It was announced early this year that English actor Robert Pattinson would be taking part in a secret project to record an album of cover songs. The album is expected to be released towards the end of this year and marks the on-set of his music career.
The project was code-named ‘Songs from the Film-Shoot’ and will see the Twilight actor tackle a variety of songs from various films and television shows. The first single, ‘Hotel California’, will be released on July 26th. Check out the song and its accompanying music video below.
The project will be overseen by Pattinson’s mentor and music producer Michael Davies and is the culmination of two years of songwriting workshops that the two men spearheaded. The workshops were open to anyone, and sought to instill in participants a love for film music and to help develop their creative writing skills. Participants included Oscar winner Adrienne Brodeur (The Piano), actress/singer Hayley Atwell (Captain America: The First Avenger) and singer/songwriter Imogen Heap.
The workshops resulted in numerous short stories as well as a few tunes, and although the project wasn’t initially intended to be a full album, Davies and Pattinson have already begun piecing together songs for the record. The actor’s Irish roots can be traced back to a sixth-grade class presentation where he performed the ‘Danny Boy’ folk song for the English assignment. Since then he has been enamored with everything Celtic and has taken singing and playing lessons, often borrowing melodies from traditional songs.
The ‘Danny Boy’ Connection
Written by Scottish poet William Scott and first published in 1847, ‘Danny Boy’ is generally performed as a mournful lament for a lost lover. Its most famous setting is believed to be the poem’s Lake District in England. Yet ‘Danny Boy’ has also been used as a rallying cry for Irish independence and adopted as the French national anthem. Even the Beach Boys covered the song on their 1966 album, ‘Hand-Me-Downs’.
It was at this point that Robert Pattinson’s interest in the Irish language and literature kicked in. He began studying Irish with the aid of a fluent Irish-English dictionary and learned to recite poems by Edward Bunting and William Butler Yeats, among others.
It was this love of Ireland that led the actor to choose to portray Irish revolutionary George Gilmore in the upcoming movie, ‘The Dead Pope’. The movie is based on the true story of the 1849 London – Paris flight of Pope Leo XIII, who was fleeing from revolutionary forces in Rome. Production on the movie began earlier this year and will see Pattinson work with British actor Domhnall Gleeson, French actor Francois Clemens and Korean actress Jeon Ji-yun.
Traditional Music From Around The World
Pattinson has said that he was initially inspired to take up singing after watching the musical ‘Chicago’ as a child. Since then he has become a firm supporter of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and has even performed with them at various festivals. His interest in world music led to his discovery of various traditional and classical pieces, particularly from Ireland and the Mediterranean.
The actor has been described by Davies as “a sponge, always hungry for knowledge” and has credited the workshops with helping him develop this seemingly boundless appetite. The workshops introduced him to various styles of music as well as reignited his love for performing. For example, at one point during the project, he was asked to put together a song for the Germanwings airplane commercials and ended up writing and performing a flamenco song, ‘Nunca Digas mi Corazon’. In another instance, he performed a reggae number, ‘Bagpipes from Baghdad’, for the HBO comedy ‘Family Tree’.
A Variety Of Genres
It is worth noting that the workshops were intentionally open-ended and that they sought to introduce participants to a variety of genres. The result is a project that is as eclectic as it is brilliant. For example, ‘Hotel California’ is a pastiche of various influences including reggae, soul, and blues. In addition, the track incorporates an Irish folk melody and was partially inspired by Pattinson’s Irish roots. The song, ‘I’m Not There’, is a variety of styles as well, incorporating blues, jazz, and Latin rhythms.
The variety of influences is something that appeals to listener as well. At a time where the music industry is struggling to discover and define new genres, ‘Songs from the Film-Shoot’ offers a variety of flavors for music fans to try out. It is therefore a must-listen for anyone interested in modern music.
An Opportunity To Develop His Voice
As previously stated, the workshops with Michael Davies were part of a larger project to develop Pattinson’s voice. The workshops were an opportunity to get away from the pressure of being a famous singer and actor and to hone his craft as a singer/songwriter. While it is still very early days, Davies and Pattinson have already developed a strong bond through their partnership as well as their shared love for film music. It was during one of these early sessions where they worked together on ‘Darkness’, a song that will appear on the forthcoming Songs From the Film-Shoot album. This track, along with the accompanying music video, offer some early glimpses at the actor’s burgeoning talent as a musician.
Expect More From 2021
‘Songs from the Film-Shoot’ is the latest project from One-Eyed Doll, the band formed by Robert Pattinson. The project will be released on July 26th and serves as the final installment in a five-part series that began with 2014’s ‘Songs From the Midnight Sun’.
With ‘Songs From the Film-Shoot’, we are offered a glimpse at the continuing evolution of Robert Pattinson as an artist. This glimpse comes in the form of an album that serves as a summation of the various styles that he has absorbed during his years of research and exploration. It is therefore fitting that ‘Songs From the Film-Shoot’ should be released on the anniversary of the publication of William Butler Yeats’ seminal work ‘The Wild Swans’. (1)