‘Mayfield Life’ flashed up on my phone screen. 2304… I read further, intrigued once again by the messages I receive from my friend and all-round good guy/guru, Kian. I did the same thing as I normally do when I receive a new track, especially from an artist I’ve never heard before. I wait. I wait until the moment where I can sit, sip coffee, and focus on the craftsmanship that’s been handed to me in the form of a song. I love music for this reason. I also love my job for this reason.
Since that fateful day in the sun, where I sat, blatantly ignoring the public and listening to a track that caught me a little off guard, I’ve been listening on repeat. With the image of Mayfield in my mind, the notes that rang through my ears presented a stark contrast to my preconceptions. With each passing note I so desperately wanted to meet the individual behind such craftsmanship. The track is light, airy, and propelled forward by sweet layers of slick guitar riffs and a completely chilled out, cruisy voice.
As I came to find out, ‘Mayfield Life’ is just one of the many stunning tracks from local artist King Single (aka Rob Nedeljković). I got the chance to chat to Rob over a beer at the Hamo one sunny Sunday (session) afternoon, about family, art, music, and of course ‘Mayfield Life’. I started the interview curiously, as I just really wanted to know more about this wonderful artist: ‘How would you describe yourself to someone who has never met you?’
‘I think I can be a little bit standoffish sometimes when you first meet me, especially at first,’ was Rob’s answer. ‘But I’m just an easygoing, chilled kind of guy… I’m definitely more “intro”, though.’ Introversion as a personality type has definitely emerged as a sturdy emotional foundation for a lot of artists I’ve met, who, of course, spend a large chunk of their time thinking and creating. Rob was soft-spoken, polite, and completely as he self-described: ‘just an easygoing guy’.
Combining this introversion with a creative outlet brings wonderful results. ‘[Music] is definitely a way to vent,’ says Rob. ‘I mean, it’s a way to get any sort of tension out that’s built up from the day, month, week or even lifetime – whatever, really. It’s a great process for creative types.’ Luckily for Rob, his outlets extend beyond music and spill into other creative mediums. ‘I’m also really into art as well,’ he explains. ‘I have my BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts), so I kind of bounce backwards and forwards between the two mediums. If I’m not feeling musically inclined, I can draw something or paint something and still express myself in that way.’
But where did it all start, music-wise, I wondered? ‘I first picked up a guitar when I was 17 in high school, and pretty much taught myself. Since leaving high school, I played with a few friends here and there… We managed to tour a few times, especially the East Coast, and went to New Zealand to play. I’ve had some really cool experiences.’
Track-wise, it’s very easy to spot the eight years of hard work Rob has poured into creating, playing and making music. Each track is calculated, but in a way that’s not invasive or stiff. It’s as though each line or bar flows effortlessly from one to the other, as if the individual listener’s interpretation of the track is precisely how it was intended to be heard.
Back to ‘Mayfield Life’. What was this track really all about? ‘I grew up in Mayfield as a child,’ explains Rob. ‘That track is mostly about being raised by a single mum and being quite disconnected from my family, quite literally.’ The references to Mayfield as it once was shine through the more serious side to the lyrics. ‘We lived right near the BHP,’ says Rob. ‘I mean, you could literally see the coal and the black dust clouds and stuff like that.’
So Newy. So very very Newy. The references to Newcastle icons like BHP made me reminisce about my old place in Carrington, where what I now know to be coal dust used to fall from the ceiling and the cracks in the walls every time a bus drove past. Actually, every time someone looked at my place, coal dust would fall from the ceiling. Now that’s Newy.
Before I left Rob to enjoy the remaining moments of his Sunday, I couldn’t help but ask where the name ‘King Single’ came from. ‘My bed,’ Rob laughs. ‘I’ve been sleeping on the same bed for almost eight years and I was like, yeah, that seems like an appropriate name for myself. You could see it as a little self-deprecating in a sense, but I’m not trying to be like, “Oh I’m the king of all the singles”. It’s really just my mattress.’
Want to know what all the fuss is about? You can find King Single’s tracks on Bandcamp (https://kingsingle.bandcamp.com). There’s an incredible collection of dreamy tracks packed with lyrical punches and imagery as far as the musical mind can conjure. Luckily for you, you can also catch this incredible artist at the Cambridge Hotel for the ever-intriguing Thursday Night Live on the 17th of November.