Any artist who is a major success will tell you that there is a team of people who are essential to helping create and promote their work. An established career is a succession of individual achievements; this definition applies as much to famous stars as to professionals like Graham Robinson. This content creator/visual artist is celebrated by those whom he works with as well as the industry for his hyper-awareness in how to gain attention through one of the most powerful iterations of the modern music video; lyric videos. Those whom he has collaborated with/worked for would be impressive regardless of whether it was as an engineer, manager, or video content creator. In addition to his work for Grammy Winning Artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, and twice nominated Bebe Rexha, Graham has created for some of the most exciting artists of today like Mahalia, Why Don’t We, Stormzy and Mac Millar, and many others. Everyone agrees that there’s something quite special about the work of the talented Mr. Robinson and he’s willing to relate what is at the core of his special knack.
Music has such a strong impact for so many people, but it goes much further than a hummable melody or a catchy beat. The sensory connection to times and places that are momentous are often triggered by a specific piece of music and videos have become part of this response. Graham understands just how impactful color can be as a part of this experience. He didn’t discover this by chance but rather through copious research and investigation across subgenres of electronic music. In his discussion of synaesthesia or “color hearing”, Robinson notes, “Sir Isaac Newton created the first color wheel in 1600, splitting ‘purple’ into ‘indigo and violet’ to have a seventh colour to match the seven notes on the musical scale. I believe we can all experience a crossover of senses where we can feel stimulated to think of colour by a piece of music. The famous abstract artist Wallis Kandinsky explains that our experience of color hearing is so strong that if you ask anyone in the world to play bright yellow on a piano – no one will hit the bottom note.”
Graham has employed this insight to bring life and energy to music performances at massive live events as well as online music productions for many of the world’s most recognized artists. The music video he created for the (four time Grammy Award Winner) Sam Smith and Tiwa Savage’s Track “Temptation” displays Robinson’s utilization of color as well as his creativity to create a video which was featured in Rolling Stone and has accumulated more than half a million views thus far. The video combines footage which Graham personally shot underwater in Malta with a sophisticated motion graphics treatment of the lyrics and bold red colors.
In meetings with both artists and their teams, Graham related just how important the precise color approach was as a magnifier of the song’s emotional tone. He remarks, “Red felt like a natural choice to me. The narrative speaks of raw fire, feeling temptation burning in someone’s veins, the risk and danger of forbidden love. However, the track has a flowing summer vibe with slick beats so I didn’t go for a straight passionate scarlet red but instead lifted towards pinks and brought in water textures to visually reflect the track’s breadth.”
There’s good reason for artists to trust Graham’s omniscience in the music video realm. His lyric video for Justin Bieber & Dan and Shay’s “10,000 Hours” (Grammy Award Winning Song in 2021 for Country Duo/Group Performance) has already racked up nearly forty-six and a half million views
with its use of bold pinks and turquoise. Similarly, the lyric video which Robinson created for Dua Lipa’s American Music Award Winner for Favorite Pop/Rock Song (2020) “Don’t Start Now” has amassed over seventeen million views.
As with the artists who enlist him to create these popular lyric videos, years of perfecting his craft has led to Graham’s success within the industry. Still, research and formal study included (Robinson holds degrees in Computer Science with Image and Multimedia systems), it’s Graham’s passion which has driven him to discover his unique and prominent voice. He asserts, “My mastery of technology provides an additional artificially intelligent aspect to my creative response. I started making visuals because I couldn’t understand why the screens in the environments where I heard music were so distracting from the musical experience rather than connecting. As a result, I began this journey to discover how to make it better and connect the two to make my night more fun. Twenty years, four continents, and 200 million views later, I have never stopped trying to make an encounter with my art fun and exciting for all who experience it.”
Writer : Arlen Gann