Robin Peacocke, Toronto-based singer-songwriter, has been bringing her songs to Toronto Songwriters Association meetings since 2007.
Robin first came into contact with the TSA through fellow songwriter and TSA member Carmen Schreyer. “I work with Carmen and we discovered one day that we had a mutual interest in music and songwriting. I went with her to the TSA Christmas party in 2007. I’ve been a part of the group ever since.”
Robin released her folk-pop flavoured debut CD, Free to Fly, in May, 2010. Recorded at Hannah Road Studios and produced by Mike Elmer, a TSA member himself, the CD is available at CD Baby, iTunes, SoundCloud, and amazon.com.
Robin’s interest in music and songwriting began in her early teens, when she taught herself to play guitar “by listening to John Denver and Gordon Lightfoot.” Later on she joined a community music group and started performing at local events. “It was around that time that I wrote my first song,” she recalls. “It was about my father, who passed away when I was fifteen. I needed to get some feelings out. I had been listening to a lot of country music at that time, and the story-telling aspect of country music is partly what inspired me to start writing.”
In the early 90s, Robin got together with a songwriter friend and formed the duo Wildwood Flowers. “I started writing more at that time in order to add my original songs to our shows, and I guess that’s when I truly started feeling like a songwriter.”
Since coming into contact with the TSA, Robin’s songwriting has been evolving from a mainly instinctive approach towards a more conscious practice of her craft. “I’ve learned a lot about songwriting by attending TSA meetings, both from comments on my songs and from listening to other people’s songs and critiques. Now when I write, I try to keep in mind the suggestions I’ve been given and I analyze more as I go along.”
She explains that a challenge for her now is to integrate this new, conscious approach without losing the spontaneous, joyful side of songwriting. “I have trouble with lyrics, especially now that I’m thinking more about the craft instead of just being happy to have strung some words together that rhyme.”
Another change for Robin is that song ideas are now coming from different sources. She says that her method used to be “to noodle around on the guitar until I found a chord progression or rhythm that appealed to me, and the feel of the music would direct where the song went lyrically.” Nowadays she finds herself getting song ideas from reading a line in a book or overhearing a comment, which then “percolate in my subconcious, and eventually when I have enough of an idea to work with, I’ll sit down with my guitar or the piano and see what I can come up with.”
For a taste of what Robin has been coming up with so far, enjoy listening to these songs from her debut CD Free to Fly.