New single “It Gets To A Point” from acclaimed Scottish singer-songwriter Robert Shields, aka ONR, is out now!
Following up recent collaborations with Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel and the legendary Nile Rodgers, ONR surfaces with an anthemic, synth-driven soundtrack littered with tight percussions and powerful trademark vocals – accompanied by a set of scintillating visuals.
With his most recent track “Must Stop” placing on a series of Spotify playlists including New Music Friday USA and Indie Pop, ONR continues to impress with his 330K mostly Spotify listeners and 20M plus streams spanning his relatively short, yet illustrious career.
Having toured with heavyweights such as Lewis Capaldi, Bastille and Jake Bugg, and garnered support from fellow Scottish hit-maker Calvin Harris, the talented young-star continues to ascend new heights.
K- First of all, how are you and how have you kept yourself busy during the pandemic?
I’m good, thanks. Well, you know… all things considered. It’s been the most insane of times, and it’s been frustrating and difficult at times. I’m lucky that as well as my own music, I’ve been able to do writing and producing with some other amazing artists, so that’s kept me sane and in contact with other human beings!
K- How have you found the last year both personally and musically?
Difficult. I think on a personal level, it’s been hard not seeing friends and family. I’m someone who can be quite bad at locking myself away anyway, especially when I’m working on music, so to not have the outlet of seeing people you care about is particularly hard during something like this. Musically, it’s really been mixed. I’ve missed touring so much, seeing fans and crowds, and the purpose and the energy that playing live gives you when you’re writing and producing.. but I’ve also been so lucky to be able to work remotely with some incredible artists like Nile Rodgers and Sarah Barthel, which might not have happened in a more “normal” world.
K- You have quite an interesting musical background, can you tell us a bit more about your younger years and growing up with music?
I great up in a hill farm in the Highlands of Scotland, before moving down to Dumfries & Galloway near the borders. I had quite an isolated, rural upbringing, and I think that had a huge impact on my music. I don’t remember ever wanting to do anything else other than music. Sometimes I resented not being part of a scene or working with other musicians, but I think now I can understand that the benefits I had far outweighed that: the space, the time, the consideration and detail I was able to put in to my writing without distraction. I feel very lucky to have had that grounding. Now I spend a lot of time in London and LA, and I realise how precious that space is.
K- Congratulations on your new single, can you tell us a bit more behind the story and influences behind ‘It Gets To A Point’?
Thank you! It Gets To A Point was really a bit of a cathartic outlet for me. It’s a stream of consciousness, really, about that idea of hitting breaking point, of taking on too much, and feeling completely at the end of your ability to continue. I think we’ve all felt like that in the last year! It has overtones and references to the insanity of the modern world, but there’s also is quite a personal, intimate thread running through the lyric too.
K- What was the creative and production process behind the track?
Musically, it was shaped enormously by the live show; when I first started to play it to audiences, it became a real favourite, and so I really wanted the production to try and match that live energy. I also really wanted the instrumentation to reflect the dynamic of the track; embellishing the big socio-political lyrical reflections, but also ushering through those one-to-one very personal lyrical references.
K- Out on Warner records, how has the label helped develop your sound and grow as a young artist?
They’ve been fantastic. More than anything, they’ve really allowed me the freedom, the time, the space and the opportunities to grow and develop. I know that’s not always the case for signed artists. I’m so grateful to the whole team there, and Nate Albert (who signed me) for showing so much belief in my ability. It means a lot.
K- You have already had some great achievements, such as touring with the likes of Jake Bugg and Bastille, as well as collating with Sarah Barthel and Nile Rodgers. What’s the highlight of your career so far and do you have any ambitions for the next few years that you can tell us about?
Working with Nile was definitely a real moment for me. I loved every second of it. He’s someone I’ve always respected enormously, so to have his blessing… it’s not overstating it to say that it was life-changing for me. Overnight, a lot of my doubts – doubts that every artist has – just evaporated. I stopped comparing myself and worrying about how I was perceived. It was like “if Nile Rodgers thinks this is good, then that’s as good as it’s going to get for me!”
Working with Sarah too was a total dream. Phantogram are a band I know really well and adore, so to have her on-board for my biggest release so far Must Stop was incredible. She was so awesome to work with. These people are way too cool for me. I don’t know what happened. But it’s been amazing.
K- Do you have any more news you can share with us in regards to upcoming releases?
I’ll have plenty more music out this year, and I just can’t wait to get out and let people hear it in the real world.
K- What’s in store for the rest of 2021?
I’m working on so much new music, working with some more amazing artists, and God-willing, I’ll be playing to crowds again as soon as possible.
Follow ONR for more music updates – @onrhq