by Chris Delente
Howard Rose and Robbie Cavanagh are two artists from the U.K. that have been gaining a lot of popularity in recent times. While Howard draws influences from James Brown, The Beach Boys, and The Beatles, Robbie Cavanagh draws influences from James Taylor, John Mayer and Elton John, and when the two collaborate it creates a very unique overall feel that creates a feeling of peace.
The pair recently worked together on a track called, “Greetings from Paradise” which is actually their first release to come from Nova Records, and is the result of a lockdown collaboration. We are excited to have the opportunity to premiere this track. The two initially did not intend to write a ‘lockdown song’ so they actually decided to write about the opposite, which is where the name “Greetings from Paradise” actually came from. Rose says, “the song alludes to ‘perceived blessings of a lockdown misspent. An opportunity to work, uninterrupted on what you were put on the earth to do, and how that can affect you. How something seemingly blissful can turn to the mundane given enough time.” We actually had the opportunity to interview both Rose and Cavanagh, which you can check out some of their answers below.
Questions for Howard:
What first got you into music?
A: Listening to radio with my family on long road trips to the sea, singing with my brother and sister and the excitement and joy it brought us! Learning new songs, and sharing songs we knew and feeling the feeling you only get from hearing your new favourite song for the first time.
Also, my school music teacher inspiring me to create something new in his lessons and guiding me and the class in expressing ourselves through music.
How did you first start developing your career?
A: I started in my first band with my best friend at 12, playing Nirvana, Oasis, Pearl Jam, ELO, Led Zeppelin and from there we started to write our own tunes and I’ve never stopped!
Tell us about your newest project, what are some stories of how it came about?
A: What I am working on at the moment is a collaboration project with some of my favourite artists, producing material that has been written remotely and passed back and forth. ‘Greetings from Paradise’ is the first in this series of collaborations. The project came about during lockdown and is something that I intend to continue for the foreseeable future releasing new tunes every six weeks or so.
Robbie and I started this song with an idea of his that he’d sent over, I threw together a rough idea of the production I was hearing and we completed the song over a couple of Zoom sessions.
What is the most challenging of your creative process?
A: Finishing a new song, sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s WORK! I think for me it’s taking a step back from the production elements to complete the core of the song.
Questions for Robby:
Do you sing in the shower? If so what songs?
A: Honestly I think since I got spotify, I’ve become quite stressed out about listening to music. Its too much choice. I have the same handful of records on repeat, and if I want to listen to something different, I can’t figure out what. Sometimes I try a random playlist, but often I just find myself skipping through it. So I often turn to podcasts. So yeah, I tend not to sing in the shower. That, and I have very thin walls, so the neighbors don’t need to hear that. If I absolutely had to, I’d probably sing ‘I can’t make you love me’ by Bonnie Raitt.
Who would you most like to collaborate with/what music artist do you most admire?
A: I mentioned Foy Vance already, but I think he is probably the artist that I look up to the most. His knowledge of musical history, his authenticity and passion when he performs. Everything about his writing and his performing just inspire me and make me look back at my own songs and analyze them like no one else does. He makes me feel through music like no one else makes me. In that same, heartfelt way as Otis Redding, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder.
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment in your career so far?
A: My favorite part of this job is definitely touring. I love every part of it. Performing every night in a new city to new people. Getting to travel. Eating good food, spending time with good people. I have been lucky enough to do a number of major European tours that have made me extremely happy. Europe have some of the best food and the best music fans in the world, so getting to tour with such wonderful people as Us The Duo and Charlie Winston and their crews to all those beautiful cities is definitely something I am very proud of, and I am extremely happy I got to do.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
A: There’s a fantastic songwriter called Gary Burr, who wrote a lot amazing songs for artists like Faith Hill. I’ve had the pleasure of writing with him a number of times, and he always told me this: Don’t be afraid to suck. He wasn’t being rude. He meant, when you’re writing, and especially when you’re co-writing, you have to voice everything that maybe ordinarily you’d keep in your head, and sometimes that’s pretty scary, if you aren’t sure if your idea is the best, or fully formed. But that idea or that crappy little line might trigger a greater idea by the other person, which may trigger THE idea from you. Like idea tennis, so you can’t be afraid to come up with something that sucks, because that’s all part of the process. Equally, there’s a whole bunch of songs that I’ve written in their entirety, before deciding they weren’t great and never playing them again. But those songs had purpose. Even if it was just an exercise. Songs only have to exist for as long as you want them to. So actually, being crap is a really vital part.
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
A: It’s sad to say that I’ve been genuinely asking myself this over the past few months, with COVID obstructing my life plans. What I have realized is that there really isn’t anything else I ever want to do. There’s many things I love. I enjoy graphic design and illustration and calligraphy. I love looking after plans and healing sick plants. I love food and cooking. But none of those things would be able to be my career, without the presence of music. I just couldn’t do it. There is nothing else in the world that I could do with my life other than this.
What’s next for you?
A: I have plans to record a new album in January 2021. My band are heading to a beautiful converted chapel studio in South Wales to record a bunch of new songs that we’ve been working on. So 2021 hopefully will see me release that album and COVID permitting, tour it.
It was really great getting to know these two amazing artists. Check out their newest collaboration at the top of this post.
Chris Delente is a freelance writer, audio engineer/producer, and overall music obsessor who has lived in the Washington D.C. area since birth. He is also a huge Washington Redskins fan, and an equally enthusiastic supporter of all D.C. sports.
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