MEET THE JOBURG FINALISTS: RED ROBYN
November 28, 2018
The Grand Prize at the Battle of the Bands is the once-in-a-lifetime chance to join the star-studded, line-up of AFROPUNK JoBurg 2018 at Constitution Hill on New Year’s Eve. But the Battle of the Bands is not only an opportunity for a big break most musicians seek in their careers, it is also an occasion for South African artists to showcase their music, their creative spirit and their artistry to the AFROPUNK audience. So this week, we’re spotlighting all eight finalists, asking them questions about who they are and what this moment means to them.
Next up is Red Robyn, a singer and multi-instrumentalist from The Bluff who say she makes music for “dreamers.”
What is you name, your age, and the instrument that you play?
My name is Red Robyn. I am 23. I play guitar and piano, but guitar mostly for stage, and piano for writing at times.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Durban South Africa. I grew up in Wentworth, and later moved to The Bluff where I live now.
What are your favorite things about where you are from?
My favourite thing about The Bluff is the beach and the culture. The two can’t really be separated — the chilled aura of the ocean sort of extends to the community and the spirit of oneness and acceptance. The Bluff is really a place where race and culture bleed into each other to create a beautiful melting pot of diversity in terms of lifestyle. Growing up as a coloured/mixed-race female in a post-Apartheid society, The Bluff always felt like a safe place to just be myself. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s definitely my favourite place, even though its sorta seen as a dangerous / low-class area.
Give us a short description of the kind of music you make.
I have several avenues of making music: I collaborate with electronic producers often, where I sharpen my songwriting skills and focus on creating great songs melodically and lyrically. I also have my solo work that I generally release on Soundcloud as sort of like my sonic blog, where I write songs from scratch on my acoustic guitar. My solo work has several lives. I try to produce them electronically just so people can listen to them online, but most of them I only play live and you won’t find them online. They’re a fusion of jazz, folk and soul, sometimes a bit of rock and roll, and drum & bass.
If there was one or two core thoughts or ideas that you want your music to convey, what are they?
I try to communicate my personal discourse because the personal is political. Even heartbreak.
What are your musical dreams and aspirations? Not fame-wise, but creatively. What do you think you can do with music?
I like to think of myself as an artist using sound as my primary medium — [though] moods , tones and soundscape are very important to my solo work. I think my work has the potential to cross the line toward performance art while still maintaining a commercial reach. I think we, as artists, have a responsibility to hold up a mirror to society and say, “Hey this is what the world looks like to me right now,” because most people are going about their lives looking at their shoes. I think music has the power to wake people up to greater realities. Ultimately, I want to jab people into a new reality and give hope for better days.
Name one artist that you would like to collaborate with? What do you think that collaboration would sound like?
I would like to collaborate with Beyonce, I think the collaboration would sound like peach ice tea on a Friday evening, sweet and dark.
What are you most looking forward to if you win the Battle of the Bands? What do you think winning could do for you?
I am most looking forward to playing with my best friends. I think relationship is one of the finer gifts in life, and I really can’t compare the feeling of living a dream with your closest friends to much else on Earth. I think winning and being able to play on the main stage will graduate my music career to the next level. I’ve been dreaming of playing festivals and big stages since I was a little girl, and I believe that winning will mean that I am another step closer to seeing my destiny fulfilled.
Anything else you want to say to the AFROPUNK audience as a way of introduction?
Yes, I think if you’re someone who questions things and seeks truth you might find parts of your consciousness lingering in my lyrics or hanging on my melody lines. I am slightly esoteric but not without purpose. I believe in the concept of insignificant significance where not everything is results-orientated, and not everything can be measured. Despite my medium being music I am on a journey, the journey of a dreamer, and I think other dreamers will identify with the ideas and messages carried through the music I make.
READ MORE ABOUT THE REST OF THE AFROPUNK JOBURG BATTLE OF THE BANDS FINALISTS: