Artist Profile: Robyn Steward


Welcome to our latest Artist Profile!

Today we are featuring Robyn who has just been awarded one of our latest Emergent commissions for emerging disabled musicians.

Robyn will be working with the DM Team to create a new piece of music and to think differently about the relationship between musician and audience.

Robyn is shown in profile playing a trumpet, leaning back, knees bent, wearing a purple hoodie, jeans and trilby hat
Hello! Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, my name is Robyn, I am a trumpet player mostly through electronics, I love to make music and just had my own night at Cafe Oto in London.

What are you looking forward to in your Emergent commission?

Having the opportunity to work with more experienced people and learning from them , creating something new.

Where did it all begin for you in making music?

I learnt to talk through singing and, in some ways, I learnt some social skills that way too.

When I was 8 a man came in to school and did a assembly about music education. I was totally inspired and wanted to try the trumpet first off.

I spent a week practicing my embouchure (using the muscles above and below your lips) and got a clear note the next time he came in. My parents bought me a cornet.

I stopped playing age 15, but then was massively inspired by Andy Diagram as I realised electronics could help me transcend my physical limitations.

What would you say your biggest challenge has been so far?

Knowing I was good enough

What has been your greatest triumph within music?

Pulling off a night at Cafe Oto – booking in all the acts , making posters etc and forming my first band and in the space of 6 weeks teaching them my EP and performing at the Beautiful Octopus Club.

Who/what would your dream collaboration be, alive or dead?

Tough question!  In my experience, it only works and feels good if you understand each other. Maybe a spoken word piece by Iggy Pop,
or a soundscape with Brian Eno, or a trumpet within hip hop.

Apart from this commission, what is coming up next for you in your music work?

  • I’m in about 7 configurations of artists ( solo,3 duos,2 trios,1 group of 4 musicians) so lots of gigs and rehearsals!
  • Usual trumpet practice
  • Going to Ireland and running a looping workshop
  • I’m lucky to be working with Heart N Soul at the Wellcome Hub I’m hoping to put on regular jam sessions
  • I’m planning on recording something with each of the groups of people I play with
  • I’m releasing a piece of music on bandcamp once a month
  • Next year I’ll have 3 Robyn’s Rockets at Cafe Oto, which I am shaping to have integrated acts so there will be a mix of disabled and non disabled musicians on each night

And finally… the big question… If you were a biscuit, what would you be and why?

Jammy dodger… I go fast! I’m soft in the middle tougher on the outside 🙂


Robyn was born in 1986 and grew up in rural Suffolk. Robyn started playing the cornet ( smaller version of the trumpet) aged 8, but classical training was not best suited to Robyn’s abilities and worked against her.

After a long break Robyn joined a beginners big band under the direction of Tony Douglas MBE who taught her to learn scales by ear. Later she learned to improvise with Adam Starr and then – after seeing Andy Diagram in his duo Spaceheads – Robyn became enthralled with technology and the trumpet, which allowed her to express her ideas.

Within 6 months Robyn wrote her first EP “New York” and got the opportunity to start a band with 5 trumpets and 1 keyboard at Heart N Soul’s Beautiful Octopus Club at the Southbank Centre. Andy Diagram mixed “New York”, and the pair started a duo Two Horns. In March 2018 Robyn went to SXSW with Heart N Soul band The Fish Police and spoke on a panel on neurodiversity in music. After a successful run of nights at Vinyl Deptford (now Sister Midnight Records) Robyn put on a immersive night of music at Cafe Oto in February 2018.

Robyn has also written two books on autism “The Independent Woman’s Handbook For Super Safe Living on the autistic spectrum” (2013,JKP) and “The Autism Friendly Guide to Periods” (2019,JKP). Robyn is on the Shaw Trust 100 Power List 2018. Robyn has spoken about autism around the world and her first book has been translated into Russian. Robyn is also a visual artist .

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