Robby X is one of those people who just light up the room. Beautiful, charming, talented … and super excited about her debut album, Obsession, which will be released in October.
“I wrote and produced the entire album which was an absorbing and uplifting experience,” Robby says.
“I’ve dreamt of doing this for a long time but it’s such a huge undertaking. I’m so lucky that technology now allows me the freedom to create my own music. I was able to set up my own recording studio to write and produce the kind of music I’ve always wanted to make.”
In what can only be described as a dream start for a debut artist, Robby has also signed a deal with Universal Music Australia (UMA), who will be supporting the album in stores and on radio. “It’s just wonderful that these new songs now
have an opportunity to find their way out to a wider audience,” Robby says. “When I think about how it all started, sitting at the piano, feeling that first burst of inspiration, I am very grateful to have the album finished at last, along with the support of a major record label.”
Robby has generously decided to donate royalties from her first single, Never Wanna Let You Go, to the McGrath Foundation.
“The song is all about that ray of hope that shines through tough times when you realise you’re not alone, that someone loves you and they are there for you,” Robby says.
“I’ve been a great admirer of the McGrath Foundation and the very special work they do in supporting women with breast cancer. It just seemed like the right thing to do, to use royalties from the sale of the song to raise money for such a worthy and important cause.”
The making of her debut album has been a labour of love for Robby but it hasn’t always been an easy road.
“There have been times when I’ve thought … ‘this is just too hard and maybe I should throw it in’ but something deep inside kept me coming back to the music. It’s quite a passionate and spiritual experience writing songs. One of my tracks, The Thief is based on the poetry of 13th century philosopher Rumi, another song Close To Me was written after the passing of my Grandpa who was one of my greatest inspirations.”
While Obsession may be her first solo undertaking, Robby is no newcomer to the industry. A graduate of the Conservatorium of Music, she has served her apprenticeship well, recording thousands of voice-overs and jingles for some of Australia’s leading brands.
She has also supported her husband, Lee Kernaghan, as he built a reputation as one of Australia’s most successful country music artists. “I’ve been working with Lee on his albums for years now, singing and recording backing vocals, co-writing songs, shooting the cover photography for many of his albums and we even had a number one hit with our duet version of Fire.”
Now it is Lee’s turn to support Robby as she makes the transition from back-up singer to headline act.
“Over the years I’ve admired Lee so much because he stays true to himself and his genre of music. When it came time to make my own record I knew I’d have to put my heart out there, take a leap of faith and record the kind of music that had been incubating inside of me, waiting to be born.”
Which is why, despite the fact Robby is married to a country music legend, this album is pure pop.
“I wanted the songs on Obsession to take people on a journey. There are various themes about life and love and some of the songs are quite sexy and sensual. There’s music to seduce to, music to dance to, to drink to or just to chill to,” Robby admits.
“I’ve co-written two tracks, Dirty Mind and Just Another Night with Ciaran Gribbin, a Grammy nominated songwriter who wrote the number one hit Celebration for Madonna. I was also lucky enough to collabrate with award-winning songwriter and producer Lindsay Rimes, which was magic.
“I’m feeling a lot of love and gratitude at being able to launch this debut album. I don’t know how it will be received but I’m just thrilled that finally I can release my songs as Robby X.”
Which begs the question … where did the ‘X’ come from?
“I’ve always signed my name with a kiss so Lee picked up on that,” she explains. “Last year for Valentine’s Day he gave me my artist name and the domain name as a surprise, and that’s how I became Robby X.”
While Lee may have given Robby her stage name, it was the couple’s two boys Jet, 13, and Rock, 12, who gave their mother the impetus to pursue her dreams.
“I used to write and sing at the piano late at night when the kids were asleep and nobody could hear,” Robby explains. “One night, I noticed something in the corner of my eye and Rock was squatted down in the hallway in his pyjamas just watching me. When he realised I’d seen him he stood up and said ‘Mummy when you sing it makes me so happy’.
The tears just fell down my face and I had this lightbulb moment that ‘I’ve got to do this’. “Both of my kids love the music and think it’s really cool that mum’s doing some pop music.” With the release of the album just weeks away, Robby is feeling a mix of emotions. “I think in many ways songwriters are alchemists, turning a blank page into something tangible and it’s a very personal thing,” Robby says. “You get the chance to create something that comes from deep inside you and maybe from outside experiences too.
“For me, releasing these new songs for the first time feels a little bit daunting and a little bit amazing all at the same time. It’s like you’ve reared your children and now they are leaving home and you really don’t know how they are going to go out there in the big wide world.
“Making this album has been one of the most gratifying and joyful experiences of my life.
Listening back to the record fills me with a lot of positive feelings and my hope is that when people get to hear it for themselves, this new music will make them feel good too.”
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