicians can best help each other succeed?

Support, support and support. Find a band or several bands in your area to latch on to. Don’t be a leech or a drag. But having other artists on the same level and goals will help you grow, network faster, and be well known. There are always others who think they are better, will stab you in the back, and talk junk about you. But always let your music, your fans, and your strong (band connections) talk for you.

Visit Welcome To Hell for a list of the previous stops on The Rock Blog Tour.

 www.skinnjakkitt.com

Keep up with me, my music, other writings and happenings at www.robinrenee.com.

ol_velvet

I was very psyched to see my Halloween-themed  Warren Zevon article/playlist go live today on Biff Bam Pop.  My friend Glenn Walker, pop culture writer extraordinaire (Welcome to Hell, French Fry Diary) asked me to guest blog for the site and it was a pleasure to put together this piece.

I hope you like the alternative Halloween soundtrack.  Please read, listen, & share it!  I promise my next post will be about something other than WZ.  :-D

31 Days of Horror 2013: Guest-Blogger Robin Renee on Warren Zevon: On Beyond Werewolves

 

Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain.

tour bus, back

Yesterday, Glenn Walker posted the last piece on the Robin Renée Blog Tour on his blog, Welcome to Hell.  The original interview @ Biff Bam Pop! the day before ran so long that he rounded up some eclectic bits not included there for Odds & Ends.   What’s covered?  My jazzy version of Nick Lowe’s “Cruel to be Kind,” a makeshift Ouija board, true holiday sentiments and a bit of parody, some great new Mutant Mountain Boys videos, wighead art, a personal question (with some answers), and a 70’s smooth rock dude named Devo Dan. Odds and Ends –  It’s an aptly-named article, I’d say!

Check it out at The Robin Renée Blog Tour, Odds and Ends

Miss anything?  You can take the tour with this great recap.  It includes a synopsis and link for every stop along the way for the interviews, podcast discussion, videos, reviews, and info on the new single, “All I Am.”

Thank you so much to mastermind Glenn Walker and everyone who helped put this together.  It was busy and engaging and was a way I’d never reached out to new and old friends.  The tour bus is home now, but I’m already psyched for next time.

Photo by Jenn Phillips

Not much to say about this one – I’m just really happy with this interview.  Got to name check some of my favorite people, talk about my musical history with the band Spy Gods, and to take a look at some of the bigger questions on life and creative work.  – Nice roundup of rr live performance videos, too.   There’s really a lot in there.  Great job, Biff Bam Pop!

Read it here: Robin Renée – The Biff Bam Pop Interview

The blog tour ends tomorrow where it began –  at Glenn Walker’s blog,  Welcome to Hell.  I think some of the more off-beat outtakes from today’s interview might show up there.

Thanks for following along!

Love,

Robin

Devo Cat Listening Party

Glenn and Ray of the “weekly nerdout” known as the GAR! Podcast have a rule: They don’t discuss the podcast beforehand.  They just show up and hit record.  Glenn told me they bent that rule a little to prepare to be a stop along this week’s Robin Renée Blog Tour.   Luckily, whatever they talked about beforehand this time around took nothing away from the spontaneous, freewheeling conversation full of music geekery and beyond that ensued.  Here is the list of topics they compiled:

Robin Renee introduction / cat listeners / DEVO / Devo Dan / making music in the digital age / live music / cover songs / Elvis Costello / BeeGees / David Bowie / Ziggy Stardust / Fishbone / more DEVO / songwriting process / Kate Bush and revisions / deadlines / productivity / Cerebus by Dave Sim / distractions / the tree question / musical instruments / Prince covers / album covers / All I Am / The You Will Rise Project / the music / – See more at: http://www.garpodcast.com/#sthash.u3om7WrE.n7ibL7BP.dpuf

Listen in to the conversation here: GAR! Podcast Episode 16: Performing Artist Robin Renee.  I’ll be listening along with you to remember how we wound around to all these topics.  The standard interview this was not! – and that is a lot of fun and refreshing.  I’d love to be back on their show again soon.

Next up on the blog tour:  a comprehensive interview on the excellent pop culture site, Biff Bam Pop!

Robin Renée @ Empire Haven.  Photo by Joel Simpson.

Today’s blog tour stop takes me to the website of Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey.

Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey is a collection of short stories and slice-of-life tales from members of the South Jersey Writers’ Group.

But today, Marie Gilbert’s interview with me is featured on the site.  We cover a lot of ground in this one, including serious topics like the career pitfall of feeling less than enough and advice for young performers in a shaky, changing music business world. There are also fun references to my (very) early bands Solar Explosion and The Half Mann Band, J. R. “Bob” Dobbs, and The Barry Gibb Talk Show.  Balance in all things, yes?

Here’s the interview!   Super G Interviews the Very Talented Robin Renée

Check it out today.  Tomorrow I’ll be a guest on the GAR! Podcast with hosts Ray Cornwall and Glenn Walker.

Thanks for reading & listening.

 

ashford_castle_aerial_view

Today’s blog tour stop brings me to Patti O’Brien’s blog, A Broad Abroad.  I have enjoyed following her travels from time to time, so I’m honored she’d take a moment to write a bit about me, highlighting some of the places I’ve journeyed.

You can catch up with Patti’s discovery of Mantra-Pop, my upcoming trip to Canada (Finally!), and more here:

Robin Renee and Mantra-Pop

Tomorrow’s stop: A guest blog by Fran Metzman.  You can check it out here.

This. -  Robin Renée

I really love today’s stop on the Robin Renée Blog Tour.  My friend Glenn Walker has had This. on his iPod for a few months now, and it is clear he’s really been listening.  Coming from a perspective of someone with no background in kirtan, yoga, or concepts from those traditions, he took in the sounds, did a little research, offered his impressions of each song in turn, and gave me the chance to respond.  It was a great experience to hear what he had to say and to get a unique real-life glimpse into another person’s encounters, questions, and growing fondness for the music.  It was just as cool to take some time to respond to Glenn’s questions and impressions.  Even though it was a challenge to explain what, for the most part, lies beyond direct explanation, I still managed to find plenty to say.

Read Glenn’s great blog entry here: This. Song by Song.

Buy This. @ CD Baby or iTunes.

Remember to check out tomorrow’s travel-themed blog tour stop @ Patti O’Brien’s blog, A Broad Abroad.

Still on the (blog) tour bus.  With funny glasses.

Still on the (blog) tour bus. With funny glasses.

Author Marie Gilbert usually writes about zombies and the paranormal.  I *think* it constitutes taking a break from her usual topics to share an intro to my work, as she did yesterday on her blog, Gilbert Curiosities.  Thanks so much, Marie!  Later on the tour, Marie will post an interview she did with me.

Today, check out BeccaButcher’s Blog where she shared her impressions on my latest full-length chant recording, This., in Turn Up the Volume: Robin Renee.  I hope you will enjoy her take on it, as I did.  I especially enjoyed reading who she likened me to musically – it’s a comparison I haven’t heard before.

You can keep up with the tour tomorrow by heading back to Glenn Walker’s blog, Welcome to Hell, where he is going to share some of his thoughts in This.

Thanks for reading, commenting, picking up your copies of This. and the new song “All I Am,” and for all your blog tour support!

xx,

rr

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