Stirling-born Robert Gillies on transatlantic tour
Published: 25 Jul 2013 07:000 comments
Taking some of his new material on the road the singer-songwriter, who is now based in America, is dropping in on venues in Scotland and hit Europa Music in Stirling at the weekend.
Speaking to the Advertiser he said the tour is going well, "I'm really enjoying it and I think we're making a really positive impact in all the communities we've been to so far. I've met some amazing people, an army of fans I've never had the opportunity to meet before and I'm just overwhelmed by the support that we've received."
Robert was born in Stirling, where his family has since relocated, and brought up in Glasgow. He headed to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA in 2008 and having met his wife following graduation has since settled in the San Francisco Bay area.
For him music is integral to living and his relationship with music goes back to before he can remember.
"It's something that is so much a part of me that I don't think love is an adequate word," he explained, "Music is part of me. When you say you love something it's almost like you're looking at it - it's something you're observing. With music it's more than love it's who I am and inextricable. I hear music in everything - rhythms, melodies. I don't know what I'd call it, but it's more than love.
"There has never been a second of my life that has not involved music. It has literally been a part of me from before I was born because my mum was always playing music. She would play music to me while I was in the womb. She was in orchestra and performing in the BBC SSO when she was pregnant with me and you know as soon as I was born it was business as usual at home - my parents were rehearsing."
Robert Gillies describes his music as "folk rock with a pinch of pop".
The 27-year-old, who first learned to play piano and trumpet before picking up the guitar, opened for Andy Grammer a couple of years ago and made an appearance on popular TV show Ellen for co-writing 'Break Again'.
He said, "Andy and I had actually met three years prior when I opened for him at a youth conference we were both attending and it was an experience I didn't expect to happen again. As I saw what he was doing with his music and the message he was sending out to people, especially with "Keep Your Head Up" I knew I wanted to work with him somehow, and so when I got the opportunity to work with him again it was deeply moving for me and very special.
"The Ellen show was a huge deal, but it was too surreal. We interacted with the audience, but it was really difficult to establish a deep connection with them."
Robert - who admires his parents, Tommy Emmanuel and Jason Mraz musically- gets inspiration from all over. He has a varied musical process which normally sees him sitting down to figure out what he is writing about first of all.
His writing was pushed beyond his limits when taking on a 'song a day challenge' (which can be found on You Tube) that saw him write a song every day for a month - a feat he thought was "insane" from the outset but expanded his repertoire of original songs.
Of making music he said, "It feels almost like a biological urge. If I don't create music I'm unhappy. So first of all, I'm inspired to write based on the world around me, but the impulse to create it's a gut impulse. If I don't express myself creatively I feel unhappy, stagnant, and I feel like I'm not fulfilling my purpose as a human being. I feel like I'm at my best when I'm creating and everything just makes sense."
Over the next few months he is looking towards setting up a tour on the West Coast of the United States and is keen to get back into the studio.
With enough new material to release at least one new record a new release could be in the works, but he loves going on tour to get a direct connection with people.
Check out Robert Gillies on ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/robertgillies
-Pubs or clubs? Neither. I'm a coffee shop kinda guy.
-Tea or coffee? Tea
-Sweet or savoury? Sweet, specifically chocolate.
-Pet peeve/ annoyance? Sound of people chewing.
-Most embarrassing moment? I was in a show as part of an in-the-round songwriters circle and everyone was singing this song because it was an American Standard and the whole thing was being filmed and broadcast live, but I had no idea what the song was and so when it came to me I completely froze. Pretty embarrassing.
-Best gig you've been to? Jason Mraz at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado.
-Favourite super hero? Wolverine.
-Most prized possession? My grandfather's microscope; he was a well-known bacteriologist and it's in its original wood case.