Robbie Turnbull, an alumnus of Seven Summits Centre For Learning in Rossland, is an accomplished singer and songwriter of Canadian folk music. “I would describe my music as a fusion of classic folk, Celtic, and with a touch of jazz. The direction and elements I include depend on the song,” says Turnbull. “The lyrics will direct the instrumentation.”
Turnbull’s first public releases included several singles in the fall of 2021. His debut album titled Revelry & Retribution is a collection of songs that offer a symbolic musical tour. His clear, crisp sound is accentuated by the mix of different instruments and sounds from nature. Both the words and music tell a story. The depth of musical maturity and symbolism can be appreciated by listening closely to the message.
Turnbull admits his least favourite song is incredibly popular to audiences. “Broken Bouquet is a song I wrote semi-sarcastically after a challenging time, but audiences love its poppy, campy style and the message seems to resonate.” Turnbull plays several different instruments which he records individually and then melds the final product. When playing live in concert, Turnbull plays an acoustic guitar and sings while using his feet to operate a kick-drum and tambourine.
Turnbull writes his music with the care and precision of a classical poet. “I aim to write music lyrics that are independent so they can be read as well as sung.” The alchemy behind the music is the stand-alone lyrics, which produce musical magic when paired with the right tune. It may be a folk song with jazz projections, a western-style with grunge instrumentations, or sounds of nature to set the musical stage.
Turnbull serves up an exciting repertoire of toe-tapping lyrics on Spotify or Apple Music.
When asked about his academic talents, Turnbull reported, “I wasn’t a particularly strong student in English or certain aspects of my post-secondary music studies; instead, during Covid, a lot of the concepts I studied but didn’t quite understand or appreciate, began to ferment and finally formed into a lot of the principles behind my newer work.” At Seven Summits, Turnbull enjoyed the flexible schedule and freedom to chart his unique high school experience.
Turnbull ends with some advice for music students: “Find people with similar interests to collaborate with, who can be honest and critical, as this will challenge the artist to do better. Nurture the parts you enjoy. Focus on and strengthen those elements rather than forcing yourself through the difficult parts.”
Seven Summits Centre for Learning