First, there’s the voice. Devoid of affectation or theatrics, it’s a delightful instrument, one wielded with true subtlety. Technically a dramatic mezzo, it moves with graceful ease from slightly husky sensuality to bluesy boisterousness conveying, at turns, sweet romanticism and gently aching melancholy. Its purity of tone matched by impeccable phrasing, this is a voice to be reckoned with.
Then there are the songs. On Arms Full of Roses, her debut album, Hayle covered pop classics “Look of Love” and “Can’t Take My Eyes off You”, but it was her own compositions, evocative of Gershwin and Cole Porter, that truly captured the imagination. Her virtually unclassifiable style, and extraordinary gift for both music and lyrics, is again evident on So Much For Good Behaviour.
Featuring original songs sure to be mistaken as classics, (“But You Do”, “Summer’s Kiss” and “Impossible You” among them); a who’s who of Canadian musicians (including the legendary Guido Basso, with a haunting chromatic harmonica solo on Summers Kiss); and the contributions of Juno Award-winning recording engineer John Bailey, and Emmy Award-winning producer Don Breithaupt, So Much For Good Behaviour is a confluence of artistry and ingenuity.
“These songs wrote themselves. In fact, I didn’t quite know where they were going until they took me there,” says Hayle, of her quirky, complex and layered compositions.
Consider the poetry and homage to a by-gone era, and you’ll understand why this is something special: Drunk on second chances / This serenade / A cavalcade / Of flowery would be trues... and It’s helplessly, haplessly / Hopelessly, maddeningly / Wonderful Wanting You... and Did I misread your glance as something more than fleeting / Did I mistake the kiss that lingers on my lips / I only ask as winter passes / You will remember / And save me your Summer’s Kiss
Montreal-born and Toronto-based, this jazz chanteuse has had a fascinatingly chameleonic career, and draws from a deep well of experience in creating her work. Hayle’s musical, vocal and lyrical maturity, so evident on the albums, is eloquent testimony to a lifelong commitment to the crafts of singing and song writing.
Robyn began vocal and piano lessons at the Royal Conservatory in Montreal at age seven, and won her first International Music Competition at nine, singing “Faust.” By thirteen, she was performing in city clubs, singing backup for popular Quebec entertainer Tony Roman.
At 15, Hayle became the youngest music student ever at McGill, but soon defected to rock ’n roll. She toured with such stars as Johnny Farrago and Patsy Gallant and headed her own bands, prior to relocating to Toronto, where she was soon in demand for jingles and voiceover work — in both official languages.
In Toronto, Robyn also worked on children’s programming for TVO, including Sesame Street, and the internationally acclaimed Today’s Special, in which she played the computer “TXL Series Four”, and did animated voices that earned her a global cult following. A stint in New York City studying at the Neighborhood Playhouse was followed by a move to Los Angeles.
Returning to her first love — and passion — Robyn Hayle is currently promoting the recently released So Much For Good Behaviour.
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