Panama City musician Ted Robinson AKA Son of Pearl releases new album
PANAMA CITY — Theodore “Tedi” Robinson remembers spending many days and nights practicing music with loved ones while growing up in the Glenwood neighborhood.
Now known musically as Son of Pearl, Robinson released his latest album, “Eclecticism,” on June 21, which pays homage to his roots and features a mix of the genres he grew up with. The Mosley High School graduate and 23-year veteran of the United States Army describes himself as a bassist, songwriter and poet.
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“Music has been the one thing in my life that’s really cohesive, and it’s saved me many times in so many ways,” Robinson said. “For me, music had found a way to be that linchpin when everything else was falling apart. It’s my escape and my passion.”
Robinson’s musical roots run deep as he grew up listening to his late mother and grandmother sing gospel. The other half of his musical DNA comes from his father, Willie Eugene Robinson, a percussionist with the acclaimed R&B duo Sam and Dave, who produced the 1967 classic “Soul Man.”
Robinson got his start in music after his mother, Pearl, died when he was 13. As the eldest son, he adopted the stage name “Son of Pearl” to honor her and make a name for himself.
“I’ve always been a mama’s boy,” he said. “My mum had a tough life but always told me that something beautiful would always stay through the pain no matter how hard times got, so I wanted to carry her legacy with me.”
Since the start of his career, Robinson has grown his brand and audience from a few hundred listeners per month to over 10,000 listeners on streaming platforms. He credits his career to his musical producers, Juilliard-trained guitarist D. Trent Kelly of Durham, North Carolina, and FlightBoy Music of Baltimore, Maryland. In his latest album, he experimented with several genres and incorporated the styles of new soul, R&B, funk, classical, jazz, country and rock into one album.
“‘Eclecticism’ is my first full album where I had the opportunity to show off my musical talents,” Robinson said, mentioning that it was limited to certain genres under a previous record deal. “It was the album where I was finally free to make myself. My goal was to tell the story of the whole reality of who we are as humans through music.”
He has played in several opening acts for popular southeastern bands including The BusBoys, Maserati and Xavion. Robinson said he was inspired by composers such as Stanley Clarke, Victor Wooten, Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix and George Benson.
Robinson lets his spirit run wild on his new album, with songs reflecting the nature of pride, the joy of people reuniting after being separated, and the recognition of a unique love. He also pays homage to his father.
Although his experiences have been vast, his music and inspiration comes from his hometown, Panama City.
“Eclecticism” is currently available on all streaming services.
While Robinson resides in Baltimore, he said he plans to return home within the next two years. He is on a mission to connect with the local community and one day perform on the festival stage in his hometown.
“I’m ready to go home to golden years and hope to see my name on the Seabreeze Jazz Festival lineup,” Robinson said. “I just want to live in the moment, and that’s my ultimate goal with my music career.”