Rich Robbins • "Growing Pains"

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As life moves on people do as well, and as the pages of the calendar replenish themselves annually, so do life’s lessons. In his new animated video “Growing Pains”, Rich Robbins reflects on the life teachings he’s acquired over time. In the new song, Rich’s delivery is so casual, it’s as if he’s within arms reach of you at all times, like a conversation over breakfast. Explaining himself as a child of cities like Philly, Madison, and Chicago, Robbins relays his life over record in a manner that is nothing short of memorable.

Along with the light hearted bounce of chords and percussion from producer Illuid Haller, and the in depth visual support from animator Toon Bog, Rich Robbins’ story expands on love, social and personal struggles, and how to adapt through it all. He’s ready to make an impact on Chicago, a city Robbins credits as the center of his creative development, “Even though I consider a lot of places home, Chicago has always been at the center of that. In my earlier days of writing poetry, the city gave me places to foster my artistry like YCA, Louder Than a Bomb, Oak Park River Forest’s Spoken Word Club, etc. I’ve been immersed in the art in this city since before high school. Half of my family is also in Chicago, so that just adds to why it feels like home so much.”

Find out more about Rich Robbins and the new song in our Q&A below!

I feel some real chemistry between you and producer Illuid Haller and something tells me you’ve been working together for quite some time. What was it like working with Illuid for this particular song?

Ha! That’s a really interesting observation. I actually don’t know Illuid at all lol! The beauty of the internet is that, if you dig hard enough, you can find creatives who match your vibe who aren’t necessarily in your vicinity. I found Illuid’s YouTube channel on a whim and his whole style compliments my current vibe as a lyricist. I’m getting a package of songs together that I’m using of his and plan on reaching out in hopes to continue toward a more in-depth partnership. It’s weird, like we’re on the same wavelength but in very different places on the map. He might not even know I exist yet lol.

The visual pairs very well with the story you’re telling in your lyrics. What can you tell me about working with animator Toon Bog to create your vision?

Toonbog is amazing to work with! A good friend of mine connected me with him cuz they’ve been friends for some years. When I peeped his IG I knew he was the perfect person to do some sort of animation with. So we linked up on a phone call and I told him all these ideas I had. He was a fan of this concept of creating a character who was trying to protect his “garden” aka his peace of mind. I had him listen to several songs from the album just to get a feel for what type of artist I was, and then he basically lived and breathed “Growing Pains” for a straight month. When he came back with the visuals, I damn near teared up. Everything I had jotted down in my notebook was brought to life. It’s rare to collaborate with someone and have them take all the wild ideas you have in your brain and make them into a tangible piece of art. We really accomplished something special with this one.

Your lyrics are expressed in such detail, so I really believe this story comes from your own personal experiences. What are some pivotal life lessons you have learned living through these “Growing Pains”?

One of the biggest things I’ve learned is how to deal with anxiety and anxious thoughts in a healthier way. That’s something I deal with heavily on a daily basis. To be able to talk about it with my audience and to have them connect with those moments of growth is something I’m grateful for, and it helps to know that people deal with similar pains. It’s okay to have these pains, it’s okay to take your time learning from them, and it’s okay to stumble as you go through that journey. Forgiveness for yourself is crucial. At the end of the day, it’s all okay as long as you’re open to growing toward something more improved than yesterday.

Name a couple Chicago artists or musicians you’d like to work with over the course of your career. What about their craft do you admire the most

I recently got put on to Iris Temple. Those guys are sick and I know we’d make some fantastic music. I’m a big fan of Yomi too! She’s a master with the harp, and it’s something you really don’t see every day. It would also be dope to get in the studio with Monte Booker. I just wanna see his process and figure out how to blend my sound with his. We could go crazy with some type of storytelling yet super bumping song with hella Chicago bounce.