Artist Spotlight: Ed Robinson
By Hillary Hedstrom
There are two fast ways out of Spanish Town, Jamaica: crime and music. For Ed Robinson, crime was overrated. He’s been in the music industry for well over 30 years, but has been making music his whole life. He was inspired by the people around him playing and performing and he fell in love.
Less than a year after he started playing, he was out. It was an environment where, no matter if you choose music or crime or another path, you have to learn fast. “If you can’t learn what they’re trying to teach you in a week, you’re out of there,” Robinson said.
He started out as a drummer in a hotel band. He spent seven or eight years entertaining tourists to the island, learning all genres and popular songs. If a tourist requested “Purple Rain” he had to be ready to play “Purple Rain.” “If you can pluck it, hit it, or bang it like a piano, I can play it,” he said, noting that he can’t play woodwinds or horns because it was not available at that point.
Recently, he’s come out with an album of covers called On Covers II. That, and the first one On Covers, are full of songs that he played while on the hotel circuit like “How Deep Is Your Love” and “Purple Rain.”
He made the move from drummer to engineer to singer. He doesn’t have a favorite project or person or anything that he’s made. He compared picking a favorite to choosing a favorite child. You just can’t. He’s learned things from everyone that he’s worked with and has different memories tied to each project.
He does say that the two songs that have special meaning are “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” and “Ain’t That Loving You” because they were the songs that gave him notoriety and made him who he is today.
With all of the genres and sounds he’s played, his second favorite is R&B music. When Jamaican music moved from Ska to Rocksteady to Reggae, R&B was the biggest influence. Older reggae artists were influenced by the likes of Lionel Richie and James Brown. The current sound coming out of Jamaica is influenced more by trap.
He would describe his music as simple because it comes easy to him and doesn’t take a ton of effort. He usually works alone and has been performing all of the instruments on his records for a long time, since before it was cool. The only other performer he knew of doing it at the same time as him was Prince.
Although "On Covers II" just dropped, that was a project that had been in the works for years. He is preparing to drop a new album titled "Not History, My Story" about him growing up and his story. It’s been in the works for about a year. It was put on the back-burner because it was originally supposed to come out in March of this year. Right now it’s in the mastering and first listening stages but we can expect it out in late 2020/early 2021.
His United States base is in Brooklyn, NY, but he’s currently in Florida opening a new branch of his business: Reggae Global Entertainment. They have everything from a recording studio to a video house to a radio station where he goes live every Wednesday and Thursday.
And how has the pandemic changed his life? It really hasn’t. He’s a self-professed studio rat. He’s used to working alone and rarely going outside. He has to be reminded to wear a mask when on the rare occasion that he leaves.
**Video interview coming soon**
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