(B.A. Communications, ’11)

I grew up in a musical family and learned different instruments. But I didn’t know for sure that this was what I wanted to do, or could do, with my life until the month I spent as a volunteer driver for the Sundance Film Institute Summer Labs. Sundance has a weeklong (or so) workshop for film composers and that’s where I met composers Harry Gregson-Williams (“The Chronicles of Narnia,” “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Shrek,” etc…) and James Newton Howard (“The Hunger Games,” “The Dark Night,” “The Happening,” etc…) along with other musicians/composers who were nice enough to talk with me about their work and let me check out their studios. The sound engineers even let me try out one of the audio set-ups. After that I knew I wanted to write music for film. Over the next year I played with other musicians and groups, tried to learn more about the industry, and gathered up enough courage to say this was what I wanted to do with my life. Amazingly enough I found an opportunity to be an Artist-in-Residence and I’m finally pursuing my dream.

Official website:

www.arobinsonmusic.com

Social media:

Facebook

SoundCloud

YouTube

Photos

Albums:

Falling Up (2011) – This album is all about the Irish tin whistle! Songs surround this instrument and include influences from acoustic, electronic, world, and rock sounds.

Euphoria (2012) – This my first piano album accompanied by other instruments across a wide range of styles.

Whisper in the Storm – Acoustic EP (2013) – This is my first lyrical album and it’s just me and my guitar, except for the tin whistle in the first song.

Self-described style:

I think of it as journey music and conversational. My music surrounds the idea of change, movement, self-exploration, and questioning – something I think we all go through – and the conversations we have surrounding that journey either with others or just within ourselves.

Instruments and vocals:

I play piano, guitar, Irish tin whistle and mandolin. I also sing. People have described my singing style as chill and conversational.

Performance groups:

I have played with a couple groups in the past few years. Yellow House Road was my family’s band and we’ll still have reunion gigs. This year I’ve started playing with a group of people and we’ve called ourselves The Suitcase Set, inspired by the suitcase drumset our drummer threw together one day for a practice.

Interesting collaborations:

I haven’t collaborated with too many people this past year. However I have been contributing to a lot of projects through the online collaborative production company HitRecord. I had one song featured in their last TV season and they are looking at other songs being used in the upcoming season. I also just finished playing the tin whistle for an album by artist Guarangi Devi which will be released soon.

Influences/mentors:

My influences come from artists in a wide range of styles. Some of my favorites are Sarah Jarosz, Florence and the Machine, The Decemberists, Monsters of Men, Mumford & Sons, Kacey Musgraves, and random underground groups. I’ve also been very lucky to have met many talented musicians in the past couple years who have been so kind in giving me advice: Tangled Blue, Luke Spehar, and Monroe Crossing, just to name a few.

Favorite band/musician/composer:

Aside from the bands I named above, I also enjoy the talent of Xavier Rudd, Radical Face, and Eddie Vedar. I can’t pick a favorite! When it comes to composers, my favorites are behind some of the best film scores out there: Hans Zimmer, Harry Gregson- Williams, James Newton Howard, A.R. Rahman, and James Horner. I got to meet Harry Gregson-Williams (“The Chronicles of Narnia,” “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Shrek,” etc…) and James Newton Howard (“The Hunger Games,” “The Dark Night,” “The Happening,” etc…) when I was a driver that summer at Sundance Film Institute.

Favorite song:

I can’t pick a favorite song by someone else, because I have too many. But my favorite one so far that I’ve written is probably Whisper in the Storm which is the title track on my latest EP. I’ve found so many people who listen really relate to the message.

Pieces with a special backstory:

Whisper in the Storm” was written when I was living in D.C. I was working (volunteering) for a non-profit and had spent a lot of time digging deeper into social justice and environmental issues, writing letters on those issues and going to rallies.

One night I just felt really frustrated and defeated. I picked up a guitar and the words just came out. I was listening to a lot of Of Monsters and Men at the time so I know they influenced the melody.

Earliest music memory:

My family was getting ready to move to another house in another state when I was 6 or 7. I think we had just gotten a piano, because I remember being so curious about it and poking at the keys before they moved it onto the truck. When we got to our new house I immediately started playing and composing.

Memorable gig:

I sometimes go home for reunion gigs with my family band Yellow House Road at the Cup O’ Joy Coffee House in Green Bay, Wis. It’s great to play with my Dad and brother, but also to see people enjoy our songs and “playful” banter.

Full-time or “day job”:

I am currently living in a young adult intentional community on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. We are called Wopila House, a community based on prayer, hospitality, and listening. I am the artist-in-residence and, besides working on music, I volunteer at the local non-profit radio station creating commercials and PSAs, as well as volunteer with a few different youth programs.

Goals:

My biggest goal is to become a film composer for big feature or documentary films. I also hope to continue songwriting and find outlets to use music as the voice of issues that I am very passionate about.

Stritch music memories/influences:

When I was a freshman, I started a club called Howling at the Moon which was just basically a band that would find a place for anyone who wanted to play music. We played together for a couple years, including at one of Stritch’s traditional finals’ week pancake dinners. That was probably the best gig we had, because everyone was just having fun playing together and some of the students eating got into the music, too.

Once we also played at Stritch’s Battle of the Bands. The night of the event, our talented guitarist got really sick and couldn’t play. We had one song that had a significant guitar solo in it, so my solution was to play the kazoo for the solo… while I was also playing the keyboard and in between singing back-up. I think people got a kick out of it.

Ongoing Stritch connections:

I visit whenever I’m in Milwaukee and go see professors and staff, usually without telling them. I like it to be a surprise.

Contact:

mail.annarobinson@gmail.com