We had the pleasure of speaking with the talented musician and producer Robbi Niles, who hails from the beautiful island of Barbados. Robbi’s musical journey began at a young age, playing the tenor steel pan, and has since expanded to include various instruments such as the saxophone, piano, drums, and guitar. With his diverse musical background, Robbi has cultivated a distinct sound that has captured the hearts of his growing fanbase.
Robbi Niles is known for his catchy hooks and unique compositions, and his latest single, “Havana,” further solidifies his artistry. The song explores a new love interest, blending the soulful sounds of Afrobeats and Afro-house. With its infectious melodies and Robbi’s smooth vocals, “Havana” is poised to become another hit for this rising star. The track also showcases Robbi’s exceptional production skills, as he self-produced the song, resulting in one of his most captivating offerings to date and a perfect summer anthem for 2023.
In our interview with Robbi, we delve deeper into the creation of “Havana,” his musical influences, and his artistic process. Join us as we discover the inspirations behind Robbi Niles’ music and his exciting journey as a talented guitarist, composer, lyricist, and producer.
It’s fascinating to learn about your musical journey starting from playing the tenor steel pan at just three years old. How have your experiences with various instruments, such as the saxophone, piano, drums, and guitar, influenced your musical style and creativity?
Being a multi-instrumentalist affords me the opportunity to explore unique sounds from various instruments and blend them into my musicscape. I’m always so grateful that I explored so many instruments early rather than later!
Congratulations on the release of your brand-new single, “Havana”! Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind the song and how you combined the soulful sounds of Afrobeats and Afro-house?
“Your love is telekinetic, and I never felt so electric…” In my new single, Havana, I explore the soulful sounds of Afrobeats and Afro House. I tell a story of falling in love with someone who is unsure of loving me back. I’m a big fan of afrobeats and afro house. I wanted to combine the two to just see how it sounds. Turns out I loved it!
Your distinctive sound and catchy hooks have helped you establish a fanbase. How would you describe your musical style and what do you believe sets you apart from other artists in the industry?
My style mainly centers around R&B. However, being from the Caribbean island of Barbados (Rihanna’s country), I have fused different Caribbean and African genres, e.g. Soca, dancehall, Afrobeats and Reggaeton, into my R&B, creating my sound. My unique heritage sets me apart from other artists in the industry. I hope you can follow me on this musical journey.
“Havana” showcases your production prowess as a self-produced track. Can you take us through your creative process and how you crafted the captivating sound and melodies of the song?
This song started in a session at my studio in Barbados. I usually start all of my productions with a musical melody that sometimes sounds completely different from the finished product. After the melody was created, I sat on it for about two weeks trying to figure out what I wanted to do with it and the musical direction. That’s when I had the idea of fusing afrobeats and afro house! I grabbed my guitar and played some melodies. Then I went to my piano and finished the beat on top of the pre-existing melody which I manipulated to my liking. There’s actually a step-by-step video of this process on my ig page that I’m hoping the readers of this magazine can check out. My handle is @robbiniles!
As a songwriter, composer, lyricist, and producer, which aspect of the creative process do you enjoy the most and why? How do you approach the balance between creating music and producing it?
The process I enjoy the most in creating a song is production! Being a multi-instrumentalist, that is where my musical home lies. To me, creating music and producing it is the same thing. I can’t do one step in isolation as I am constantly doing all steps simultaneously.
“Havana” is described as the perfect soundtrack for summer 2023. How do you envision your music connecting with listeners during the summer season, and what emotions or experiences do you hope it evokes?
Funny enough, I didn’t make this track with summer in mind. I just wanted to tell a story of an experience. The fact that I was able to share this story over a beat that infuses afrobeats and afro-house, is perfect! I hope my listeners feel a sense of nostalgia as they connect with not only the beat but the lyrics. I feel as though everyone can relate to this song.
You mentioned that the idea for “Havana” was born during an impromptu writing session. Can you share some insights into that experience and how it led you to the final version of the song? Were there any unexpected challenges or surprises along the way?
As I mentioned above, there is complete step-by-step process of how I made Havana on my Instagram. Be sure to check it out! @robbiniles!
Having explored various genres and musical directions throughout your career, how do you approach the process of choosing the right musical direction for a particular song or project? What factors do you consider when making those decisions?
For me, there’s no science in choosing the right direction for a particular song or project. I mainly create my music off of vibes or how I am feeling at the time. Once the melody or musical motif is created, it can go in any direction, once it feels right to me.
Can you share any upcoming projects or collaborations that you are excited about? Is there a particular artist or producer you would love to work with in the future?
I am working hard towards releasing an E.P. at the end of this year or early next year followed by an album! I’m super excited about this project and I can’t wait to share it! In regards to if there is an artist or producer I would love to work within the future, the only right answer is Rihanna!
Lastly, what message or feeling do you hope listeners take away from “Havana” and your music in general? Is there anything you would like to say to your fans and those who have been supporting your musical journey?
From the bottom fo my heart, I want to thank all of my fans for listening and supporting my musical journey. And to you, Spinex Music, thank you so much for this opportunity to have a chat with you. I hope that when people listen to my music, it takes them to their musical utopia!