Bert Robinson No More Cold Nights

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Currently unattached, he adds that although he welcomes the attention of young ladies who show romantic interest, "I'm from the old school, an old-fashioned kind of guy so I can handle myself in the proper way. Right now though, I'd say my career is my biggest priority I'll deal with romance later!"


BRITISH soul music lovers are renowned on both sides of the water for their discriminating taste, frequently hearing quality performers even before their American counterparts. It's almost become par for the course that certain artists can receive even more acclaim in Europe than they do in their native homeland. So when hip buyers go rushing out to get an album from the import shops in the U.K., American music industry folks sit up and take notice. Alas, their British equivalents  don't always do the same and  at the time of writing, the  powers-that-be haven't seen fit to introduce vocalist {safm}Bert Robinson{/safm} to the wide-scale British public.

However, those in the know agree that Mr.Robinson's Capitol debut, "No More Cold Nights" heralds the arrival of a new and soulful voice on the music scene. Bert doesn't have a long story of decades of struggle to tell about how he came to have his first album release this year. "It actually began three years ago when I auditioned for a local Detroit television show and found myself in the semi- finals. There were eight of us and the viewers sent in their ballots for the show, "Saturday Night Music Machine". I'm glad to say that I was selected for the finals and we had to submit a video-tape to win the title "Entertainer Of The Year"."Well, it finally got narrowed down to just myself and this young lady and two out of the three panelists chose ... the young lady!" Bert says that a lot of people were disappointed but he accepted the result: "I understood the situation," he says simply. Fortunatey, several folks had been following the Detroit TV show and about three months later, Bert got a call from local production company, Park's Music. "I started working with the company in 1985 and we begun looking straight away for a record deal."Finally, at the end of 1986, Capitol Records decided to offer the young vocalist a contract to do just one single. "Originally, they planned to release either "Won't You Be My Lady" or "Tough Enough" but they were so happy with what they heard that I ended up with a full album deal."

AS A WAY of introducing Bert's strong vocal style to the general public, Capitol decided to match him with female vocalist {safm}Peggi Blu{/safm} for the soulful "All The Way With You". "It was a great pleasure working with her. Doing the duet got people talking and paved the way for my album," says Bert. Certainly, Bert's first album displays a maturity and strength that come from working diligently at his craft. He remembers his uncle, Edward Robinson, working with the late Mahalia Jackson and the legendary Aretha Franklin, providing him with his first exposure to the music business and participating in local Detroit performances of musicals like "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "God's Trombone" further enhanced his vocal growth. "Some of the artists that I most admire are Peabo Bryson Aretha, Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston and Teddy Pendergrass," says Bert, adding that although Teddy's been a big influence, "I haven't patterned myself after him" ? a comment aimed at those who have said that Bert's style resembles Teddy's too closely. With his first album now out, Bert is looking forward to a big future but, for right now, he's keeping his job working as a bartender at Detroit's prestigious Yacht Club. "I'm staying with that until everything comes together so that I can hit the road," Bert says confidently. Aside from the obvious vocal stature he exhibits on tracks like "Heart Of Gold" and "Just Begun To Know You" (his own personal favourite torn the album), Bert has been the object of favourable comments on his good looks. "Well, I've never looked at myself as being handsome or debonair but I've always taken care of the way I look and of course, I'm flattered when people make such comments," Berts says modestly. Currently unattached, he adds that although he welcomes the attention of young ladies who show romantic interest, "I'm from the old school, an old-fashioned kind of guy so I can handle myself in the proper way. Right now though, I'd say my career is my biggest priority I'll deal with romance later!"

BERT says that the most important lesson he's learned from his relatively short career in the music industry thus far is the importance of believing in yourself and knowing there's room for everyone's talent. "Sure, there were times when I was discouraged and had doors slammed in my face but there were always people around me to inspire me to keep going and I'd say, 'damn right, I'm not giving up now'. I realised that I had as much chance to make it as anyone else and as long as I kept that faith and belief in myself no matter what circumstances came along, I'd get there in the end." Thankfully, Bert didn't give up and the result is that music lovers can now revel in his. golden, soulful tones. B&S Nov '97

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