CCMA and JUNO Award-nominated artist Mike Robins has struck out as a solo artist and his debut single “Lightning Don’t Strike Twice” is sure to be a hit. This fresh-sounding tune dropped via all streaming services on October 2 and has already created quite a buzz within the country music genre.
“Lucky for me when it rained it poured.”
And with this single, the streaming will be pouring in. It’s an upbeat, fun love song, a toe-tapping, dancing in your chair song, a song that pulls at your heartstrings, especially if you are about to be married. Robins actually wrote this song for his fiancée, so you know how special of a song it is!
To download “Lightning Don’t Strike Twice” on Apple Music, click here.
Fans who have been following Robins’s career will be familiar with him being part of the country music duo, Autumn Hill, and an accomplished Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist. This next chapter of his career and his new music showcases his soulful smooth vocals, raw emotion, and electrifying guitar work while staying true to his roots in the genre where storytelling holds a long tradition.
I was given the opportunity, through Canadian Beats, to chat with Mike Robins about “Lightning Don’t Strike Twice,” about what’s it’s like to be an artist during these trying times, and some other things about him that you may not know.
Now, on to the interview I had with Robins. Check out our questions and his answers. You will enjoy what you read.
People have a need to hear new music right about now and we, at Canadian Beats, would like to congratulate you on the October 2 release of your single “Lightning Don’t Strike Twice.”
Let’s chat a bit about it…
It’s been a minute since you had new music for your fans to hear. Can you tell us how this song came about and what it means to you? Where did you get your inspiration?
Sure I’d been writing for this project for a long time and actually had most of the record finished. I was supposed to get married this last summer, but then COVID happened. While we were going through postponing everything, I wanted to say something nice to my fiancée and let her know she is my once in a lifetime. My good friend and producer, Dave Thomson, sent me this song. I just knew it was special. It said everything I wanted it to and I just had to record it for her. We saw that so many people were going through the same thing we were, and I knew this song had a universal theme that I think a lot of people can relate to.
In these times, as they are, how and where did you produce this single, and how hard was it to produce it?
The Coronavirus definitely changed the way we do things. I mean it really changed everything. As far as recording goes. I love being in the studio with a producer and a band. There is this energy in playing together and collaborating. This obviously was not possible right now. So the process was very different. I actually recorded all of my parts at home in Toronto. Then sent the files down to Nashville, where Dave could work on them. We used an app that allows you to monitor in real-time the recording process so we tried to be as collaborative as possible. It was a really unique way of doing it; I learned a ton about recording.
Most artists have some sort of ritual prior to writing or recording a song. Can you tell us about a process that you have? Be it having a cup of coffee or other beverage on hand, putting all your thoughts to pen and paper (or your computer), that sort of thing.
Well I am pretty obsessed with coffee so starting off a session; it’s almost guaranteed I will have a cup. I like to try to start every song by coming up with a lyric. Though there is no “one way” a musical idea can spark a song just as well as a lyrical one for me. As far as a ritual goes, I just like to warm up my voice and have enough coffee or tea and then just get into it.
With 2020 being as it is, how difficult will it for you to not be able to go on a radio tour junket to promote your single?
2020 has brought a lot of challenges and change with it. Not being able to go on a radio tour is a big one for sure. I love visiting all the stations and catching up with friends. I think now it’s just going to be about finding creative ways to get the music out there and hope people connect with it. I’m so grateful to country radio, they have always been amazing and so supportive of my music.
Let’s chat a bit about your career …
You have made a few waves for yourself, along with Tareya Green, as the duo Autumn Hill, where you achieved Top 10 and 20 singles including “Anything At All,” “Mixtape” and “Can’t Keep Waiting,” along with many awards and award nominations, including two JUNO noms. What was that whole experience like for you?
Autumn Hill is something I am so proud of. That was the first time songs I had written really connected with country fans; it really was an incredible experience. I got to tour the country, play on award shows, meet incredible people, and get on stage performing in front of huge audiences, who would sing the lyrics back at us. It was the first time, I ever heard a song of mine on the radio and saw it climb the charts, it was a dream.
When you and Tareya decided to part ways in 2016, you and Andrew Mackay decided to start a band, East Adelaide, where you blended both pop and country to create a new sound. You released a few singles and videos, including “You Don’t Get To Love Me” (a song that I love). Do you consider this the start of the transition from a band to a solo career? And, what was it like for you to open the next chapter of your music career?
Thanks so much, I’m so happy you love “You Don’t Get To Love Me” because that song means a lot. East Adelaide was such a fun project. I grew up playing in bands and I was really into the idea of being in a band again. I had some music I’d been writing and it seemed to naturally fit a band project. Andrew had been drumming with Autumn Hill so we already had this great musical chemistry and it was a blast getting on stage and rocking out. That song seemed to really connect with the audiences every night it was a really incredible feeling. This was a band all the way and I was so excited to get into that next chapter. We had an amazing team around us and it was just a great ride.
What does the future hold for you in regards to getting the world to hear and catch hold of and love what your music is all about now that you’re a solo artist?
That’s a great question, I really miss the stage but since we can’t really do that right now for me it’s about getting my music out there. I have been working on this solo project for a long time. I will be putting out a steady stream of music and content. I am working on live clips, music videos, remixes, and even live streaming performances. I think in 2020 we all have to get creative and push the boundaries a little as far as how we get our music out into the world.
What do the next six months look like for you, with no concerts, even no radio tours, to promote your new music?
The next six months will be all about getting as much music and content out and really introducing people to this next chapter. I am really enjoying connecting with people over Instagram Live. I do a live session every week, where I am taking requests, performing, and connecting with people. Obviously, it’s a tricky time as far as promoting your music, but I think it’s also a time where people need music to be a bit of a distraction from all that’s going on in the world. So there really is a place for new music right now.
Let’s chat a bit about what is on everyone’s mind these days – Covid-19 … how has it been for you not to be able to have that personal interaction with your fans?
That has really been hard. I try to stay as connected as I can. I think social media is an incredible tool for that. However, I don’t think anything is better than meeting in person or being at a show. The live experience is my favourite part, rocking out with a crowd, there is no better feeling. I love going out after a show and meeting everyone who came to support and listen to my music, I can’t wait until we can all be together again.
How do you think social media has helped you during these crazy times? What are some adjustments that you have had to make to your social media accounts due to this Coronavirus pandemic?
I think social media is an incredible tool; it has made staying connected possible when we have to be apart. I have been performing a lot on my social media, with something I call the Stairwell Sessions, late-night waves, and live streams. I asked for requests and began performing songs in the stairwell beside my apartment cause the sound in there is amazing. The late-night waves are me playing some mellow guitar jams late at night when I can’t sleep. My favourite thing right now is the live stream. I’ve been doing these live streams where I take requests and I get to connect with everyone during this time. Social media has been great throughout this experience.
Rising to the challenge of this pandemic, what is one message you would give to your fans?
I would say that we need to be there for each other. There is a lot going on in the world and tensions are running high, I think it’s such an important time to have each other’s back. Everyone needs to do their part, wear their mask, and help however they can. We need to exercise patience and know that everyone is hurting from this, we will get through this together and we will be stronger because of it.
You have amazing fans. Let’s chat about some random things that will make your fans get to know you better and fun for you to answer…
What artists have the most influence over you?
Hmm, that’s a great one, I would say I am a huge Beatles fan and classic music fan. I love a lot of music from the ’60s and the ’70s. Right now though I am loving the new Hardy record, it’s full of incredible songwriting. I also am a huge Keith Urban and John Mayer fan; both are incredible guitarists and artists.
What have you learned about your career and fans now that you’ve been at this for a while?
I’ve learned that it takes a village; no one can do this on your own. I love taking the time to get to know and thank as many people as I can who support my music. They are the reason I get to do what I love to do most. They mean so much to me and I am so grateful to them and honoured that they have made my music a part of their soundtrack.
What do you think your “biggest break” or your “greatest opportunity” has been so far in your music career?
My biggest break would have to be with Autumn Hill. Our first single “Anything At All” went Top 20, and crossed over into pop radio; that was so wild. I still can’t believe how fast things started moving once that song came out, so crazy.
If you could choose just one artist to collaborate with, one who you haven’t worked with, who would that be?
I would love to do a duet with Tenille Townes. I love her voice, and her songs are just incredible. She really is killing it right now and it’s so well deserved. I have to say I also would love to do a duet with Lindsay Ell. I love her new record and I think we could really have some fun rocking out on some guitar jams.
Tell us what is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
Hahaha, that’s a great question. Okay, keep in mind I was younger at the time and it was my first band. We tried to go on our first tour not knowing much about visas and crossing the border. After a show in Montreal, we were supposed to head up to play around the Boston area. When we got to the border, we were pulled into a secondary check and had the fear of God put in us. We were told if we didn’t turn around we were invited to spend the weekend in jail. Obviously, we quickly turned around. I made sure I learned everything about visas and never made that mistake again.
With all the many social media platforms that exist today telling the world your life story, is there anything about you that would be of interest to your fans; something that they couldn’t find on your own social network or even Google?
Wow, something they couldn’t find on social media. I mean, I am a huge foodie that’s not always apparent. I love traveling and experiencing new restaurants. I also love cooking, though that’s a newer thing. Over this pandemic, I’ve been working a lot on my cooking.
And last but not least, if you can have one thing that your fans could remember about you, what would it be?
There has never been anything else I have ever wanted to do in life. I love getting to make and perform this music. I am so grateful that they have connected with my songs. We are on this adventure together, thanks for letting me stretch out with these projects and grow musically and I am so excited to share this next chapter with you.
We, at Canadianbeats.ca, thank you Mike so much for taking the time for this interview and helping your fans get to know you a little more. We wish you much success with not only the release of “Lightning Don’t Strike Twice” but with all the great stuff that is coming your way.
Hi all. I’m Nanci Dagg. I am from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and have lived my entire life here. There is nothing I like better than supporting local artists followed by supporting Canadian artists. Although I was a classic rock gal, my go to genre is country. Something about this music that just makes me feel great. I can be found at most country music concerts and shows (from someone’s house to really large venues) taking lots of pictures. Music and photography are two of my passions. Add to this mix, writing about artists, well let’s say, life doesn’t get better than this.