Although he may look like an average cowboy from Colorado, Rob Whelan is far from it. Originally born in Whangarei New Zealand Rob lived in Manchester UK for most of his life. Rob returned to his NZ roots three years ago where he finally chose Wellington as the province to settle in and started mapping out a career as a solo singer/songwriter. As a result Rob has now recently recorded his debut EP.
After playing in various rock bands and most notably recording an album with the band “Speedbird” in 2011, Rob was inspired to change direction to commence his solo acoustic career after seeing Chris Cornell play a show in Manchester in 2012. By taking the big step to emigrate back to NZ and start his new life in Wellington, Rob’s solo music career has gone from strength to strength not only with him playing covers gigs in bars around the city, most recently playing five shows on a visit back to Manchester, a radio interview on the Liam McClair show on Reform Radio and best of all talking his way into being able to play a 40 minute set on the acoustic stage at the Blackthorn Festival on the same bill as “Maximo Park” “Stereo MCs” and “The Lottery Winners”. Rob was also honored to be asked to play a “Sofar Sounds” show in Wellington to a select crowd of just 50. Since then Rob has had fantastic feedback from all who have heard him play his captivating heartfelt story-telling originals often being likened to the enigmatic sounds of Neil Fynn and Crowded House in style. With so much praise on hand Rob decided to put the covers on the back-burner and concentrate on his originals. Employing the talents of some of the best musicians he could find around the city (Jhan Lindsay-Keys, Hannah Fraser – violin, Ruby Hinepunui Solly – cello, Scott Roy – guitar and percussion, Sean O’Connor – lead guitar and Clarinda Roxanne Kwee – backing vocals) he recorded his debut concept EP “Search & Rescue” in July. It tells the story of leaving his old life behind, moving to back to NZ, making the most of his talents as a musician, and ending on how well NZ has made him feel welcome again.
With an EP launch in the pipeline for October, many more songs written with continued positive feedback from all those who hear him play live, the future is looking very bright indeed.
“A fantastic voice with a soft unique tone” – Lisa Tomlins- Backing singer for Neil Finn from Crowded House