To kick off our “Excel’n in ’11” theme, I am honored and proud to feature my interview with Season 4 American Idol finalist, ANWAR ROBINSON!! With just 4 days left before his much-anticipated album “EVERYTHING” is due to drop, Anwar shares everything from advice, to who inspires him, to his future endeavors and everything in between! Take a look at what Anwar had to say!
WHO IS ANWAR ROBINSON? WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I was born in East Orange, NJ and then when I was 6 months old we moved to my childhood home in the Vailsburg section of Newark,NJ.
WHEN DID YOU START SINGING?
I didn’t speak for the first 4 years of my life. It was singing that was the first sounds that I made. I was 4 when my mother bought me a Casio keyboard and it was learning how to play that instrument that caused me to be able to sing in tune. When I got to Lincoln Elementary School, (which is still on Richelieu Terrace) 😉 my music teacher, Sandra Talmadge, discovered I had the gift of voice.
WHO ELSE IN YOUR FAMILY SINGS?
I have an aunt who sounds a lot like Faith Evans; she is the only one. Although…my brother and I did sing together a few years ago. It was a worship tune in the car on the way home from an incredible church service! (He’s a former college basketball player who would probably go nuts if he found out I told anyone…oh, well! LOL!)
TELL US WHAT YOUR LIFE WAS LIKE “BEFORE IDOL” AND WHAT IT TOOK FOR YOU TO GET WHERE YOU ARE TODAY.
I have a strong work-ethic that i developed while I was in high school. I’ve always held at least 2 jobs simultaneously and have always been referred to as one of the Hedley’s from Fox’s “In Living Color” (HEY MON!!!) I had accepted a new teaching job in West Orange, NJ as a middle school vocal music teacher which I had done for two years prior in Elizabeth, NJ. I also played piano/keys for churches and was in a Cover Band called
The Perfect Combination (which really lived up to its name lol!) I enjoyed making music and was always inspired to sing, teach and play the piano/keyboard.
One of my life’s biggest challenges was going through the “American Idol” television show, placing top 10, touring with the Idol Band and then having to navigate my own instantaneous, newly found yet fastly fading fame. It took a lot of courage to admit that I could not do it alone and that my gifts were going to be the only thing that made room for me. I am so glad that I’ve found my sound as an artist and more importantly, my message of unconditional love. God had to show me that I needed to trust people again and that I needed to depend on my family and friends as they had always depended on me.
Last, but certainly not least …God sent a group of people to me; my team SAVvy MARKeting Entertainment Group, LLC. They manage, counsel, and give me guidance whenever I need it. The support and honesty that they have given me has been unparalleled ; they are truly my family.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE ON AMERICAN IDOL? DO YOU FEEL IT FUELED YOUR CAREER AT ALL?
Being on “American Idol” was a roller coaster ride that started out as a dare from one of my three best friends. Thank God that he invited me to come with him to Washington, DC! “American Idol” definitely made me well-known and gave my name recognition that I would otherwise not have, in addition to the performance opportunities and role in musical theatre that it helped open up. As an independent artist, I now have more “legs” to run on with my 2011 album entitled “EVERYTHING”.
IF YOU WEREN’T SINGING, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
I wanted to be a writer! I started writing in a journal when I was 18 and at the age of 31 I still write in the same journal! I would have went to college for English and perhaps broadcast journalism. Somehow, I would have probably still been a teacher, but music filled the space of “What am I going to do for the rest of my life?”
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO?
In addition to the Gospel and R&B that I grew up on, I love Jazz; especially Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. I also like Easy Rock (ie. Chicago, Doobie Brothers) and Blue-eyed Soul. Due to the influence of my Idol Cohort, Carrie Underwood (season 4 winner) Country music has become a like of mine as well.
WHO ARE YOUR MUSICAL INSPIRATIONS?
My first love is Gospel music, so I listen to many artist from that genre. Karen-Clark Sheard happens to be my favorite singer for musical and personal reasons. Her “Finally Karen” album helped me through some tough times during my freshman year of college. On the R&B side, I love Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Earth, Wind & Fire, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson (especially his work in the 70s/80s….WHAT A SINGER!), R. Kelly and Joe to name a few. =-)
I also listen to a lot of female singers such as Aretha, Chaka, Patti, Whitney, Mariah, Shanice, Brandy, Beyoncé, Faith Evans, Lalah Hathaway, Sy Smith, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson and Jazmine Sullivan. I love SOUL-STIRRING VOICES…or as most would say, REAL SANGERS!
IF YOU COULD DABBLE IN ANOTHER GENRE OF MUSIC, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I’ve been experimenting with Pop music. Since Pop(ular) music flavors change with the times, I’ll always be open to doing new styles in order to keep my chops up and to stay relevant within the industry.
WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO PERFORM?
I have performed many times on the Prudential Hall Stage of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ, but I also look forward to returning to sing in my hometown doing my own music. As an independent solo artist, I am looking toward the Prudential Center, also in Newark, NJ. It’s a big feat, but I believe God can do anything and I am going to continue to strive and reach these goals.
NAME A MOMENT WHEN YOU WANTED TO GIVE UP. WHAT KEPT YOU FROM DOING SO?
2006. It was a year after “Idol” and I felt like EVERYTHING I tried to do would not work. My perspective was a bit warped; I didn’t realize how many more dues were to be paid in order to realize my dream of being an artist. 2009-after having 2 successful runs in Broadway Shows, I found out my surrogate father had a massive stroke. This unfortunate event propelled me to realize that family was the most important thing that we have after God. God also reminded me that I needed to finally focus on recording music. I didn’t know at the time that this was going to come to pass a year later under the guise of my team.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE ANYONE HAS EVER GIVEN YOU?
Keep God first in all that you do.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE READING THIS YOUR INTERVIEW THAT MAY BE AFRAID TO PURSUE A DREAM THAT THEY HAVE?
WRITE YOUR VISION AND MAKE IT PLAIN so that when others who believe can CATCH YOUR VISION. LIVE YOUR DREAM- even if it seems like no one is watching. Make sure your dream is one that will improve the lives of others. You may accomplish your goals, but the price you pay to live a dream that takes away from and destroys other people will be one too great to pay.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR ANWAR? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF 5 YEARS FROM NOW?
I will definitely have at least 3 more albums out. There are so many stories to be told and as I get older, I gain the courage to tell those stories without self-judgment or all those other fears we allow to paralyze us in our walk of life. I also want to have a Grammy award and a(nother) role in a feature film or dramedy such as “The Game” now on BET. Lastly, I want to have started to build my school in or near Newark, NJ. It will focus on performing arts, but still have an academically, logical, well-rounded curriculum that will develop all facets of intelligence.
SOOOO…WHEN DOES YOUR ALBUM OFFICIALLY DROP AND WHERE CAN WE PURCHASE IT?!
“EVERYTHING” drops on TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2011!!!! You can find it on iTunes, Amazon.com, Rhapsody and most other online music retailers. Also, you can purchase CDs at ALL of my LIVE SHOWS!!
HOW CAN YOUR FANS STAY UP TO DATE WITH ALL THAT’S GOING ON WITH YOU?
My Team : www.savvy-marketing.net
Experience Me: www.myspace.com/anwarrobinson
Follow Me: www.twitter.com/ANWARrobinson
Watch Me: www.youtube.com/AnwarSpace
Reverb and Book Me: www.reverbnation.com/anwareverything
CONGRATULATIONS ANWAR ON ALL YOUR SUCCESS!!! GOD BLESS YOU IN 2011 AS YOU EMBARK ON THE JOURNEY GOD HAS SET BEFORE YOU!!! REMEMBER THE BEST IS TRULY YET TO COME…THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING!
***EVERYONE!!!! BE SURE TO SUPPORT ANWAR AND PURCHASE HIS ALBUM “EVERYTHING”!!! IT IS TRULY AMAZING AND BELIEVE ME YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!!!!
EXCEL in all you do! LOVE harder than you normally would! EXPLORE new things!