I’m Corey O’Shaughnessy with Jewel 92, and I’m joined by the Community Cruiser—powered by Brantford Toyota—at Sue Fest, the fundraising show for The Heart and Stroke Foundation! Right now, I have the pleasure of sitting down with singer-songwriter Robin Benedict!
Corey: Hey; how’s it going?
Robin: Fine, how are you?
Corey: Not too bad, thanks. So I’ve heard you’re an admittedly late bloomer to performing music. What was holding you back?
Robin: I didn’t really pick up the guitar too quickly. My parents got me one early, when I was like 18. I never really cared about the guitar, I only wanted to sing. I didn’t even really know that that was what I wanted to do until I was maybe mid-20’s.
Corey: Now, have you personally been affected by heart and stroke disease at all?
Robin: Well, yeah, actually. My step-dad just had quadruple bypass surgery in December. So he’s finally on the way to recovering, but it’s been a long road.
Corey: Do you use that as inspiration for your music?
Robin: Well, I’m inspired by my dad. He rode his bike 600 KM from Toronto to Montreal for the AIDS Foundation at 67 years old. He didn’t know he had four clogged arteries on that ride. So we’re just very lucky that he’s still around. So, yeah; I’m always just inspired by people – him being one of them.
Corey: Are there any other benefits that you’re personally close to? Like, I know for instance, I believe there’s something about you travelling to Jamaica or something like that and showing kids music and such.
Robin: Oh, yeah! I do visit the drum circle and the drum classes and the music classes when I am in Negril, Jamaica, because I have a friend who’s local and she knows all the teachers and she knows everyone who’s involved. So, yeah, I’ve actually snagged students right out of the class and brought them to play shows with me. The night of; or, the day of.
Corey: That’s the music industry, right?
Robin: When you’re eleven and you’re that good, you’re good, you know what I mean?
Corey: Now, I know you got your first taste of the limelight after posting a video online of singing your rendition of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”, then after that you took off! Can you tell me what that was like?
Robin: Oh my God, how long have you got?
Corey: All the time in the world.
Robin: That was insane. My email blew up, my Facebook messenger blew up. I couldn’t keep up with the messages asking “Where can I buy your music?” and at that point, I only had a 4-song EP that I had done and it was the first time I had ever touched a studio. It was about 5 years old at that time, so I didn’t really have any music that I was proud of to give to people so I started doing crowd funding campaigns with all my new-found fans and so that was an amazing spiral of things to happen, I guess.
Corey: If listeners who, unfortunately, couldn’t be here today at Suefest, if they want to hear you live, where can they hear you?
Robin: Well, I play in Toronto, I play Hamilton, I think I’m going to be going on a tour if all goes well in the fall and hopefully get out of here for the winter. I’m going to be booking so new stuff mostly in Southern Ontario, but I do play a lot in Hamilton right now. I did a Janis Joplin tribute show last week for my birthday. That took up all my time for about 4 months, so now I’m just playing at some festivals and having some fun this summer and then I’ll get back at it in September.
Corey: Awesome. Well, Robin, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and chat! I look forward to hearing you on stage! I’m Corey O’Shaughnessy hanging out with singer-songwriter Robin Benedict and checking out all of the other fun and exciting things going on for the whole family today at Suefest with Jewel 92!