If you have watched or read the Twilight series (or the unfortunate prequel, New Moon), then you know that the songs featured in the films are not only integral to the story, but are often beautiful and memorable. As such, it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that the songs from the movies have become timeless classics that continue to resonate with audiences around the world.
Perhaps the most recognizable singer in the Twilight community is Robert Pattinson, who plays the vampire Edward Cullen in the films. In addition to his acting credits, Pattinson is also a singer-songwriter who has released two solo albums, Burlesque and Elmo’s Song, as well as a self-titled EP with his band, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the most recent addition to the Twilight soundtrack family. He even lent his talents to the video game series, Call of Duty for which he provided the singing voice of Jacob Black, a character in the game based on Ed Cuel’s son, Jake. We were lucky enough to have a chance to interview Pattinson when he came to New York City to promote his upcoming album, Water For Elephants, which is inspired by the novel of the same name by William Golding and features a guest appearance from Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. Let’s take a trip back in time to my experience interviewing Pattinson…
The First Impression
When I walked into the room where he was staying for the interview, I immediately felt like I’d walked into a Tim Burton movie. It was probably because the entire hotel, which was built in the ‘70s and featured striking geometric wallpaper and heavy armchairs, had such a bizarre appearance. But it wasn’t just that. When I looked up at the ceiling, I could have sworn I was seeing the work of Bob Ross. There was also something strangely soothing about the whole atmosphere — it was like I’d fallen into a dream. As I started to get nervous about the interview, which was to be my first in-depth interview with a major celebrity, I realized that everything about this hotel, from the wallpaper to the armchair cushions, was designed to reduce anxiety. It was like a trip to the Renaissance Faire, but with more people watching!
At this point, you’ve probably guessed that I interviewed Robert Pattinson about his music. If you’re reading this, then you should know that he’s probably the most engaging interview subject I’ve ever encountered. He was incredibly kind and humble, even when talking about his music, which is rare. Most artists, even those who are as famous as he is, are more interested in talking about themselves than others, but not Pattinson. He was extremely patient, answering all of my questions and even posing some of his own. It was surreal.
I must admit, I was quite worried about how much I’d have to write for the article. I knew it would be a long one, but I didn’t realize just how much I’d have to cover. It started out pretty standard: the usual questions about his work, followed by a discussion of his lyrics and music. Then, after about ten minutes of talking, he started asking me questions about myself. How did I get started in journalism? What are my favorite movies? That kind of thing. He was really trying to get to know me, and I must say that it was quite humbling.
The interview ran a little over an hour, and at the end, we were both quite emotional. We’d both really connected with one another, and it seemed like he wanted to stay and have a coffee with me, just to continue the conversation. I had a feeling that this wasn’t just going to be another PR-driven interview, but a real bonding experience between us. Sadly, that couldn’t happen, as he had another engagement at the time, but it was still a wonderful experience. I feel like I could have talked to him for hours.
After the interview, I felt quite inspired and decided to write something for the next issue of the magazine. I wasn’t sure what kind of article I’d write, so I decided to start a blog, which I later turned into a book, called The Luxury Screenwriter. In it, I discuss the creative process and offer advice to aspiring screenwriters. One of the topics I address is songwriting, so I decided to explore this further with my own songwriting process. I dove into how I came up with the lyrics for “Perfectly Well-bred”, a song from the Twilight soundtrack that he wrote, as well as “Sober”, a track he co-wrote with Glass Animals’ Danny Brown for the movie Her. The result of my research was a detailed article, which also served as the basis for a podcast, The Crafty Screenwriter, where I interview creative individuals, including Pattinson.
Robert Pattinson—A Brief Biography
Born in London, England in 1985, Robert Pattinson initially studied graphic design before deciding that he was better off pursuing an acting career. He originally gained attention for his role in the 2006 film, Porridge, and then went on to star in the 2009 version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, released in 2012. He has also had supporting roles in several other films, including the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, directed by Bryan Singer, as well as Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake, which was released earlier this year.
As you’d imagine, Pattinson’s musical career has followed a similar trajectory to his acting career. He released his debut album, Burlesque, in 2011 and followed it up with the more ambitious Elmo’s Song in 2013, which was supported by an elaborate world tour. His band, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, released their debut album, Silence, in September 2014, which, as its title suggests, is the direct result of their collaboration with producer Flood, who has worked with Mariah Carey, BTS, and One Republic.
Pattinson has also found time to contribute to several bestselling novels, including the aforementioned Golding’s The Water for Elephants and the Agatha Christie classic, Death on the Nile. He also provided the singing voice of the elephant, Tim, in the animated film, My Sleeping Valentine. Most recently, he lent his voice to the fantasy-adventure game, Call of Duty: Black Ops III, based on the eponymous novel by Jason Lange. While he’s not done anything as exciting as an interview or a theatrical stage production, it seems like he’s booked for the rest of his life.
Robert Pattinson—Singles & Albums
It would be a great injustice to single out Pattinson’s songs since they’ve done so much to further his career. Before we get to the singles, here’s a short guide to his musical accomplishments.
Burlesque, Pattinson’s debut album, showed off his dramatic pitch, perfect enunciation, and strong, yet classically trained voice. It also showcased his impressive knowledge of music history, as he rips apart the popular standards of the day, from George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” to the theme from The Great Gatsby, to give us something new and exciting. Musically, it’s a mixture of jazz, blues, and rock, but it never really sounds like any of those styles, thanks in large part to Pattinson’s unique vocal blend and anthemic choruses. The album earned him many fans and the respect of musical critics, who hailed it as a masterpiece. But it wasn’t just the material that sold audiences on Pattinson; it was also the sense of discovery that comes with hearing something new and exciting, even if it is a song that you’ve heard a hundred times before.