Langley, BC’s very own Robyn & Ryleigh are releasing their first feature-length album of the same name with a youthful country sound and an authentic love of the country lifestyle.
The release marks the duo’s latest breakthrough after a pair of 2012 BCCMA Award nominations “Group/Duo of the Year” and “The Horizon Award” — and the release of their spring single, “Just Another Sundown”.
While Robyn & Ryleigh wrote most of the album’s ten tracks, such as the punchy “Perfect Date”, the breezy “Summer Girl”, and the heartfelt “Our Own Way of Loving”, the album is supported with others penned by Steven Lee Olsen, Kathleen Higgins, and country superstar Taylor Swift, the original co-writer of the ballad, “This Is Really Happening”.
I had the pleasure of speaking with the talented duo; we talk about their upcoming album, being discovered, the duo on a personal level, and more.
Felix: On July 17, your new self-titled album will be released, where did you get the inspiration for the upcoming album?
Robyn: Inspiration comes from all over. Memories of love, heartbreak and friendship all make up our album. I find inspiration to write a song every single day, which I am so thankful for because I haven’t personally experienced “writers block”! Inspiration hits me at any moment of the day – driving, sleeping, eating pizza – anytime!! We’re so excited to see what people think about the album!
Ryleigh: To add to what Robyn said, the inspiration for the album is from every day experiences that everyone can relate to. The main themes are love and heartbreak, but there are songs for every mood within that.
Felix: One of the tracks on the new album – “This Is Really Happening” – was co-written by Taylor Swift. Tell us how that came about?
Ryleigh: We were looking for songs to add to our album to shake things up and challenge us in different ways. When we came across “This Is Really Happening”, we loved it! As we listened to the demo over and over and over and over (you get the point) – we realized that the voice sounded very familiar, and it was Taylor Swift!
Robyn: Even though Taylor Swift didn’t write the song with us, it fit in so perfectly with the rest of our album that we just had to have it!
Felix: Back to your roots, at what age did you realize “country music star” is for me?
Robyn: Our mom would dance around the kitchen with us when we were just babies to Shania Twain and Dolly Parton, so it was always in our blood! When I started writing songs as a teen, people enjoyed them and sang along. So I knew | had to reach out to a bigger audience. I really can’t picture myself doing anything else for the rest of my life!
Ryleigh: For me, I think of a moment when we were little with our family around the campfire. We sang the first song Robyn ever wrote and everyone loved it and cheered. At that moment I knew that there was nothing else I would ever want to do than feel that love and appreciation through music.
Felix: How were you discovered?
Robyn: Ryleigh and I were singing at the local Spirit of the Sea Festival in 2010 when we met David Wills and Paul Shatto. They approached us after our performance and said they would like to work with us. This just goes to show you never know who will be watching you sing!
Ryleigh: After a few meetings with Paul and David, we decided that we were a good team. Ever since then we have been working with them and now we’re part of Raincoast Music and MDM Recordings. It’s been an amazing journey!
Felix: If being a country music star wasn’t an option for you, what do you think you would be doing/pursuing instead?
Robyn: I LOVE fitness!! I think being a personal trainer would be amazing. Helping people reach their fitness goals would be a very rewarding career!!
Ryleigh: Acting alongside singing is my passion. I love it so much. It doesn’t even feel like a job. My family has always said that I needed to be an actor probably because when I was younger I made up different characters, accents and stories and it made them all laugh.
Felix: Sorry to single out just Ryleigh, but I remember you were on an episode of the hit TV series “Supernatural”. Tell us about your experience.
Ryleigh: Yes! Thanks for watching! Working on the set of any TV show or movie is awesome enough as an extra, but being on set as an actor is an even better experience. It was absolutely amazing! I loved every moment – from waking up extremely early in the morning and driving into Vancouver to getting makeup, hair, and wardrobe done, filming your scene, and then going home late at night. I had the honour of working with a terrific director and producer and met some amazing actors along the way. Trading lines with Jensen Ackles was a blast! I can’t wait to do it again.
Felix: Who do you ladies look up to in the country music industry, or inspire to become?
Robyn: Miranda Lambert is one of my country music idols!! She is nothing but herself, sings the kind of music she wants to sing and I find it very inspiring.
Ryleigh: I admire anyone who has followed their dreams and never given up, but honestly I’m not reaching to become anyone specifically. I want to make my own path, mistakes, and history. But I also admire Miranda Lambert. She is amazing.
Felix: Anyone you would love to collaborate/work with?
Robyn: Miranda Lambert – haha! I think it would be so fun to write a song with her about revenge or something else that would be up her alley. Many of her songs are like that and I think everybody loves her for it!
Ryleigh: Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert. I would probably just stare at Keith the entire time, so that might not be such a great idea, but I would love to see what kind of song would come out of a session with Miranda.
Felix: On a personal level, when you’re not busy recording in the studio and touring, what is your favorite thing to do in Vancouver during the summer?
Robyn: Camping! Camping is one of my favorite things to do! Bring the tent, bring the quads, bring the marshmallows and the hot dogs and you’re set to have a good time! I’ve been camping since I was just a baby and I can’t get enough of it.
Ryleigh: Camping, for sure, and just hanging out with family and friends! I also love acting in our beautiful city and want to do more of that over the summer.
Felix: Last but not least, any upcoming projects or events you would like to share with us?
Ryleigh: Yes! After our album is released on July 17th, we’ll be going to Nashville in the fall to work with some amazing people and show Music City what we can bring.
Robyn: Also, we’re going to be attending the 2013 Canadian Country Music Association Awards in Edmonton this September. That will be so much fun! We’re also touring this summer, so check out RobynandRyleigh.com for show dates and watch for us in your city!
Felix: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.
Look for the Canadian country music sister duo, Robyn & Ryleigh upcoming album – available July 17, 2013 on iTunes and RobynandRyleigh.com.
Written by Felix Kay, Entertainment Columnist for Vancity Buzz. Stay in touch with Felix on Twitter at @TheFelixKay
Photo credit: Karolina Turek