Robert Cox is a musician and UNCG student from Durham. For the last two years, he has been making a name for himself, performing in numerous shows around the Greensboro area with fellow UNCG singer-songwriter Niya Wells. Cox is a guitarist, singer and songwriter who has drawn his musical inspiration from a variety of sources. At the age of 21, Cox has been playing for nearly a decade. What began as a chance encounter with a friend’s guitar eventually grew into his heart’s greatest passion.
He explained, “How did I first get into music? I think I was around 13 years old at the time. I remember I just picked up my friend’s guitar and it became the most interesting thing to me, and then I started finding new kinds of music to listen to and started learning other instruments.”
Cox started playing the guitar roughly eight or nine years ago. During the span of those years, Kanye West released both the final installment of his “College Dropout” series with “Graduation,” and his groundbreaking, critically-acclaimed, genre-shifting masterpiece, “808s & Heartbreaks.” While “Graduation,” was an appropriate and fitting conclusion to the theme he followed throughout his conceptual album series of “College Dropout,” “Late Registration” and “Graduation,” “808’s” went on to influence music in a variety of ways, literally shifting the sound pallet man hip-hop producers. Trap music that was usually hard, and gritty, powered by hard-hitting kicks and sharp snares, began to shift into a more melodic sphere, following the blueprint West laid with 808’s. It was also around this same time that established musical legend, Prince released his “Planet Earth” album. Kanye West and Prince are the two all-time great artists, and it’s no wonder why Robert Cox has drawn so much inspiration from them over the years.
“It was Prince and Kanye who gave me the most inspiration to create,” Cox said. “But as I have grown older, I’ve drawn more inspiration from my life. Ya know, like money — or the lack thereof — dreams, hoes, family and people that kinda suck.”
After picking up a guitar, Cox gave himself a couple of years to develop a skillset before he started writing. And after allowing his pen to grow for a few years, he finally began recording.
“I think I started writing as soon as I had enough skill to write with, and that was at [the age of] 14 or 15,” Cox explained. “And recording began as an idea when I got to college. I decided I needed to be an artist by myself.”
Cox then shed light on his “aha” moment, when he finally realized that he was a musician. “I knew I wanted to be one since eighth grade, but I didn’t have the moment where I actually told myself ‘I’m a musician,’ until this past summer. The events that sparked that moment were a good amount of shows. I realized where all of my money was going to, and there was traveling. It was very inspiring. I was pretty happy while doing that, and I’m not normally that happy.”
Finally, Cox talked about what he is doing currently musically, and what plans he has for the future. “I’m currently working with Niya Wells. She’s an amazing soul singer. We’ve just been recording a lot of stuff and doing a lot of shows together. But starting next month, I’m working on a short EP to push some of my own music.”
Robert Cox is a musician with a passion that has been burning for nearly a decade. And after writing, performing and building for a number of years, he is ready to put his art into the world.