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Roster interview - Robbie Jay

How has it been working under lockdown? Could you see yourself working like this in the long term?

At first the thought of remote sessions and working, in the physical sense, solely on your own was quite daunting, but I think that was because this has all been a world of the unknown, and also slightly unnatural. As time has gone on however, I think everyone has gotten used to it and it’s actually worked out pretty well. Personally, I would like to do more work from home now as it’s proven to be really productive but I think it’s super important to be able to get out and meet people, work in different environments to stimulate your mind and keep inspired. I’d say a nice balance of remote sessions and studio sessions would be ideal for the future.

When did you first start writing songs and why did you decide to pursue it as a career?

In talking to my peers within the industry I think I was a bit of a late bloomer! I was 16 when I started to learn the guitar after seeing John Mayer live at Brixton Academy. From there on in, everything has just been a happy accident. Music was never really ‘the plan’ at first and I actually had no idea that a songwriter was a legitimate job. It wasn’t until I started to get into studio sessions and met people that have taught and led me to the next stages in becoming a ‘full time songwriter’, including my amazing manager Vicky Dowdall and Ryan Farley and all the great people at Cooking Vinyl. It still doesn’t feel like a job most of the time if I’m honest, I’m certainly lucky to be this far.

Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? How do your ideas come to life?

I think each time can be so different in terms of how ideas start. I come from a background of writing songs on my own in my bedroom with my guitar and I did that for a long time (before co-writing sessions). Lockdown has allowed me to get back to that, which has been great, and is where my most personal songs tend to stem from. Sometimes we’ll get into a session and a producer will already have a rough track idea which leads the songwriting for that day. I very much believe in melody over everything, not to say great lyrics and a great concept aren’t important because they 100% are, but if the melodies feel good and flow from one to the next, before any lyrics are added, you are already onto something great, so I tend to always start there.

Who have you been writing with recently? Is there anyone in particular that you enjoy working with the most?

During lockdown I’ve tried to keep my ‘session circle’ quite small and with people I feel comfortable with and have built a great working relationship with prior to lockdown, which has proven to be very efficient. There are writers such as Sarah de Warren and Raphi and producers including James Lewis and Owen Roberts that I’ve really been able to carry the great ‘real life’ writing partnership vibe into these remote sessions and that’s been an enjoyable experience.

Are there any tracks which have been released recently that you're particularly proud of?

I think I’m proud of all of my releases. As writers/producers/artists we work so hard every day to create great music and a lot of the songs we write only ever get to be enjoyed by ourselves and our computer hard drives. When a song does make it to release and is shared with the world then it has the potential to make a positive difference to someone’s day and that’s what this whole thing is about for me.

What do you think makes a song stand out and resonate with listeners?

Honestly, I think this one is pretty simple, just write something that you believe in as the creator. If it doesn’t feel right, or isn’t true to yourself, I think that will be reflected in how people receive the song.


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