Born and Raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, Robin Hannibal has cultivated an innate sense for music with international appeal. “I draw inspiration from all kinds of music” he says, “But mainly from anything that explores vulnerable emotion – I don’t like ‘attitude’ music.” From obscure jazz b-sides, to pop sensations, Robin absorbs it all – becoming a vessel for all music that conveys what he calls the “whole picture”—music that offers a full journey through sound, while pairing unexpected elements together. His favorite artists, the ones who have most inspired his own music, are those who exhibit mastery of composition, such as Ennio Morricone and Charles Stepney. This attention to the subtle details of musical anatomy shine through Hannibal’s music as he forgoes fleeting trends and instead focuses on heartfelt songwriting, layered melody, and unique arrangements that stand the test of time.
Surprisingly, despite Robin’s sonic infatuation, he didn’t pick up an instrument before the relatively late age of 16. By contrast: he now plays piano, dabbles in bass, guitar and drums, and also writes arrangements for strings and horns too. Intrigued by the overall philosophy of music, Robin took a job in 2000 at a local record shop to surround himself with a library of vinyl to study. Through this, Robin’s connection with music deepened, and his horizons expanded even further. “I think I quickly found out that creating music made me feel in a way that I’ve never felt before” he explains, “I knew it was something special”.
During that time, Hannibal took the leap into crafting music as a serious, fulltime undertaking. Before long he found himself to be a founding member of several popular collaborative efforts. Teaming up with Phil Owusu, “Living with Owusu and Hannibal” (2006) became one of the most well-received soul albums of the past 5 years, and has been noted as a source of inspiration by both Pharrell Williams and ?uestlove. The much talked about Boom Clap Bachelors collective (Plug Research), of which Robin is a producer/vocalist, has gained attention from many including the prominent Gilles Peterson of the BBC’s “WorldWide”. Robin has also ventured off with BCB guest vocalist Coco O. to form the duo Quadron (Plug Research), providing a more soulfully melodic sound, and English-sung lyrics. With his global popularity, Robin was invited to lend his music-crafting expertise to the renowned Red Bull Music Academy – he has been involved with RBMA since 2007, lecturing, teaching, and leading various workshops.
Robin’s extensive list of collaborations now also includes Raphael Saadiq (whom is slated to be featured on Quadron’s sophomore album), Leon Ware (most well-known for his work with Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, and Quincy Jones), and Sa-Ra Creative Partners among many more.
But while Robin recognizes the benefits of working within cohesive groups and collaborations, he also values expressing his creative freedom through individual efforts. “My solo projects are a complete idea carried out by one mind.” He explains, “It’s very personal in that way, and so it’s incredibly rewarding to create all of it on my own terms.”
Enter “Bobby”, Hannibal’s stateside release of his solo EP slated to drop _date via Plug Research Music. Free to express his ideas fully and completely, Bobby fuses modern, abstract production with classic songwriting. The result is an ambitious leap into the future. “I never like to do the same thing twice;” Hannibal declares, “I thrive in the challenge of doing the unexpected. That’s how I learn and get better – by venturing into uncharted territory.”
Listening to” Bobby” (on which Hannibal provides all instruments/vocals), you’ll embark on the newly-explored paths of Hannibal’s mind, a voyeuristic view of his emotions. Each track (the particularly notable “Transit” and “Amends”) mingles Hannibal’s signature sound of intricate chord progressions, thoughtful lyrics, and atypical arrangements, proving that Robin Hannibal is not only a natural — he’s a force to be reckoned with.