When we think about the music scene in London, many names come to mind. However, one name that rarely gets mentioned in conjunction with the city’s thriving music scene is that of Robert Pattinson. Known for fronting the band Pattinson, the British actor and musician has largely kept away from the public eye, preferring to keep his private life as separate from his professional one as possible. Though his acting roles have increased in the past couple of years, playing the mysterious artist Edward Cullen in the Twilight film series and starring in the new movie Water for Elephants, his musical career has been taking off, and he’s finally decided to make some appearances, letting his hair down and chatting about music, life, and more importantly, his new album. 

More Than A Decade Of Music

Pattinson, who first came to public attention as the singer of a gothic rock band, has been actively involved in the music industry for more than a decade. While his band was breaking big in the early 2000s, Pattinson began performing as an individual artist, with his solo album Watercolours hitting number two on the UK Albums Chart in January 2009. Since then, he’s released two more albums (2011’s Twigs and 2013’s Ropstick) and has gone on to perform at festivals and headline venues around the world, selling out tour buses and rocking crowds with his passionate, powerful live shows. In this way, he’s brought a new dynamic to the music industry, with some saying he’s “more than a match” for contemporary music icons like Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.

What Fresh Talent Has He Unveiled?

With his solo work dominating the charts, it’s easy to forget that Pattinson was responsible for some of the biggest albums to emerge from London in recent years. His debut solo album Watercolours, for example, hit number two on the UK Albums Chart in January 2009, largely due to the overwhelming success of its lead single “Permanent Marker.” The song became the best-selling single by a British artist in 2009, shifting over 300,000 copies in the process. In fact, it went on to sell 3.7 million copies in the UK, giving Pattinson the Guinness World Record for the best-selling debut single by a male artist. The accolades didn’t stop there, as the album itself went on to sell over 300,000 copies in the UK and was certified Gold by the BPI. 

Though he may not have been as well-known for his music prior to 2009, Pattinson was already a prominent figure in the British music scene, largely thanks to his association with fellow Londoner Andrew Watt. The pair worked together on Watt’s debut album, Golden State, and have been producing and writing music together ever since. In fact, Watercolours was essentially created as a follow-up to his friend’s record, with the pair spending 10 days in a London recording studio, piecing ideas together and experimenting with new sounds. The album’s experimental nature is clear in tracks like the garage rocker “Ropstick,” featuring guest vocals from the album’s producer Ariel Rechtshaid, or the ska punk interlude “Mud Snakes.” 

Is ‘Watercolours’ A Departure For Pattinson?

While Watercolours was initially met with critical acclaim, it’s fair to say it also marked a turning point in Pattinson’s career. Prior to this point, he’d released a couple of EPs and a couple of singles, all of which had seen him grow as an artist but still retained a more youthful vibe. Yet with his debut album, he stepped out of his comfort zone, crafting an album that was deliberately more mature and sophisticated, with a heavy emphasis on songwriting craft and arrangement. In terms of recording, he wanted to push the boundaries of what was achievable, incorporating more electronics and going through a more extensive production line, applying what he’d learned in school with production music students from the London Metropolitan University. He also enlisted the help of some of the capital’s top mixing engineers, with the album seeing a wide array of talents join forces, including Fraser Tuck, whose credits include U2, Lady Gaga, and Sam Smith. For the most part, the album is very much a product of its time, with the influence of dance music clearly prevalent throughout.

What Do We Know About His Upcoming Album?

With Watercolours, Pattinson revealed that he’d wanted to experiment with a more electronic approach and had gravitated towards house music, spending lots of time in producers’ bedrooms, picking their brains about where to go next. This approach resulted in him unearthing some vintage synths, which he incorporated into his tracks, alongside more modern technology. What’s more is he revealed that he’d written and recorded two more tracks, with Rechtshaid playing bass on both of them. However, he didn’t give us any more details about these songs other than to say they were very different from the ones on the album and were meant to be listened to alongside it.

Why Is Ropstick Different?

Perhaps the most interesting album on this list is Twigs, the aptly-named second album from Pattinson, released this past February. Unlike his previous record, which was a collection of mostly mature and sophisticated tracks, Twigs sees Pattinson embracing his inner teen. The album is filled with heartbreak and frustration, presented in an alluring, catchy fashion. The aggressive garage rocker “Heatstroke,” for example, opens with a rapid-fire dialogue between two voices, followed by a call and response chorus and an impassioned bridge. According to the singer, this was originally the first song he’d written for the album, and it was one of the last songs he worked on before the studio’s deadline. He eventually finished it in the studio’s lobby, with the producer Tim Rice-Jones noting that this song “captured the mood” of what they were trying to achieve with the album. Elsewhere, the ska punk tune “Riff Raff” sees him channeling his inner teenage angst, with his impassioned pleas of “I wanna lose my virginity / I wanna lose my virginity / I wanna lose my virginity” carrying a pleading vulnerability that makes this song an all-time great.

Why Should You Listen To This Recording?

With a new album arriving every year, it can be hard to keep up. Luckily, we’ve gone ahead and curated a list of FKA Twigs’ best songs, which you can stream or download below. The songs represent the diverse music that Twigs makes well and are arguably some of the best work he’s ever done, hitting all the right notes with poignant lyrics and a memorable hook. What’s more is these songs also represent his progression as an artist, with many standing out as examples of his maturation process. Perhaps most interesting is the way these songs address the insecurities he once hid, pushing himself to be better and do more, all while remaining true to himself. What’s more is that, with all these songs, he’s crafted an album that anyone can listen to, something that rarely gets said about an artist these days. In terms of style, the album is hard to pin down, with Twigs moving around between electronic dance music, rock, and R’n’B. Though this may all seem like a jumbled mess on paper, with Twigs it’s always easy to find your way around and understand what the artist is saying, which is something that can’t be said about many albums today.