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article imageInterview with Robby X Special

By Adrian Peel     Dec 8, 2014 in Music
The talented Australian singer and wife of country icon Lee Kernaghan talks to Digital Journal about her first solo outing.
Robby X recently released her debut album, Obsession, a finely-crafted piece of work that deservedly broke into the Top 30 of the iTunes pop album chart, an impressive achievement for a lady who has spent a long time in the shadow - mainly through choice - of her more famous husband.
After years spent co-writing songs with Lee Kernaghan, singing backing vocals on his tracks and even shooting the cover art for some of his albums, Robby has finally stepped out on her own. Obsession contains 12 tracks, nine of which she wrote by herself and three of which were written with outside help.
"It's a big relief for me to finally have the album out," states the very friendly singer-songwriter, who has been able to count on the full support of her husband right from the start. "So I'm just riding the wave - it's all new for me. It's a real thrill, though and I'm very happy with the way things are rolling out."
"I think you write songs over a long period of time," explains the mother-of-two, filling me in on when the lengthy process of writing and recording the record began, "and when you finally decide to put an album together you're not really sure which songs will make it on to it.
"I guess I've been writing the songs on and off for about five years or so and the recording process and the production process took me probably the best part of two years. I guess you could call it an obsession!"
Was one of the reasons it took so long to make due to the fact that Robby has been busy these last 20-odd years helping her other half get to the top?
"Yes... but I produced the album myself and programmed and recorded it myself, so I had to really wait until digital technology allowed me to do that. If I had tried to do this 10 years ago, even, apart from the fact that the songs wouldn't be what they are - due to life experience and all that sort of thing - the recording process would have been quite different.
"I would have had to have gone into a studio and utilised musicians and all that kind of thing, which is a really expensive and very time-consuming way to record an album, so I'm really lucky that digital technology has allowed me to produce the album myself."
Commenting on the sound of the album, Robby remarks, "When I set out to make the record, I was really conscious - and I think most people are - of the sort of music I like to listen to. When I'm just chilling out and relaxing at home, or when I'm cooking or whenever I'm playing music, I always like to put music on that's gonna make me feel good.
"So I guess that one of my main goals with Obsession was to create an album that people could just play in the background, have a drink to... I didn't want to do something that was gonna be too demanding - I just wanted to do something that I hoped would make people feel good.
"I guess the themes on the album are life and love and I think you speak from your own experience and the experiences of your friends and people you talk to. So it's been wonderful recording the album and I'm really happy that it's all wrapped now."
How would the star, who wrote two of the tracks "Dirty Mind" and "Just Another Night" with Ciaran Gribbin (who had a hand in Madonna's number one hit from 2009 "Celebration") define her overall sound?
"I think some of the songs on my album are quite poppy and some are quite middle-of-the-road adult contemporary, and I guess the ballads are quite eclectic because I have such an eclectic background in music.
"I'm a jazz-trained composer and pianist and a classically-trained pianist as well. The sort of music I like to listen to is the latest DJ sounds, like Calvin Harris and that kind of thing."
The first single from the album is "Never Wanna Let You Go" and the proceeds from the song are going to a very worthwhile cause. "Yeah, the McGrath Foundation... They are incredible. They raise money for breast cancer in communities around Australia and the song is kind of about being there for someone when they're really down.
"I think most people these days know someone who's been touched with hard times in their life, whether it's depression or an illness, and I had the opportunity to become an ambassador for the McGrath Foundation and so I thought it was perfect to donate the royalties from that particular song to them. They're just remarkable and they're wonderful people, so I feel very privileged to be associated with them."
Robby X (whose real name is Robin - the "X" came from the fact she always signs her name with a kiss at the end) first came to my attention last year thanks to a stunning duet with her husband entitled "I'm Already Taken."
This memorable track appeared on the Deluxe Tour Edition of Lee's brilliant album Beautiful Noise and truly demonstrated Mrs. Kernaghan's ability to transfer pure, unguarded emotion through the raw, heartfelt power of her voice. I wondered out loud why a solo album from such an accomplished singer had been so long in coming.
"I've been singing all my life," says Robby, "and I've been songwriting all my life, and it just happens that when I met Lee I wasn't familiar with country music and I wasn't sure who Lee was. So it's been interesting...
"I think as a songwriter, that exposure to country music and what Lee does has been really invaluable, in terms of lyrics and the craft of songwriting. I'm really lucky that the advice that I've had from a lot of people has been just to be true to yourself as an artist.
"All of us have to get to a point in our lives - if you're a creative person and you want to do something like this - that you find that the time is right for you, and until that time is right it's very difficult to actually get the album going. I'm really lucky that everything's fallen into place."
Obsession is available now on iTunes.
For more information, visit Robby's official website.
More about robby x, Lee Kernaghan, Pop music, Obsession, Country music
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