Interview with Jess Robinson

In the run up to Voice's latest coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, we have dozens of interviews with performers like singer and impressionist Jess Robinson, who we'll be seeing up there.

Interview with Jess Robinson

Firstly, could you introduce yourself, and give a quick summary of your show?

Hey! I'm Jess Robinson. I'm an impressionist and singer. 'Impressive' features well OVER 100 impressions, 99 of which are packed into my 4 minute rap sensation – 'I got 99 voices but a bloke ain't one'.

I'm a trained singer so, as well as Nicola Sturgeon, Cheryl Cole, Kim Kardashian, Mary Berry and all my speaking impressions, I'm going to treat you to what I do best; the singing voices of today's global pop divas, including Beyoncé, Paloma Faith and Nicki Minaj – as well as classic vintage stars, such as Judy Garland and Billie Holiday. We'll travel via, Kate Bush and a spine-tingling Amy Winehouse and of course make the obligatory pilgrimage to Adele. I have a fabulous live band, made up of young musicians and top musical comedians.

What is your earliest arts memory?

Haha - my earliest arts memory would be as a child, roping my slightly reluctant next door neighbour into into dressing up in a variety mum's dresses and make up and performing a 'variety show' on the fireplace hearth for the rest of the family. Poor boy next door. Strangely he was always ill whenever I asked him to play after that.

What first encouraged you to become a performer?

I never meant to be a performer really. Through school I was determined to write music for films... But after an agent came to see the school show and asked to sign me, I guess I didn't look back.

Do you remember your first professional performance, and how did it go?

Yes! It was the role of Snow White at a theatre in London. I was 18. I remember walking out on stage and was just about to open my mouth to sing 'When you wish upon a star', when I noticed how big the audience were ad my voice got stuck in my throat for a minute. I don't think I've ever been so nervous!

What do you feel is the best thing about your job?

I love the variety in my days. I could spend the morning playing a clock work mouse, a fairy, a dinosaur, a little boy and other random characters for the new Noddy animation, followed by an afternoon working on a radio 4 show and then an evening gigging alongside acrobats and burlesque dancers and comedians. When I'm not stressing about where I've got to be next, I love it

Conversely, what is the worst?

Worrying about where I have to be at what time.I don't think I've ever been this busy before and I'm just getting used to managing my time and working to deadlines. It's important to take time out and see friends / get some sleep. But I find it hard to turn opportunities to work down.

How do you decide whether or not a show has gone well?

My mum will usually let me know!!

If you could work with anybody, dead or alive, who would you choose to collaborate with?

Tim Minchin please. If you could arrange that I'd be most grateful. With his songwriting and my singing impressions... just wow! That'd be SO much fun.

What made you want to come to Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

This is my 3rd year at the Edinburgh Festival. I've had a wonderful time, but I've been dreaming of a band ever since I started performing my own shows and now finally I've got the chance!

Is performing at EdFringe different from 'traditional' shows?

Yes!! There are SO many shows and SO few days off. You can sort of relax into a long theatre run, but the pressure in Edinburgh is immense. As well as giving the paying public a great show every night, you have to try and ignore the fact that there might be TV producers, critics and other industry professionals in. The festival is a bit of a trade fair for us.

If you could travel back in time and give 16 year-old you one piece of advice, what would it be?

Be your own best friend and speak kindly to yourself... And for god's sake throw away the pink crushed velvet hat! It's vile!

What advice would you give to young people who want to enter the industry?

2 things: 1). Find a skill or an angle that will set you apart from the others!

2). Be lovely and gracious to everyone. Don't bitch and always be a pleasure to work with. Sometimes it's not the most talented people who get asked to do things, it's the ones who are easy and fun to work with.

Do you have social media that our readers can follow you on?

Yup you can follow me @jessierobinson. my instagram is jessinson and facebook is @jessrobinsonmightyvoice

Where can people catch your show during EdFringe?

Come and see me at 8.30pm every night. Pleasance Courtyard, we're going to have a blast!

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Voice Magazine

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