Robyn and Ryleigh
By: Ruth Hill
During the month of February, Hallmark Channel promoted a showcase of movies leading up to Valentine’s Day called “Countdown to Valentine’s.” It just so happens that one of those films, Appetite for Love, featured a country duo that captured my attention. When I first heard them sing, I was certain I had heard them on the country radio station. Upon further inspection, I discovered that it was a sweet sister group called Robyn and Ryleigh. Their music spawned quite a firestorm on social media as so many fans attempted to figure out just who they were. I am pleased to report that I recently had the opportunity to get to know these young troubadours just a little bit better as we discussed their music career in addition to their experience with Hallmark.
What inspired you to get involved in music and specifically country music?
Our involvement in music started early on when we attended a musical elementary school. I (Robyn) learned how to play the ukulele and did a lot of singing. Nothing made me happier than to see the look on my parents’ face when I showed them a new song I had learned! From there, I taught myself guitar. When I finally got to the point where I was able to play and sing without having to think too hard about it, I just felt the music in my soul. That was the moment I knew it would be a part of me forever. So when I started writing, I just wrote what I felt and it came out country! The melodies that were coming to me always sounded country. Somehow, a fiddle and an acoustic guitar made it sound better. [laughs] The inspiration came and still comes from foot-tapping music and that music makes me happy. I love to write music just like that.
What recordings of your music are available and where can people purchase them?
We have two full-length EP’s to date. One is self-titled, Robyn and Ryleigh and our latest is By Heart. We are so proud of them both! Our CD’s are available on iTunes, at HMV and some London Drugs locations. Or you can buy them at one of our live shows and then we can sign it for you!
Did you receive any special training in music?
We both spent a lot of our youth participating in choirs, plays, after-school recording projects and music groups, but other than that we haven’t had any “formal” training. Just a lot of practice and “on the job training.”
How did you get the opportunity to appear in Hallmark’s Appetite for Love film?
Our manager was approached by a music agent friend of his who didn’t know much about country music. He asked if he knew any cowboy bands for a movie they were working on. He told him, “I know of a girl band that would work even better.” Once they heard us, they knew we were a fit for the movie. We submitted a few of our songs for their consideration and they loved them. “I Found You” and “Relight the Fire” were their choices for Appetite for Love. It was very exciting. Watching the movie was a pretty great feeling!
What are your goals for the future?
We plan on continuing to write music whenever we can. We will be collaborating on future recordings with other songwriters in Nashville, L.A., and locally, too. We would love to be involved in other TV shows and/or movies if the opportunity comes our way.
Do you have a specific process for writing music?
For us, there is no specific process for writing and there’s no specific time nor place to write. It’s whatever inspires us in that moment. That’s the coolest thing about writing. You could be on a date with a guy or pumping gas at a gas station and, all of a sudden, a melody or a line will come to you. No matter what I’m doing, when inspiration hits, I grab a piece of paper, a napkin or a guitar and write it down!!! I’ve been at my work and during a slow day, as my thoughts are running, I sometimes come up with something great. And then I print out some receipt paper and start scribbling on it until, of course, my boss says, “Hey, what are you doing? Get to work!” [laughs] So, honestly, I don’t try too hard to write under pressure and I just surround myself with people and things that inspire me.
Where do you get your ideas for your songs?
Song ideas come from everything! On our last album, I wrote a song called “Summer Girl.” The first line was inspired by the actual time that I woke up. The first line goes, “I got up around 8 o’clock, the sun was blazin’ so I went for a walk…Towards the blue sky horizon I had my eye set on a lake.” So, literally, I was daydreaming at the kitchen table, the sun was shining on my face and I wished I could go to the lake. Another song, “Mr. Perfect,” on the last album was written about a true event. “Homewrecker” was written purely on a movie-based fantasy. Ryleigh and I were a bit angry that night. Honestly though, you could be looking at a car driving by and start writing “I saw that old Nova driving by, it reminds me of the times I had at Langley High.” [laughs] You get what I’m saying!
What do you two like to do in your free time?
We love writing songs, being outdoors, exercising and going to the movies. I (Robyn) love challenging myself on the guitar and seeing what I can learn! I’m currently learning part of “Eruption” by Van Halen. I’m learning the tapping section. I don’t know how much room country music has in it for tapping, but at least I’m expanding my skills as a musician. Usually, our summers are filled right up with shows and rehearsals. But if we do have free time, we are camping.
It is quite refreshing to hear from two budding musicians who have such a passion and talent for writing and performing music like these two do. While their career may be in its infancy, there is no doubt that given time and experience these two ladies will eventually come into their own. Their dreams are big and their hearts are wide open. As they experience the beauty and joy of the world and share it, it is us fans who are the true benefactors of this talented duo’s offerings. I believe it will only be a matter of time that we will hear of them raising the roof of many well-known concert halls, including every country musician’s dream, the hallowed halls of the Grand Old Opry. In the meantime, be sure to follow them on their journey so you can keep up with them on this roller coaster ride to the top.