Abi Robins
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Abi Robins

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF
Band Folk Alternative


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Fan Poll with Popplet for Authentic Audience Participation!"

An interview with Abi Robins, musician and indie music label producer at Morning Bird Records

For most of this year, indie musician Abi Robins has been using Popplet as a fan poll to encourage audience participation around the development of her next album. In our first Popplet People Profile, we interviewed her about how she uses Popplet…

Abi Robins: Photo Courtesy of Corey Woodruff Music Photography www.coreywoodruff.com

Musician Abi Robins has been producing and sharing her original music since 2006 and has been cultivating fellow artists through her indie music label Morning Bird Records for the past four and a half years. She has been described as “electrifying on stage with an immediacy that stops listeners in their tracks”, while her label is “community oriented with DIY sensibilities, but deeply grounded in self-reliance.”
For anyone who has heard her music, it should come as no surprise that Abi uses Popplet as part of her creative process. Her music blends folk, rock and jazz sensibilities to create a wholly original sound in the same way that Popplet allows users to make the types of connections between disparate ideas that lead to new insights and perspectives.

This year, Abi has been using Popplet to encourage audience participation feedback around the development of her new album – a technique in the music industry known as fan polling. With a collection of tracks from the summer of 2010 onwards and still more in development, Abi had a hard time deciding which ones should make it onto her new album. She created a popplet with all the possible songs that could go on the album and asked her fans and followers which ones should be included, and in what order. We talked with Abi about how Popplet helped her consult with her fan base during the record production process.

Q: Why use Popplet for this type of audience participation?
I love using mind map stuff for my creative process and when I saw you could share popplets with others I thought it was an awesome way to share my ideas with my fans.

Q: How did you create the fan poll popplet?
A: I made it a point to make videos for all the songs, some were recordings with my band from shows and some were drafts I made on my iPhone: nothing too fancy, just rough outlines of the tracks I was working on. This album has been the longest in the works: if I get it out in September it will have taken two and a half years, and with so many songs, it was hard for me to be objective about which tracks fit together and which ones my fans would like best. I shared the Popplet with all the possible songs on my social networks and started to get quite a bit of feedback through audience participation.

Q: What was the reaction amongst your fans and followers?
A: A lot of people thought the idea of using Popplet as a fan poll technique was really cool. It got a lot of comments, people thought it was a really neat idea. As an indie musician, fan polling is a really good way to keep in touch with the fan base and keep them active and involved in the music.

Q: How have you used the feedback in the album production process?
A: I’m really thankful for the feedback and now have a great idea of how to fit the songs into the record. As an artist, I tend to like the newest songs I am working on the most, whereas from the feedback, a few of the older songs were really well liked. A few songs in particular were surprises: songs that I wanted to throw away now I think ‘I should work on this’. One song in particular, “Silver”, by the time I got into the recording studio, it didn’t have the ‘oomph’ it needed and I was ready to set it aside but the feedback from fans was ‘no, it really has to be on there’. That song will be included particularly because of the feedback from popplet!

Above: In addition to the fan poll, Abi Robins created this popplet to describe the process she used to create handmade CD cases for her forthcoming release.

To learn more about Abi Robins’ music, you can visit her youtube channel, her bandcamp, or her Facebook page. Don’t forget to follow Abi on Twitter! We invite all Popplet users to check out Morning Bird Records for more about Abi and her indie music label stablemates. Thanks to Abi and Morning Bird Records for sharing the process of using Popplet as a fan poll technique for audience participation. - Popplet Rocks Blog

"The “New Years Rulin’s” Project: Behind The Scenes, #9 Wear Clean Clothes – Look Good"

This shoot was a mess. Literally. And intentionally. Let me explain.


This photo is actually an outtake from a session for Abi’s latest record, “Such A Mess”. She and I had worked together before on some press photos, so I was honored to be tapped for her newest project. We spent a day shooting around town while she passed through on tour, and this setup was one of the ideas I had for that shoot. I had hoped we might find a photo from the session that would work for this Rulin’, but I didn’t shoot anything in the session expressly for this project. After all, the client comes first!


I’ve written things about Abi before, but it bears repeating: she is a talented young artist–blessed with both the gift of melody and a knack for subtly biting lyrics. And she is fun to work with since she is up for all sorts of craziness, like being splattered with paint. Her music slyly fuses folks and Americana elements while remaining highly listenable and musically interesting. Check her out at AbiRobins.com.


What lights did I use? ALL of them. Seriously. I think every photon-emitting device in my camera bag was employed for this shoot. Here’s the setup.

What you are looking at, from left to right:
Alien Bees B800 w/reflector
Alien Bees ABR800 ringflash
Alien Bees B800 w/reflector
3 Nikon SB800s on one stand behind backdrop

It may look like I just setup up everything to blast Abi with light, but that’s not the case. There are 3 different things going on here, and the setup evolved based on the lighting needs that arose as the shoot evolved.

First, I set up the pair of B800s to freeze the paint flying through the air at Abi and to serve as rimlights to separate her from the backdrop, a large sheet of translucent plastic sheeting. Of course, since it was translucent I wanted to pump some light through it so I put my speedlights on a bracket and mounted them all to a single stand. Since they are much smaller (and less powerful) than the B800s I grouped them together to make them perform more like their big brothers.

Finally, I broke out the ringflash to fill in the front of Abi. Without it, she would be illuminated only from the side and behind, which can look cool, but since this was possibly for an album cover I needed something that illuminated her cleanly.


Well, I learned that my neighbors are a pretty tolerant bunch. Here I was with enough candlepower in my yard to confuse passing air traffic alongside a big plastic tarp and a dude squirting paint on a young lady, and the folks next door just acted like it was no big deal. I did get some glances from the police station (see the cop cars in the top left of the photo?) but even they didn’t seem to bothered by it. All part of life in South St. Louis I guess.

- Corey Woodruff Music Photography

"Abi Robins Featured on CDBaby DIY Musician Blog"

Over the last few months, DIY musician and indie label producer Abi Robins has been using an online app called Popplet to gather feedback from her fans in preparation for her next independent album release. Here, Abi shares some of her ideas about fan polling that can help you build and maintain a loyal audience for your music.

5 ideas to help you engage your audience with fan polling tools
1. Get Creative With Technology

Abi used the web app Popplet as a way to gather feedback from her fans about which songs best suited her new album. She was able to add short videos and commentary to a ‘popplet board’ – like a mind map – which showed the work in progress so fans could vote and comment on which songs deserved more polishing in the studio.

The novel use of the app was immediately engaging and spurred a strong response from her followers: “A lot of my fan base thought it was really cool to use Popplet as a way to provide feedback. It gave fans an insight into the new album production – much more than just asking a poll question – and a lot of people thought it was a really neat idea. It was a way of presenting the information that they hadn’t seen before, which, I think, turned quite a few heads. The fact that it looks really neat and it is easy to navigate helped a lot, too.”

2. Know your social media

Abi has been using social media to discuss her music for the past 5 or 6 years and understands how her fans use the various channels. “I started out when myspace was on top and if it wasn’t for that, my music career wouldn’t be where it is now. It’s sad that it’s gone under but it’s important to cultivate all the other social networks. Twitter, for example, is high volume, so you can post the same message 2 or 3 times in a day without people getting angry. You do need to be persistent so people notice you when they are online – It’s how the whole music industry works nowadays: be persistent and be flexible. If people are on Facebook for example, they don’t want to leave Facebook to reply to you, so you need to be available within the media they are using, be it Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc.”

3. Ask the right questions

Most recently for her fan polling, Abi solicited feedback from her audience about which songs should be included on her next album release: “With so many songs, it was hard to be objective about which songs fit together and which ones fans would like best,” she explains. Being authentic and asking her fans about information she could use has been central to her fan polling efforts in the past. “Fan polling about tours, in particular, usually works out really well. Fans help us get connected with cities and venues we may have overlooked when planning a tour. The internet is great because if you don’t know something, you just have to ask!”

4. Listen to your audience

“Don’t ask questions if you’re not going to listen to the answers,” Abi says.

Through her recent fan-polling approach, she could see how the audience feedback related not only to how she creates music, but to how to provide a more consistent image of her music identity to her fan base. “It’s hard to be creative and to think about how to market your music at the same time. The feedback I get from my fans helped me get a better perspective on each one of the songs and which ones fit together the best for the next album release. They were doing the hard work for me, I just had to listen.”

5. Stay connected

Maintaining an ongoing connection with your audience is essential to building and keeping a loyal base of music followers who remain interested in your music as your career builds. “Fan polling is a good way to keep in touch with the fan base. Who better to give you advice about the album than the people who’re going to buy it?” Abi stresses. “Keeping fans active and involved in your music is essential. If they feel like they’re a part of it, they’re more likely to support it! The key to indie music success is to stay connected with your audience.”

————— - CDBaby

"Wildy's World Review of "Hey, Sunshine!""

Abi Robins – Hey, Sunshine (The EP)
2009, Morning Bird Records

Abi Robins is a singer/songwriter originally from western Kansas and currently based in St. Louis, Missouri. Fans might recognize her as one half of the duo The Winter Wakeup. Robins is a classic singer/songwriter with intelligent and emotion-driven lyrics and a talent for crafting pleasant sonic structures around her lyrics. 2009 sees the release of Robins’ 2nd EP, Hey, Sunshine; on her own Morning Bird Records.

Speechless is an articulate and intricate soliloquy by someone viewing a relationship gone sour from two angles; intellectually understanding that things can’t, or won’t work out, but still being invested in that relationship. It’s an emotionally and intellectually honest song about love, lost and the helpless feeling that sometimes pervades a relationship. The song is very well written, accented with Dylan-esque harmonica and a subtle, layered-sounding acoustic guitar base. Russian Roulette is at the other end of a relationship cycle, about taking a chance to see where things go. It’s a bit cynical in outlook but very well written. Sunflowers is another introspective relationship song that is a pleasant listen but a bit harder to follow. Plans is about an unexpected relationship and the joys that it brings, and is my favorite song on the disc. There is a vulnerability here that is not present on the first three songs that is tangible. Hey, Sunshine is a plaintive and wistful platonic love song that could just as easily be written from mother to child as to an ex. Robins is at her most affecting here, the emotion in the song as real as the sounds that reach your ears.

Abi Robins has something as a songwriter and performer; her songs are enshrouded in a blunt yet indirect honesty that is endearing and makes for interesting listening. Robins’ voice is pleasant and her guitar playing/composition is strong, although she might benefit from collaboration with other musicians, as the sound and mix are too consistent on this EP; there isn’t much change in dynamic or sound across the five songs on Hey, Sunshine (The EP). All in all, Hey, Sunshine is a strong release, and Robins is a very promising talent.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Abi Robins at www.myspace.com/abirobins or http://www.abirobinsmusic.com/. I was not able to locate an online outlet for Hey, Sunshine (The EP). You can currently stream the songs on either Robins' MySpace or personal web page. Contact Robins through her MySpace page for purchase information.
- www.wildysworld.blogspot.com

"Riverfront Times Review of "A Conversation With Myself.""

Homespun: Abi Robins
Conversations with Myself
By Christian Schaeffer
Published on October 13, 2009 at 1:44pm
Abi Robins
7 p.m. Saturday, October 17.
Stone Spiral Coffeehouse, 2500 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood.
Free. 314-335-7388.
Rock & roll fans tend to favor bands that can light up a dark, smoky rock club. But what about those songwriters who can quiet a room with little more than an acoustic guitar and a songbook full of introspection? Enter Abi Robins, whose first full-length, Conversations with Myself, won't knock you down with volume or mind-bending musical and lyrical prowess, but will engage by asking a fair amount of tough questions and disclosing a few hard-won life lessons.

At first blush her songs are pretty and unassuming, and a slightly bluesy undercurrent accompanies the folksy strums and sweet vocals. Despite the limitations of this girl-and-guitar configuration, Robins and her cohorts fill out her songs without obscuring their heart. The double-tracked vocals on "The Drive" are slightly staggered, lending the tune a fittingly bipolar effect. An electric piano and some quick-wristed drumming give "If the Shoe Fits" a nice bounce, and the punchy backdrop gives Robins a little spring in her step. Later a harmonica cuts the urgent, minor-chord strums of "This Easy," even if the rushing rhythms can't mask the off-key singing and world-weary triteness of lyrics like "Life is short, and death is long."

This grim specter of death pops up again later — slightly odd for a mostly upbeat album by such a young artist. On "Someday," however, Robins lets the spare guitar picking and her husky rasp sell the pathos. (The flanger-heavy outro? Not so much.) And Conversations is not without its pretensions: The spoken-word "Decrescendo" is over before it begins, and the instrumental "Battman" is pleasant but not robust enough to stand alone without lyrics.

But these missteps are brief and mostly forgivable. Robins' confident voice and self-assured swagger give her a leg up over many of her peers, and if she sticks with songwriting long enough to get past the existential ennui that afflicts most young writers, her Conversations may begin to look outward.
- Riverfront Times (St. Louis, MO)

"Wildy's World Review of "A Conversation With Myself""

Review: Abi Robins - A Conversation With Myself

Abi Robins - A Conversation With Myself
2009, Morning Bird Records

Most people fall into one of two categories in life: those who follow the rules and those who break them. There is a third category that generally holds select company: those carefree enough to simply make their own rules and their own way. Abi Robins is of the latter ilk, choosing an Indie path that not only has served her well but has become a resource for other independent artists as well. Originally of The Winter Wakeup with singer/songwriter Jess Parsons, the Kansas-born Robins started her own record label, Morning Bird Records in 2008, releasing her Hey, Sunshine! EP as well as four EPs from other artists in less than one year. Robins now returns with her first full-length album, A Conversation With Myself, trading on a blend of Folk and Rock N Roll that's immediately comfortable without forfeiting an ounce of originality.

Robins opens the conversation with The Blue Waltz, a disarmingly honest anti-love song with passive-aggressive tendencies. It took a few listens but I really came to like this tune; it's a bit out of the box but very well written. Robins gives a delightful turn on The Drive, a quasi-escapist musical fantasy with melody that's to-die-for. The autobiographical quality of Robins' writing is noteworthy, wielding disarming candor with a deft touch that's part subtlety and part artistry. God And Science reflects a level of self-knowledge and a mix of disgust and acceptance at the narrator's inability to change in a great Folk/Pop arrangement that shows maturity well beyond Robins' years. If The Shoe Fits is a highly catchy tune about a relationship that's not working out; the peppy arrangement is the perfect foil to lyrics that are less than happy. You won't be able to get this song out of your head.

Robins treats listeners with a gentle instrumental entitled Battman, mixing Latin elements with Jazz and Psychedelia to create a pleasant sonic interlude. On This Easy, Robins follows an Americana path that's part Blue Rodeo and part Aimee Mann in a song about frailty and vulnerability of relationships and the sort of fear and bad decisions those states can engender. Once again, Robins displays a maturity and sense-of-self well beyond her years wrapped up with an ability to create a picture in song that's not only clear but lasting. Someday addresses the dichotomy of having an uncertain future with a certain end; mortality being set in stone but moveable in time and unpredictable. Robins examines this loosely from within the bounds of a relationship, applying the principle of uncertainty from life to the relationship and questioning the mortality of the same. The song is highly personal and honest, displaying ambivalence between hope and hopelessness that is striking. Robins closes out with Wanna Stay, a song of hope and resolution that counters the dark thoughts that run throughout A Conversation With Myself. Robins has spent the past forty-two minutes spilling the guts of her thought process for the listener's pleasure, including all of the dark uncertain thoughts that accompany being young and uncertain in a world full of questions and dangers that are only half-glimpsed and less understood, but ends with a resilient note that asks for more even if she isn't entirely sure what it is yet.

A Conversation With Myself shows distinct growth from Robins as a songwriter over her Hey, Sunshine! EP, delving into the dark nooks and crannies of her mind and baring insecurities and shadows that most people never see. For raw honesty and artistry the album is a 5-star effort. The writing and arrangement of music on A Conversation With Myself are top-notch, too, although there are some out there who will struggle a bit with Robins' vocals. Technically speaking there is a tendency for Robins to play fast and loose with pitch, particularly on the end of phrases. Robin's is never fully out of tune but certainly flirts with the concept consistently on A Conversation With Myself. Add to this Robins' voice, which has a dark beauty to it but isn't necessarily what you might describe as "pretty", and some folks will be turned off by this aspect of the disc. But Robins has a uniquely personal style that comes through that voice, and as a whole these vocal qualities add up to more than the sum of their parts, ala Bob Dylan or Neil Young. The end result is a listening experience that is unique and enthralling for its mix of artistry, beauty, and yes, it's flaws. A Conversation With Myself is a dazzling effort from Abi Robins; make sure you check it out.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Abi Robins at http://www.abirobinsmusic.com/ or www.myspace.com/abirobins. I was unable to find an online outlet for A Conversation With Myself, although you can stream tracks on her Robins’ MySpace page. Contact Robins there if you’d like to buy a copy, I’m sure you can work something out.

Posted by Wildy at 5:20 AM
Labels: Abi Robins, Aimee Mann, Blue Rodeo, Bob Dylan, Jess Parsons, Neil Young, The Winter Wakeup
- Wildy's World


Abi Robins is one groovy chick with probably severely calloused fingers because she also knows her way around a fretboard and demonstrates some serious picking skills in her music. If you need convincing just listen to her song “Battman.” Yeah, that’s all her!

In addition to having impressive guitar chops, she also has a voice that is both fragile and intense in a way that that captures and holds your attention. The vulnerability of her vocals in songs such as “Wanna Stay” is reminiscent of Ani DiFranco (think ‘Done Wrong’ from Dilate, yeah I know pretty intense!) with a music sensibility of Bob Dylan. I could hardly tear myself away from the song. In a word Abi Robins is amazing! - If You Seek Music


Abi is an artist. Life is crap. Realizing this, I just go nuts...Abi goes nuts and creates. She has this way of really invoking a mood...creating a little universe in the space of a few verses. It's an honor to play with her. - Bob Kaat-Wholert (Musician)

"Such Fine Craft"

One of the people who is creating from even less a foothold of time than myself and doing it with such fine craft, (Robins is ) a musician of high caliber. The voice solid, the guitar sounds impressive, and the lyrics themselves way beyond her years.
- John Bernardi (writer) St. Louis, MO

"Playback:STL Double Review"

Abi Robins | Hey, Sunshine! EP (Morning Bird)

Obviously Abi Robins didn't want to leave this decade and her teenage years without having something to show for it. So she took it upon herself to set up her own cottage industry to perform, record and release her own music to the world. This is the stuff of youthful dreamers, but also the ambition and trade of a self-assured talent. Judging by what Robins has to say when she pens a tune, her dreams are undercut with a touch of melancholy and world-weary sophistication.

Every note and utterance on Hey, Sunshine!, save for the piano on the excellent Russian Roulette, was performed by Robins, inclusive of guitar, bass, harmonica and anything else that seemed appropriate, apparently. The arrangements convey the intimacy of a visiting a friend on a slow Friday after work or class, winding down over a beverage on a broken-in loveseat. It's sophisticated folk...or is it jazz balladry stripped bare? All I can say is that if she ever got a chance to work with Craig Street, it would bode well. I don't mention Street because of his work producing Norah Jones, but instead for his work with Cassandra Wilson, the benchmark for the type of alchemy Robins has set about perfecting. If you don't trust me, cue up Sunshine, the set closer on the EP and play anything off Michelle N'Degeocello's Bitter. That Robins could accomplish in her youth what heralded seasoned professionals and NYC stalwarts aspire toward at the apex of their careers justifies her bravado and pursuit of her songcraft as a profession and not just a pastime. For those of us here in St. Louis where she's based, we're fortunate to have this Kansas expatriate call our city home.

Her guitar work is a joy when she moves beyond the strumming of melodies into more intricate playing, and in those moments her gift for melody is showcased. It also serves as a flattering setting for her voice, an earthy alto. At times it seems as if she could project to the rafters, then in the span of a quarter note she sounds near breathless, as on the slow burner "Speechless." This seeming restraint makes each performance intriguing as you wonder when she's going to tax those lungs on a vocal the way they pipe up the harmonica Sunflower, but that apparently isn't what Abi Robins is about. If anything is going to make an impression, it's how she seems to focus on a pleasant, yet diversified approach to putting things together. Instead of going over the top to impress you with one element, you put it all in the mix, and it's given time to simmer and stew-the varied flavors have come to complement each other. B+ | Willie E. Smith

RIYL: Ani DiFranco, Victoria Williams,

Abi Robins | Conversations With Myself (Morning Bird)

Four months after releasing Hey, Sunshine!, Abi Robins released A Conversation With Myself, her first LP, with a backing band the consisted of Bob Kaat-Wholert on bass, Wes Burrows on drums, and Sean Renner, the lone collaborator featured on Hey, Sunshine!, on synths and tambourine. In some cases, solo performers' instrumental contributions get lost in the shuffle when they secure a backing band, but that's not the case with Robins. On "The Blue Waltz," her acoustic guitar still drives the song while the other players contribute complementary counter rhythms and melodies. It's very tastefully done, and feels very live, very buoyant. As the tunes drift from groove-based-"Not Lost"-into the folksier—"Drive"—Robins and Co. seem focused on staying in the pocket, while still peeking in on moody pieces. Although "Battman" is performed entirely by Robins, it exemplifies the kind of mood wherein her talents shine bright. It's a number that's more Manhattan than Missouri by a long shot, and in a good way. When a song makes you think of expensive drinks and dimmed lights, you can't help but smile inside, Abi Robins puts character in her compositions, something musicians admire in other musicians.

"Two Story House" takes that sophistication and goes a step further toward the kind of jazzy sensuality that draws a stark line between slow dancing and seduction, but steers clear of sleaze. And before the memory of secondhand smoke and stiff drinks overwhelms, you the boxcar shuffle of "This Easy" keeps the restlessness of a night's worth of wandering going, but in a cross-country trek kind of way. That momentum carries over the genre shift well enough, only to slow down and veer back to the city vibe with "A Lot to Learn." It's a song that's on the brink of being something really distinct but not quite synchronous, the acoustic strums and space synths playing like two conversations at the same dinner table, about the same topic, between two different people.

These quirks give the song a distinct personality, but it doesn't impress when it precedes a song as stellar as "Someday," a simple finger-picked tune on the acoustic, that gets your head nodding as it blossoms into a cosmic siren song. This is perfect, because "Wanna Say," the final track, is a slow, shuffling waltz that makes you feel adrift on the waves, but given the acoustic instrumentation, the feel goes from being among the stars to beneath them, upon a steady tide.

To think, this is on Abi Robins' first full-length effort, and first with a band. Her label is named Morning Bird Records, and after repeated listens, the irony of the meaning of that name, and the experience of hearing her music now, early in its lifecycle, here is this town's chance to "get the worm," as the saying goes. Beginnings like this were a rare find around these parts, 'cause the tendency was for the talent to leave the nest and head for the coasts ASAP. This time the talent chose to nest here. It would be a shame if we neglect the worth of such a boon. Best to share our appreciation and watch it soar, knowing we were a part of its ascent. B+ | Willie E. Smith

RIYL: Aimee Mann, Alana Davis, Jonatha Brooke
- Playback:STL


Such A Mess - 2013
For Luck Or Lie - 2010
A Conversation With Myself - 2009
Hey, Sunshine! (the ep) - 2009
Far Too Short EP - 2008



Hailing from Denver, Colorado, Abi Robins inhales the folk-infused mountain air and lets out a raucous howl that embodies the spirit of rock and roll steeped in an ache inherited from the jazz greats. Robins wields her instruments with a technical prowess that places her squarely at the forefront of the independent music scene and is poised to change the way you think about independent singer songwriters. Mandolin and drum machines, vibraphone and banjo, electric guitar and a gospel choir are only a few of the pieces that Robins has put into place to pioneer the new sound on her upcoming album, "Such A Mess." A veteran of the DIY touring circuit, Robins spends her time traveling and sharing her music as well as supporting several other musicians through her own Morning Bird Records. Community oriented with DIY sensibilities, but deeply grounded in self-reliance, Robins continues to impact the indie music scene across the country.