Ever heard a song and wondered where the songwriter came up with the ideas for it? That is what happened to me after I heard the song, Sidecar, by Robyn Dell’Unto. When my sisters introduced it to me, a dance party erupted in the living room. Sidecar is so catchy that we had to start dancing as soon as we heard it! So much fun! As well, the song’s video had personal meaning too, as it reminded me of my summers growing up in Ontario. Have a listen below.
I’m excited that today, singer/songwriter Robyn Dell’Unto, is “Speaking From the Heart”, and sharing her experiences with all of us. Not only does Robyn sing and write songs, she also teaches young people to do the same. Founded by Robyn Dell'Unto in September 2011, ‘A Song Of My Own’ is a unique and interactive songwriting workshop designed to support children and youth in their exploration of music and song. Over 200 original songshave been written and recorded during A Song Of My Own workshops since the program’s inception. After hearing about the work that Robyn does, I had to invite her to take part in this series. Thank you, Robyn, for the beautiful work you are doing! Read Robyn’s interview below. Enjoy!
Why do you believe self-expression (speaking from the heart) is important?
I think it's important to take the time to zero in on what you really care about, and understand that your perspective and interests are valid. That's the "truth" in people I guess. That's the interesting stuff.
How has writing empowered you in other areas of your life?
Yes totally, and in that age-old way. I know that if I tap into that thing at just the right moment, and by some stroke of luck choose just the right words, I might be telling someone else's story, in addition to mine, in a way that makes them feel ... understood ... or better ... or whichever feeling like that. It makes me feel powerful and useful. I think, "I am of use!" And it encourages me to do my taxes.
How did you find your authentic voice through writing?
I think I did what many writers do, which is yo-yo from what feels natural to the unknown, and back again. But every time you bounce back, you bring some new skills and knowledge. It's worth it, feeling lost and completely unsure of yourself. It makes coming back all the more .... better-er?
How did you develop the courage to stand tall (i.e., get the courage to share your writing)?
I'm still finding it. I think it's just battling the voice in your head. But also, realizing that the voice feeds on other things, like laziness, unhealthiness, bad social environments, whatever the thing is. When I'm feeling super-self-doubty lately, I try to make sure everything else is in shape. Then the voice gets quieter.
What does it mean to be assertive?
I think knowing absolutely everything you possibility can about the situation in which you are asserting yourself is very helpful. I don't know if I would call myself assertive, but I definitely research the hell out of stuff I want. I research every person who's gotten "it," and how they did it, and look into this and that and the other thing. Research is my friend.
When you have a hard time writing, what do you do to work through it?
Tessellate! ("Stealing" bits you like in other songs, re-working them and throwing them together to form a Super Song, or at least a song, which at least means your writer's block is over.)
How did you find your support group?
I think I was visibly eager in the beginning. I had my guitar on my back all the time and I'd just hang out in this one music shop near my house. I played every show I was asked to play. In the past couple years, I've gotten really lucky ... despite touring less, I've met a lot of super-duper talented writers and producers, and gotten deeper into co-writing and collaboration. Everyone is nice. If you're not, you kind of get weeded out.
Any advice for new writers?
Thanks for speaking from your heart and empowering others around the world, Robyn! Keep up the fantastic work! Also, thank you to my beautiful sisters and to CBC radio for connecting us.
If you have any specific questions for Robyn about her writing process, please feel free to ask. Be sure to check out the rest of Robyn's music.
Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. Since this is a space of emergence, I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments section below.
See you at the beach!