You might know Robin Barnes from a lot of things. If her delegated title of “the songbird of New Orleans” doesn’t ring any bells, then you’ve probably heard her crooning regularly at the legendary Spotted Cat Music Club. Still nothing? Remember that funkadelic fitness program, Move Ya Brass, that kicked off this spring? That’s also her.
No doubt Barnes has been busy. If all of that wasn’t enough, she’s expecting a beautiful baby this winter, and she’s still releasing new music!
We caught up with Robin to chat about her latest track, “You Give Me”: a high-energy and classically New Orleans funk ‘n’ jazz track.
Check out our exclusive interview with Robin Barnes, and listen to her latest single “You Give Me” below.
River Beats New Orleans: “You Give Me” is such a fun track! It marks a big shift in your sound as an artist. Can you explain what inspired this shift in sound?
Robin Barnes: “I wanted to capture the energy of my live performances on a recorded track, which is something I haven’t done before: breaking out of my shell of what people expect to hear when they hear a Robin song. I was finally able to record a song that pulls from all of my music influences, and you can hear all of those sounds in this one track.
Your music has always prided itself on marry the roots of jazz with the excitement of new and popular music. As you grow and shift your sounds as an artist, what is the musical anchor that keeps your grounded?
“New Orleans is my anchor. I’m always striving to pay homage to my roots. As far as I may take something, I want the listener to always be able to hear the traces of those New Orleans rhythms, horns and grooves.”
What was the recording process for this track like? You worked with lots of other fabulous, local artists for this – and even have some iconic Bill Summers sounds in there!
“It always starts with the groove – bass, keys and drums – and then we built it from there. The horns came in with that firepower and helped the song fly. Bill Summers was the final piece, adding his percussion sounds onto my original song was such a dream for me. I was just so in awe of the whole band and how everyone’s amazing talents contributed to recording a song that is so special to me.”
Do you feel like the heightened energy and success of Move Ya Brass played a role in the sound of this track at all?
“Absolutely. Move Ya Brass is all about movement and the celebration of life. I hope, that when people hear “You Give Me” they want to dance and enjoy the music in a similar way.”
How do you envision this track transitioning in to a live performance? No doubt it’ll be a showstopper
“This track embodies the feeling of my live performances currently – from festivals performances to my Spotted Cat gig on Sunday nights, this is the energy you feel coming from me on those stages. So the band and I have it down. The only difference is now you get to have that same sound with you everywhere you go as you buy and stream it!”
As you continually grow as an artist you’re still honoring your craft as a jazz performer. In the modern music industry, how to you advise young musicians to honor their craft and create their own sound?
“Definitely understand your roots and where you come from. Recognize it, understand that it is important to you, but don’t let it limit you.”