Holiday Magic with Robert Robinson & Gwen Matthews - The Dunsmore Room at Crooners6161 Hwy 65 NE Minneapolis,MN
11/24/2018 6:00 PM - 11/24/2018 8:00 PM
Robert Robinson is reason to believe that the greatest music reaches every name and crosses every boundary, from audiences in the Pontiac Silverdome to troops in South Korea. Standing five foot five and sipping Diet Coke, Robert is “God’s canary.” He possesses the ability to sing any song and yet remain true to his vision.
There exists a deep sense of goodness about Robert. His father was a pastor and his mother, a church soloist, led the musical ministry on the North side of Minneapolis. At the tender age of 6, Robert (known as Eddie so as not to confuse the young vocalist with his father of the same name) began singing with his family as part of the Robinson Children, and by 15, Robert was directing the church choir. But it was not until around the age of 24 that Robert began to experiment with his prodigious musical gifts outside of the cocoon of church community. At the prodding of friends, family and outsiders, Robert took the modest steps of singing at weddings and small corporate functions, eventually starting a gospel choir at Minneapolis Community College in 1990. Soon, he quit his job as a data processing expert to lead the 100 strong Twin Cities Community Gospel Choir, today heralded by Minnesota Monthly Magazine as “the state’s most decorated group.” 1991 brought Robert a featured role in “Nightingale” at the world-renowned Theatre de la Jeune Lune. In 1992, Robert took part for the first time in Lorie Line’s Christmas tour and remained for 15 years with subsequent appearances on PBS and in Target stores nationwide.
Although Robert points to gospel greats Mahalia Jackson, Tramaine Hawkins, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong (with whom he has performed) as inspiration, Robert Robinson works and lives in his own genre. And eventually, it came time for him to forge a new path, combining his ministry of gospel with a vast experience rooted in soul. Told his vocal stylings were “too big for radio”, Robert set out in 2005 with a tenor voice as the superstar. He became producer, creative director and promoter of his own touring schedule and was named one of the “Ten Best Holiday Shows” by Metro Magazine in 2007. At the same time, Robert became a noted clinician giving master classes across the United States and even finding time to become a two-time national karaoke champion!
In January 2010, Robert launched his newest “Signature” CD and kicked off his latest tour. And reviews continue to pour in. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel described Robert as “a volcanic talent.” His performance was depicted as “glorious” by the Salt Lake City Deseret News, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune proclaimed Robert to be “a soaring presence.” Perhaps more importantly, Minnesota’s Insight News distinguished Robert as “a beloved institution,” a nod to both his service to the community and his sterling life’s work. People love Robert. Artists look to him for affirmation. Fans adore his inclusive personality. They don’t necessarily have to embrace gospel to embrace Robert and that is alright with him. It’s all about his soul.
From Stevie Wonder, Kenny Rogers, members of Earth Wind and Fire and numerous others, Gwen has recorded with the best. She has performed at the famed “Montreal Jazz Festival” in Canada and the “Fleur de France Festival” in Paris, and, was featured in festivals and concerts throughout Europe with The Denis Colin Trio. She also toured Russia with “Women Who Cook” and traveled internationally with the Rupert’s Orchestra.
Her career started by singing jingles in Minneapolis, later, in Los Angeles and New York. You can hear her golden voice on many National and local spots for Northwest Airlines, General Mills, Whirlpool and many others. Gwen recorded songs with the Emmy Award winning group “The Music Workshop For Kids” and traveled world-wide for such corporate clients as: Bandag, All-State Insurance, Johnson and Johnson, and the Radisson Hotel Chain.
Her move to Los Angeles lasted eleven years where she worked for many musical giants from nationally acclaimed producers to hit-making songwriters, who sought her for studio background and stage performances. Gwen has recorded with Stevie Wonder, the late Skip Scarborough, Frank Wilson, Phillip Bailey of EWF and Larry Dunn, also of EWF, Lamont Dozier, Susanne DePasse of Motown and Ronnie Laws & Norman Connors. Periodically, she would be asked to arrange and sing background parts for their recording projects. At times, singing sessions with the noted group “Silk”.
While in L.A., Gwen studied four years under world-renowned vocal technician Seth Riggs, a gift to her from her friend Stevie Wonder. Another highlight in the late 90's was when she appeared on the Oprah Show.
Although born in Chicago and living in Los Angeles for eleven years, Gwen claims Minneapolis as home. Upon returning from L.A. in 1987, she recorded her European hit “Keep On Pushing”. She also joined the famed “Rupert's Orchestra” and began her production career. Her first projects were produced for Mattel's GI Joe, General Mills and Black Inc. Some of Gwen’s CD productions included a gospel CD called “Celebrate Faith”. But, her proudest production was “Uniting For You” which included over 40 of Minnesota’s finest artists as they performed to raise money for AIDS in Africa. Along with, the amazing title song "For You” which was co-written with Jarrod Anderson and the late Skip Scarborough.
Gwen has received numerous awards and recognition. She was nominated numerous times for the Minnesota Music Awards as “Best Female R&B, Gospel and Jazz Vocalist”. She also shared the coveted award as “Best Cover Band” with the Rupert’s Orchestra for several years. Gwen also won the Minnesota Black Music Awards twice. And, in 2007 she was inducted into the Minnesota Rock and Country Hall of Fame with ‘Passage’; in 2009 for the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame with Crow.
Currently, she offers vocal mastery classes and workshops Nationally; also, teaches and coaches privately. With her rich, velvet, funky voice she continues to excite audiences leaving them standing and screaming for more. She also performs locally and nationally with the Pop Orchestra, “Synergy” and for fun, Gwen enjoys singing blues with the band “The Walking Wounded”.