Robin Taylor-Firth is a renowned songwriter and producer best known as the co-writer of the international hit “You’re Not Alone” recorded by Olive and for a 30-year association with trip-hop pioneers Nightmares on Wax.
After a brief spell as a recording artist for Phonogram, Robin’s career breakthrough came in 1991 when he started collaborating with George Evelyn (DJ E.A.S.E.) on his musical project Nightmares on Wax. Robin was a major contributor to all of the group’s most successful studio albums, including ‘Smoker’s Delight’ (1995), ‘Carboot Soul’ (1999), ‘Mind Elevation’ (2002) and ‘In A Space Outta Sound’ (2006). The soulful classicism of the group’s recordings has made them essential end-of-night listening and a staple of chill-out playlists ever since their release.
In 1995, Robin signed to RCA Records and formed the group Olive with songwriter Tim Kellett (previously of Durutti Column and Simply Red) and singer Ruth-Ann Boyle. Their single “You’re Not Alone” reached #1 in the UK Singles Chart in May 1997 and earned Robin and Tim that year’s Ivor Novello Award for Best Dance Song. It was also a huge hit across Europe (Belgium (#13), Denmark (#4), Germany (#26), Italy (#18), Netherlands (#24), Spain (#6), Sweden (#14) and Switzerland (#16)) and on the US and Canadian dance charts. Olive’s follow-up release, “Outlaw”, peaked at #14 in the UK chart and the LP from which it was taken, ‘Extra Virgin’, attained a #15 placing on the UK Albums Chart.
“You’re Not Alone” experienced further chart success across Europe in 2002 when it was covered by trance DJ ATB (Germany #13 and Belgium #14) and again in 2009 with a version by Mads Langer (Italy #6 and Belgium #20). A piano-led recording by Astraea also formed the soundtrack of the 2018 Lloyds Bank advertising campaign, The Running of the Horses. The song is often sampled, delivering the bedrock of Tinchy Stryder’s single “You’re Not Alone” (UK #14 in 2009) and Nick Mulvey’s 2013 release “Nitrous”. A more recent interpolation can be heard in “Darjeeling” by FKA Twigs feat. Jorja Smith and Unknown T.
After leaving Olive in 1998, Robin continued his work with Nightmares on Wax and began to branch out into other music projects. He has since created the collective BudNubac, a musical act that incorporated Cuban and Latino sounds with Jamaican dub and salsa rhythms, written for the Spanish musicals Cervantes, Noche Oscura Lugar Tranquilo and Valle Inclan and worked on albums for Cuban singer Vanito Brown and flamenco/folk artist Mil i Maria. Most recently, he has collaborated with a range of up-and-coming artists including Charlotte Branson, Bethannie Hare, JYM and Cara Hart.