The humble ukulele had a major moment in the mid-2010s, thanks, in no small part, to the British singer/songwriter Cavetown, a.k.a. Robin Skinner. Born into a musical family in Oxford in 1998—his father eventually became a director of music at the University of Cambridge—Skinner was writing and recording in his bedroom by 14. As a young teen, he launched his Cavetown YouTube channel, covering songs by Ed Sheeran and twenty one pilots. His openness to discussing subjects like anxiety made him relatable, and videos about his pet chameleon added to his boyish charm. Little by little, Skinner’s original music began to win him followers, too. He broke through in 2015 with “This Is Home”, a winsome indie-pop song in the tradition of Elliott Smith that was marked by ringing harmonies and deft turns of phrase (“Often I am upset that I cannot fall in love but I guess/This avoids the stress of falling out of it”). Later that year, Skinner released his debut album, Cavetown, wrapping chiming ukulele in wistful electro-pop that channeled acts like The Postal Service. Cavetown’s music boasts a richly developed modal sensibility, and his hushed voice, often layered in dazzling multipart harmonies, lends to its intimate air. While his 2020 album, Sleepyhead, landed on the Billboard Americana/Folk Albums chart, what sets this artist apart from many of his peers is his ability to layer acoustic elements with twinkling electronics and the warming buzz of classic indie rock. For Cavetown, four strings are a springboard to limitless possibility.
BORN15 December 1998