We recently released a new video (check it out below) to celebrate the launch of our Calm & Awaken vapes, featuring the songwriting and vocal talents of incredible local artist Ashleigh de Gee, aka Red Robyn.
We've been fangirl-ing hard here at Goodleaf over this super cool woman and her beautiful music. So we thought we'd stop the stalking for second to directly ask her some questions about herself, what she's been up to during lockdown and what her personal take on wellness is.
The result was the interview below - where she gives us some great insight into her creativity, talks about anxiety as part of the artistic process, and tells us about Andre the peacock who lives in her backyard.
GL: Give us a little background to you - where are you from, what are you all about and how did you get into making music?
RR: I am from Wentworth/Bluff in Durban. I grew up there and have lived there for most of my life. I always knew that I wanted to write songs ever since I wrote my first song at the back of one of my moms notebooks at 5 years old - it was short, probably 4/5 lines but I will never forget the feeling, the urgency to put pen to paper.
I decided to study music after school and because both of my parents are musical they supported me all the way. I guess I got into music because of the way it made me feel, I just wanted to give people that same experience.
GL: What instruments do you play? Is there any other kind of art you enjoy making?
RR: I play guitar and piano , I always loved drawing and thought I would be a painter when I was younger. I don't paint as much lately but I do draw and doodle a lot. I also love dance , I majored in contemporary dance in my final year of my undergrad studies. These days I just dance for fun but movement will always be a big part of my art.
GL: What have you been up to during lockdown?
RR: For most of lockdown I have been trying to reposition myself and reimagine what it means to be a musician or an artist. I have been doing a lot of reading and research , a lot of self discovery and a lot of cooking and watching movies with my housemates.
GL: What has been the most interesting/important lesson lockdown has taught you?
RR: The most interesting thing I learned during lockdown is that no matter how secure you may think you are in your life socially, financially or emotionally you always have to be mentally prepared for anything to happen. I learned that there is more to life than material things. Most importantly I realised how much my family means to me after being away from them for so long.
GL: How did you find the lockdown period in terms of your creativity?
RR: I found it very difficult to be creative even though I did try my best to keep a structure to my days where I would practice and try to write. I think with everything going on in the world I became slightly paralysed and needed a moment to just process it all. I did find comfort in allowing myself to reflect and journal more than force myself to make things.
GL: Do you experience anxiety with work? If so, do you find it affects your process at all?
I definitely experience anxiety with work. Sometimes it is worse than other days but there is always some level of anxiety present. It's generally a conscious thing for me to have to shut out negative voices in my own head so that I can have the freedom I need to be creative. I think for me 'creativity' and 'mental clarity' go hand in hand so it's important for me to work through anxious feelings.
GL: What are some of the things you do to help relieve any anxiety or stress in your life?
RR: Prayer and meditation are key things for me when I am feeling stressed or anxious , another great thing is tea - I really think tea can solve anything
GL: What does “wellness” mean to you?
RR: To me ‘wellness' means 'balance' and ‘harmony'. I think we are always striving for some sort of balance in our lives, even though it can be difficult to achieve.
GL: What is your favourite song/artist to listen to at the moment?
RR: My favourite song at the moment is 'Thinking of You' - a remix of Sister Sledge by Lord Echo.
GL: What’s GOOD in the world to you right now?
RR: I think there is so much good in the world, but the best thing in my world right now is the peacock named Andre that lives in my yard!!!