Keith Robinson Opens Up About Role In Tupac Shakur Biopic + Latest Album, Love Episodic
An illustrious singer, songwriter, and actor, Keith Robinson is definitely considered a triple threat in today’s entertainment front. Aside from his recent accolades on the big screen, the Saints & Sinners actor and R&B singer just unveiled his newest album, titled, Love Episodic. The newly-released album showcases Robinson’s smooth, sensual, and soulful approach to R&B music, authentically bringing the true sound of ‘rhythm and blues’ back into full swing. Love Episodic speaks to the heart, mind, body, and soul, as the crooner effortlessly delivers a thought-provoking masterpiece. Creating a musical narrative with his flow of words, the body of work is definitely a must-hear. Love Episodic reintroduces Keith Robinson to the world, reacquainting listeners with him and his artistry.
A Louisville, Kentucky native, Robinson’s adoration for songwriting commenced in his adolescent years. That, however, obviously blossomed into more. Setting his sights on discovering what the world of music had to offer and furthering his education, Robinson attended the University of Georgia. But, upon his arrival to Los Angeles, Robinson ventured out into acting, jumpstarting his acting career shortly thereafter.
From there, things began to take off. Since then, the actor-singer has secured roles in films like Dreamgirls, which featured Beyoncé, Eddie Murphy, and Jamie Foxx, among others, This Christmas, and the celebrated James Brown biopic, Get On Up, to name a few. His latest film credit happens to be in the forthcoming Tupac Shakur biopic, All Eyez On Me, set to hit theaters this June.
However, this year, Robinson is putting his focus on the vocals. With a budding single, “Miles High”, and a brand new album, Keith Robinson is coming full force, dominating both on set and in the booth.
Parlé Mag: Before I jump into the music, I want to talk about this new Tupac Shakur movie, All Eyez On Me, which you’ll be seen in this coming June. Talk to us about that. How did you get involved with All Eyez On Me?
Keith Robinson: Well, I met with the producer about six years ago, when it was first in development. Then, it kind of went away. I happened to be in Atlanta, shooting Saints & Sinners, and the director and the producers, who were good friends of mine, were there. We had a conversation and they had offered me the role. Long story short, it worked out. Kind of a ‘right place at the right time’ thing for me. So, it worked out in a good way.
Parlé Mag: Could we know a little bit about the character you’ll be portraying?
Keith Robinson: I play a guy named Atron Gregory, who was actually Tupac’s manager for the lion’s share of his career. They kind of morphed him into another one of his characters. I’m the voice of reason kind of character who people won’t really know—that was always there behind the scenes until the movie comes out. So, that’s basically who I play. It’s a good thing because I am kind of getting to introduce somebody who nobody’s ever seen before. He’s from the Bay; he introduced Pac to Digital Underground and, you know, got it started, basically.
Parlé Mag: Now, let’s get into the music. At what age did you start singing and writing your own songs?
Keith Robinson: I probably started writing around ninth grade. Just writing poetry, doing stuff like that. I think I wrote my first song my senior year in high school. So, about six years I’ve been doing this.
Parlé Mag: [LAUGHS!]
Keith Robinson: Nah, I’m just kidding. Much longer! Yeah, I started it in grade school. I had a crush on shawty in the classroom. So, I was able to write some poetry about her.
Parlé Mag: Have you done songwriting for any other artists or just yourself, at this point?
Keith Robinson: Primarily, just myself. You know, I’ve collaborated on different songs with different people, like David Banner and Jon B. Over the years, I’ve definitely written a lot of stuff, in and out, but it’s always been about pushing my own art, I think, for the most part.
Parlé Mag: Is anyone else in your family musically inclined?
Keith Robinson: My mom is a singer; my mom actually had a deal, back in the day. She had the opportunity to have a deal with Motown, back in the Aretha Franklin days, but my grandma didn’t want her to sing secular music. So, she ran the other way, had kids—had me. I think I get the singing thing from my mother. My mom’s side of the family is pretty musical, and my dad’s side, actually.
Parlé Mag: You mentioned that your grandmother didn’t want your mom singing secular music. Being that you’re in the R&B genre, did your family have any issues with the type of music you were singing as well?
Keith Robinson: They actually didn’t. They were pretty open to it. As long as I didn’t lose myself in it, they’ve been pretty supportive along the way. They have a more lightened viewpoint.
Parlé Mag: You started in music and then ventured out into acting. When did you have the notion that acting was something you had an interest in, too?
Keith Robinson: When I moved to L.A., I went to an acting class with a friend. They didn’t have enough readers and I ended up participating in the class. The teacher thought I had a knack for it and urged me to go read for this role of Power Rangers. That’s how my acting career started. I was just taking a stab in the dark, just to see what all of the fuss was about out here in Hollywood because it seemed like everybody had a headshot and was going to auditions. I was steady trying to push my records. It worked out as a way to pay for my studio time, and then it ended up becoming a second career.
Parlé Mag: Being that you did start off in music, but you gained a lot of popularity from film/TV, were you ever afraid that your success as an actor would overshadow your singing career?
Keith Robinson: No, I wasn’t afraid! I think that the good thing is that—for people who have interest, a lot of times, if they’re not familiar with my music, they’re familiar with my TV and films. Then, I’m able to introduce them to my music. So, I think, one hand washes the other in that respect. The more success you have in one area, the more difficult it is to have it in the other because people see you in one way. That’s probably the biggest challenge that I’ve seen. For me, it’s trying to get people to see that I am a ‘two-sport athlete’, that I do both. I do both well, and that I’m to be taken seriously in both arenas. I think that is a challenge, but I’m having fun doing it.
Parlé Mag: Your new album, Love Episodic, released back on March 31st. The title is very interesting. How did you come up with it?
Keith Robinson: It’s a play on an episode. ‘Episodic TV’ is what they call it; it’s a term you use in TV and film. The album is the anatomy of a relationship. It’s like an episode of love, the opening act, the climax, the dark side, the whole gamut of a relationship as if you were sitting down listening to this album would be the same thing as sitting down watching an episode of love. So, we call it Love Episodic.
Parlé Mag: How did you initially want Love Episodic to represent your new age of music?
Keith Robinson: I want people to see the value of relationships, that it still exists and that people still want the same thing. I want people to see the vulnerability and the truth in it because I spoke some things that I’ve experienced myself, I am going through, I want to go through, I’ve been through. I want them to remember the value of real music, real musicianship, real vocals, real conceptual songs, that are not just so straight to the panties. We kind of work our way through. It’s a mental thing before it becomes a physical thing. That’s the throwback of it, but the sound is millennium. I call it millennium soul; it’s an old school concept, but in new packaging.
Parlé Mag: Nice! So, what have you learned while trying to stay consistent in music that has kept you from being defeated by the ins and outs of the process?
Keith Robinson: To stay consistent. Really, that’s what I’ve learned. To not deviate. Don’t change yourself so much to fit in because the tides change so much. It’s very a fickle industry. Music is art; music is an opinion. If you get good at what you’re good at, then the people will come. You just have to stay with it and believe in yourself.
Parlé Mag: Often times, people have this perception of how they want R&B artists to be. How have you crafted your own artistry without letting the pressure of meeting a certain standard burden you?
Keith Robinson: I mean, I really have no choice but to be myself. I don’t hint at being something that I’m not because I don’t really know what that is. I don’t think a lot of people even see me coming in this arena. So, there’s no standard; the judgment hasn’t come yet. I think it’ll come after this album when people really hear my body of work. There are whispers in places, like, “He has an album.” or “He’s a singer.”, but they don’t really know the extent of it. So, I’ve had the luxury of not being bogged down by expectations or what people expect. I don’t expect people to expect anything from me, but I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Parlé Mag: Are you going to be doing a tour for the Love Episodic album?
Keith Robinson: Yeah! Right now, I’m just spot dating. My first date was here in L.A., and then I go to New York and Atlanta. I’m not on a tour yet, but I’m looking to get on a tour and do something on a consistent basis as soon as possible. We’re still working on that.
Parlé Mag: Catch the people up on what you have to come in the following months.
Keith Robinson: Aside from the Tupac movie and album, I have a new song, for the Tupac movie, I did, called “A Shout Out To the Pain”. I’m excited for that. I’m personally working on a project right now, called “Do Me Right”, which is a TV show that I wrote about this songwriter trying to maintain his relationship out here in this madness of Hollywood. So, I got some things coming up in the fall that I’m excited about, but, right now, it’s all about Love Episodic.
Parlé Mag: Any final words to your supporters?
Keith Robinson: Yeah! I want to thank them for the support in advance, and to re-embrace the concepts of love and relationships and R&B and live instrumentation, and good singing. I think this is an album that you can put in and listen to from front to back and kind of get reacquainted with the things that get watered down now, with all of the saturation of ‘hurry up and get there quick’. So, this album represents the ladder. I just hope that some people enjoy it.
Listen To Love Episodic Here:
Main Image by Joi Pearson
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