Singer-songwriter Robert Pattinson, known for his iconic songs “Mad World” and “Don’t Give Up,” has kept a relatively low profile since his debut in 2010. But over the past few years, the “Twilight” heartthrob has slowly rebuilt his personal life and career, embarking on a solo tour with his band and appearing in small roles in big-budget movies. Now, it seems, he’s ready to emerge from the shadows.
First, some essential facts about the singer-songwriter, who will turn 29 this year:
- His parents are Nancy Shevell, a fashion stylist, and David Pattinson, an architect
- Pattinson was born in London and raised in the United Kingdom
- He briefly attended Oxford University, where he studied English literature and art history
- He began his musical career at the age of 15, when he fronted a band called Teenage Bottlerocket, playing covers of popular songs for fun.
- He then moved to New York City to study at the prestigious New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, where he befriended composer-arrangers Danny Kaye and Mike Stern.
- Pattinson spent three years touring and recording with Kaye and Stern, before joining the band Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, fronted by the legendary banjo player.
- He released his first album as a solo artist, “Shadows and Tall Trees,” in 2018, followed by a live album in 2019 titled “Shadowtown Symphony: Live in London.”
- He lives in London with his spouse, FKA Twigs, and their two sons, Charlie and Lachlan
The Personal Life
After being sidelined by tragedy, Pattinson has slowly rebuilt his personal life and career, with his first solo album confirming new musical directions and inspiring fans and colleagues alike.
The singer-songwriter has kept a relatively low profile since the tragic death of his younger son, Chester, in February 2019. The toddler died from a ruptured cyst after being misdiagnosed with the flu.
Following Chester’s death, Pattinson took a break from public life, spending time with his family and pursuing a low-profile acting career. He made his acting debut in the 2019 film “Songs for Sundry, which marked the comeback of acclaimed British director Michael Apted, who had worked with Pattinson on the 2015 film “Utopia.”
Pattinson then went on to a small role in the 2020 film “Fifty Fists,” a martial arts movie set in ancient China, directed by Peter Chan and co-starring Chinese superstar Chen Tiancheng. In another small role, he was an English teacher named Mr. Wicks in the upcoming film “The Teacher,” which also stars Rosie Perez and Matt Damon. Filming has just wrapped up in New York City and the movie will be released in theaters in the fall of this year.
Pattinson has also emerged as an accomplished pianist and songwriter, penning the song “One More Day,” which he performed with his band at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Though his personal life has been affected by tragedy, the musician has maintained a busy schedule, releasing two new albums and playing a number of concerts, both solo and with his band, in the United Kingdom and Europe this year.
On his latest album, “Shadows and Tall Trees,” released in March of this year, the Scottish musician paid homage to his Scottish roots, touching on themes of tradition and rebellion, as well as exploring the darker reaches of human nature. In an interview with The New York Times, Pattinson spoke about taking inspiration from the beauty and strength of women, as well as the more sinister side of human nature:
- “I had a hard time putting the album together, because I didn’t really have a good mental picture of what it was going to sound like. So I kept playing around with melodies and rhymes, and then finally I found some words that seemed to fit, and the album ended up being much better than I expected. I think it’s a combination of all the wonderful people I’ve met over the years — from the women I’ve met, to the men I’ve met, all of whom have had such an impact on my life. So I think it’s a combination of all those elements, really.”
- “I don’t think there’s any defining theme. I think it’s just a collection of songs that represent where I am at the moment, in terms of the people and places that I’ve met and the things that I’ve seen, and the influences that have found their way into my music. For me, the best albums are always the ones that aren’t specifically about one thing. They just reflect the influences of the people around you at the time. So this is kind of like a snapshot of where I’m at. It’s not like I’m saying, ‘This is what I’m doing.’ I’m not that type of artist. I wouldn’t know how to put that into words, anyway.”
- “It’s almost like I never left. It’s not like I’ve hidden away, wishing that I could go back and redo the last 10 years. It’s not like that at all. I’ve just quietly got on with making music and trying to be the best husband and father I can be. The last few years have been a bit of a blur, to be honest. It’s been incredibly hectic and a bit of a roller coaster. But I’m glad to be back. I feel like I’ve got a renewed sense of purpose. A lot of the songs were written during that period when I was just looking for something to fill my time, something productive to do. So I would just put my thoughts into music and then play it for my family when they got back from school. Just to have something to do that was challenging, and something that I actually enjoyed doing.”
- “Sometimes I’d sit there and not know what to play. And then I’d pick up the guitar and start playing, and sometimes a melody would just come to me. So I’d start writing lyrics and then eventually end up recording the entire thing. I think that’s how it usually works for me. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been so absorbed by music for such a long time, or what, but it just feels good to pick up an instrument and play. I think it helps me focus, too. There’s something about getting lost in music that helps me unwind and relax. It’s helped me through some pretty stressful times.”
Alongside his solo work, the singer-songwriter has been a core member of the British band the Lovetones, providing lead vocals and writing music for the group. Last year, he released his first solo album in five years, “Shadows and Tall Trees,” an album inspired by his love for Scotland and its people. In a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, Pattinson declared his intention to pursue a solo career, explaining that he wants to “write songs that speak to people, that say what I want to say. That aren’t just songs for songs sake.”
Though he’s not officially announced his next album yet, the artist’s solo work and international touring schedule suggest that he’s hard at work on an album that will emerge as one of 2019’s most anticipated releases.