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JR Reyne – Musician


There is no denying that JR Reyne (Jaime Robbie) is one talented (and it cannot be denied… very good looking) young man. He comes from good stock after all. Reyne’s parents are rock singer James Reyne (Australian Crawl fame) and model/stylist – Kim Ellmer. (Further evidence of talented genes running deep is – Reyne’s grandmother – Mrs Reyne, co-incidentally happened to be a senior English teacher at my school whilst growing up. I have a strong memory of her being in the staff choir as the lead. She was an amazing singer with an operatic style voice)

Reyne started out early on in his career as a model, and with various theatre and television appearances, including a role on Neighbours in 2002 also under his belt, based on these stats alone you could probably assume that he was born to be in show business and to perform. However as most of us in creative fields know all too well, success comes from years of hard work and determination. So it’s great to see that this is exactly the path that Jaime has chosen to take in carving out his own niche on his own terms.

Jaime has been solidly performing and touring with various bands since he was 20. Most notably as founding frontman and founder of Rushcutter. The band was signed to Mercury Records/Universal and worked with legendary producer Niko Bolas – long time collaborator of Neil Young, Keith Richards and Warren Zevon. Rushcutter went on to release a critically acclaimed debut album titled – ‘Call High Water’ – which was recorded at Melbourne’s famed Sing Sing Studios.

JR has since released and toured solo efforts ‘Remember To Breathe’ throughout Australia & the US to glowing reviews and has played at festivals such as A Day on the Green, St Kilda Festival, Manifestivus, Hot BBQ, Queenscliff Music Festival, Australian Country Music Muster and Rock For Relief. He has also shared stages with Pat Benatar, The Bangles, Gotye, Brett Dennen, Paul Kelly, Cloud Control, The Waifs, Loon Lake, & Canyons to name a few.

This year kicked off with the release of ‘Surrounded By The City’ – produced at Kent Ave Studio, NYC which features Jon Graboff (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Ryan Adams and The Cardinals, Willie Nelson) and Jeff Hill (Shooter Jennings, Rufus Wainwright, Joan As Police Woman), as well as contributing his version of The Rolling Stones classic ‘No Expectations’ to the 50th Anniversary Tribute (Halcyon Records).

Having recently relocated to Los Angeles, Reyne now spends his time jetting across the Pacific, having only recently returned home to perform at the Melbourne Spring Fashion Festival last month as Levi’s musical brand ambassador, as well as headlining DJ-sets at Melbourne hotspots such as Prince, The George and Seven Nightclub.

JR recently performed at the legendary Abbot Kinney Festival in Venice, California and launched his new single “My O My” at LA’s House Of Blues. JR Reyne will be returning to Australia next month to perform at the 2013 Melbourne Cup and will be returning to Australian shores once again this Summer for further shows to support his forthcoming release.

Look out for info on JR Reyne’s upcoming tour dates here and go support home grown talent who are really out there giving it a crack. Be rest assured that we will be seeing a lot more of JR Reyne in the years to come.

Q & A:

1) You come from a creative family. Do you think you were destined to follow in your Dad and Uncle’s foot steps by also becoming a muso? Did they ever try and talk you out of it?

I don’t think I was necessarily destined to do anything specific, however I was definitely destined to do whatever I wanted to do as I was lucky enough to be brought up in an environment which allowed me to do so. I have my mother to thank for that, as she and my god-mother were definitely my main influence for music – Sade, Van Morrison, Ry Cooder, Roxy Music. You name it, their music was always floating about the house growing up.

2) Do you think people have greater expectations of you as a consequence of your surname, or do you find you are judged on the merit of your own creative direction/sound?

I don’t know if people have greater expectations necessarily, but I am quite often compared to my father in Australia, which is totally natural. Here in the States though I’m definitely judged on the merit of my own stuff as there isn’t that association.

3) Did you study acting or music / or teach yourself? Who have been some of your greatest creative influences whilst growing up?

I did study growing up – guitar lessons, choir, played double-bass in the high school orchestra – but I also taught myself a lot from playing along to my favorite records as a kid. When the album Nevermind first came out, I definitely wanted to “be like Nirvana” – haha… and would actually draw little sketches wherever I could of how I’d want “my band to look like when I grew up”.

4) How would you describe your particular musical/creative style, and do you feel it has changed over the years as you’ve grown as an artist?

My musical taste is so varied and I think, and I hope that comes through when I play and record. I guess my music has changed over the years. As a teenager I played in garage bands, and was also djing at clubs around town, before really getting stuck into songwriters like John Prine and Gram Parsons, and also players like Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside who took me off in a different direction. My old band Rushcutter however were definitely trying to marry a Tom Petty feel in writing and performance with Australiana references, so I guess it just all depends on what you’re feeling at that stage in your life. At the end of the day, good music is good music, and genre is pretty irrelevant.

5) What is the best and worst career advice you’ve ever received?

Where do I start… the best advice I’ve probably received was to go and play and write as much as possible, as there really is only one way to get good, and that’s to just keep doing what you love and to always keep on top and practiced, as you are always, always learning. The worst advice I’ve ever been given was definitely from labels telling us you to alter what you naturally feel is right, to fit more into a current market. Never a good idea, and people can smell fake a mile away.


6) You are currently living in LA. What prompted the move to the States and how are you finding the career move? Have you found yourself living amongst other Aussie ex pats?

I’ve wanted to come to the States for as long as I can remember, so when the opportunity came to come over to the US for work (back in ’08 with then band ‘Rushcutter’), I fell in love. Growing up in Australia, the US feels so exotic on one hand, but also extremely familiar, so it does feel like home away from home. LA’s also great, as although it’s far, it’s still only a single flight back to Oz, so I’m able to fly back to do shows, and whatnot when I can. Aussies here do tend to congregate towards each other here naturally, and strangely enough, some of my closest Australian friends I befriended whilst here in the States.

7) What do you love most about your work? / What are the biggest challenges for you as a musician?

The thing I love the most about my work is that I never really know exactly where tomorrow it’s going to take me. I never know what tomorrow will bring. Conversely, the biggest challenge is that I never really know where exactly tomorrow it’s going to take me – haha.

8) What are some of your favorite hang outs in LA for good food / coffee / music / fashion ?

Tough one…Old Style Guitar Shop, H.O.W.L., Black Cat, Nick Fouquet Hat Co., The Echo, Kapital, Deus, Gjelina, The Satellite, Aust., Chucks Vintage, Wacko Soap Plant, Figaro, 4100 Bar & Stories.

9) What do you do for kicks and leisure when you’re not writing or performing?

Hmmm, pretty much just waste the days trolling through Instagram.

10) As a creative person – who and what inspires you or are you passionate about?

Anything can be inspiring really… big and little bits and bobs along the ways. The smallest occurrences and things you hear can sometimes make for the best tunes.

11) What’s your all time favorite song? and fave band/s? What is the best gig you’ve ever been to?

I’d have to say Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye is the perfect pop song… perfect production and I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember… The Race Is On by George Jones too. My favorite band’s probably the Police and the best gig I’ve ever been to was Prince in Melbourne around 3-4 years ago.

12) What next – any other interesting projects you’d like to plug/mention?

I’m currently working on a collaborative project here in LA with an ace producer from Ohio, Clay Schmitt. I’ve also got a new record coming out over Summer in Australia, which we’ll be launching and touring in Oz first.
I’ve got solo shows coming up at House of Blues and Aust. here in LA, as well as a performance for Spring Racing Carnival back in Melbourne, plus DJ sets in Australia including a set with my buds Generik and the Bad Cats which’ll be ace.