Technology is advancing at an incredibly fast rate—perhaps arguably faster than we humans can handle. Social networking sites pop up like mushrooms wooing consumers ready to hop on every trend. Almost every real-life thing now has its digital counterpart. Got a question? In this time and age, you for sure can find all the answers on your phone. The result? Tapping a stranger to ask might even get you weird looks.
It’s a fact that alongside society’s fast-growing and seemingly unstoppable progress sprout undeniably hard to swallow truths. With the rise of gadgets that continually break new grounds, people have become more and more fixated on the digital features they can never experience offline.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but a sad one to say the least. As social as we naturally are, becoming less—and less—connected with the people around us and becoming less aware of the real world just don’t feel quite right.
London singer-songwriter Robbie Boyd wrote his song “Look Up” around this theme. Taken from his 2017 debut Time Will Tell, Boyd recently re-released the track as a standalone single as he sets out to complete his fourth studio album, Brotherhood, due out within the year. “It was designed to encourage people to ‘look up’ from their screens and encourage them to connect with each other more,” Boyd says of the song, emphasizing the importance of reforging human connection. Indeed, one’s obsession with their phone might impact their ability to engage, relate, and communicate with fellow humans, thus Boyd’s sincere call to action.
Genuine and honest in his lyrics, Boyd is no doubt admired and his career well decorated through the years. He’s toured in several continents and has headlined his own shows at many highly sought-after venues. And no less than Simon Cowell has compared him to Crosby, Stills and Nash, who Boyd considers his influences. Tomorrow (April 8), he will be sharing the bill with Rory Duffield and The Road at the Troubadour. He’s on 8 p.m. So how about a little chit-chat?
The song is wonderful! I love your calming voice and the instrumentation. Can you share the story behind “Look Up”?
It was written having been looking around at everyone in London on a trip I was making on the underground, especially. Seeing how everyone was glued to their phones all the time, and then out on the streets too, even crossing the road sometimes! It was designed to encourage people to “look up” from their screens and encourage them to connect with each other more. There’s a whole world of people out there, and if we’re too transfixed by our phones and technology then we’ll miss it—and each other.
So you at some point had shared stages with Katie Melua and Chris Martin, to name a few. That’s amazing! Can you share how that came to be and who are the other artists that you wish to collaborate with in the future?
It was indeed incredible, both times, plus people like Matt Cardle and Frank Turner. They were both private parties that I was invited to and I got the opportunity to sing with Chris on stage—at Elton John’s party, and Katie was at another party where we were both the main guests—a real honor. I would love to work with artists like James Taylor and Van Morrison if I had the opportunity. I’ve also written a song with Ray Davies, from The Kinks before.
With your past collaborations, what’s the best piece of advice another musician ever gave you?
Be yourself, because everyone else is taken. Kurt Cobain from Nirvana told me that—even though I never actually met him. In terms of people that I’ve actually met, probably it would have been Barry Mason, a great friend of my family’s, who taught me that you never know what’s coming, so just give your all and all will be well.
With the release of “Look Up”, what message do you want your listeners to receive from this beautiful song?
Firstly, thank you! Secondly, I would like listeners to receive the message of connection, and how life is too precious to be wasting it on screens all the time and to wake up a bit and realize that we are all one family and need to treat each other as such, as much as possible.
In terms of people that I’ve actually met, probably [the best piece of advice] would have been from Barry Mason, a great friend of my family’s, who taught me that you never know what’s coming, so just give your all and all will be well.Robbie Boyd
Can you describe your favorite venue when performing?
I have played at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire twice, which was incredible, plus the roof of the O2 Arena. They were both amazing gigs, I also love playing at the more intimate gigs—like the Troubadour in Earl’s Court, where I’m playing this Friday (April 8).
Who encouraged you to pursue your musical dreams and start a career in the industry?
My parents, and my colleagues at a musical college that I went to many years ago.
I would like listeners to receive the message of connection, and how life is too precious to be wasting it on screens all the time and to wake up a bit and realize that we are all one family and need to treat each other as such, as much as possible.Robbie Boyd
I see that you’re heading on to be a rising artist—with Simon Cowell being a fan, congratulations! With how the industry describes your music and who you are, how do you continue to be engaging with your fans?
Thank you, yes that was cool, he likened me to Crosby, Stills and Nash, who I used to admire growing up. I would say you just need to stay true to who you are and be as authentic, honest, real, and genuine as possible. You can’t really go wrong then. People relate to transparency, and openness, in my experience anyway.
Any plans for the rest of the year? Will you be going on tour again or are you releasing another album?
I would love to be able to make another album by the end of the year, if not next year. And yes, I would love to tour as much as possible too. I’m already going to Switzerland and Norway to play some gigs, and I’ll have a few more in London coming up soon too. So stay tuned! Thanks for having me…
I would say you just need to stay true to who you are and be as authentic, honest, real, and genuine as possible.Robbie Boyd
Stream “Look Up” here and be sure to check out what Robbie is up to next.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Sam is a mediocre artist, musician, and the founder and editor in chief of UNXIGNED. He is a Juris Doctor who leads an excitingly boring life in the confines of his room juggling studies with passion and dreams. He is terrible at finding balance but gets by anyhow. He wants you to follow his artist pages and channels for when he decides to up his game. Pretty open for collabs and will mix your would-be hit song for cheap.
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