Skip to content

Sharon Robinson Author Biography Essay

Sharon Robinson has captivated readers with her memoir Stealing Home (Harper Collins Publishers, 1996), her recounting of growing up in the public eye, and Jackie's Nine (Scholastic, 2001), a book for young readers about the nine heartfelt, hard-won values that helped her father, Jackie Robinson, achieve his goals. Her photographic biography for children, Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America (Scholastic February 2004) received rave reviews. Her fiction novels include Safe At Home (Scholastic, 2006) and Slam Dunk! (Scholastic, 2007). Her first picture book, Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson (Scholastic, 2009) honors her extraordinary father's memory with her warm, graceful storytelling and illustrations by two-time Caldecott Honor Book artist, Kadir Nelson.

In addition to her writing career, Ms. Robinson is an educational consultant for Major League Baseball. In this capacity, she oversees school and community-based educational programs. Breaking Barriers, In Sports, In Life is the department's core program; it is a national character education program designed to empower students with strategies to help them face obstacles in their lives. The message is delivered by examining the values demonstrated in the lives of Jackie Robinson and many of today's baseball stars; since its inception in 1997, the program has reached over fourteen million children across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

Prior to joining Major League Baseball, Ms. Robinson had a 20-year career as a nurse-midwife and educator. She taught at such prestigious universities as Yale, Columbia, Howard and Georgetown. In addition to her work in midwifery, she directed the PUSH for Excellence program founded by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson from 1985 to 1990 and was a fund-raiser for The United Negro College Fund and A Better Chance.

Ms. Robinson is Vice Chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and serves on the boards for the Roberto Clemente Sports City Complex in Carolina, PR, Metropolitan Opera, Urban America, and Omnicom Diversity Committee.

Sharon Robinson received her Bachelor's degree from Howard University in 1973 and her Master's degree from Columbia University in 1976. She went on to receive a post-Master's Certificate in Teaching from the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Robinson has honorary degrees from Medaille College (1998), Dowling College (2004), and Monmouth College (2005).

She lives in Apollo Beach, FL.

Sharon Robinson

Robinson in 2008

Background information
Born1958
San Francisco
United States
GenresFolk, folk rock, rock, world, pop
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals
Labelsindependent
Associated actsLeonard Cohen

Sharon Robinson (born in San Francisco in 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, and record producer. She is best known as a frequent writing collaborator with Leonard Cohen,[1] although she has written songs for a number of other artists as well, including The Pointer Sisters, Aaron Neville, Brenda Russell, Diana Ross, Don Henley, Michael Bolton, Randy Crawford, Patti LaBelle, Roberta Flack, The Temptations, and others.

Biography[edit]

Robinson excelled in school, and as a National Merit semi-finalist she earned a scholarship to Salem College in West Virginia. Halfway to her degree, money and music proved a stronger draw, so she left school to front a touring Top-40 band for several years. Burnout on the road brought her back to college; this time to the California Institute of the Arts to study music.

She toured as back-up singer for Cohen in 1979 and 1980, and then again during 2008–2013. They collaborated on writing his much acclaimed songs "Everybody Knows" and "Waiting for the Miracle", released in 1988 and 1992 respectively. In 2001 she co-wrote, produced, arranged and performed the backing tracks (as well as appearing alongside Cohen on the cover) for his album Ten New Songs. Robinson also contributed to three tracks on Cohen's 2004 album Dear Heather, and duetted with Cohen on "The Letters".

She was awarded a Grammy in 1985 for the song "New Attitude" (from Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack), recorded by Patti LaBelle.

In 2004, Sharon Robinson gave a full-length interview discussing her life, career and work with Leonard Cohen.

In 2005, Robinson's new song "The High Road" was performed by Bettye LaVette on her album I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, which was picked as #59 at Amazon's best of 2005 Editor's picks. Robinson's recent work also includes the songs written for Chris Botti.

In 2008, Robinson released her debut solo album Everybody Knows, which includes three songs she co-wrote with Cohen: "Alexandra Leaving," "Everybody Knows," and "Summertime", their first collaboration, originally recorded by Diana Ross for her 1987 album Red Hot Rhythm & Blues. The set also includes "The High Road", and 6 new tracks written by Robinson.

On October 27, 2008, Vibrant Records released Everybody Knows in the United Kingdom and Europe, replacing the original artwork from Leonard Cohen with a photo of Robinson. In February 2009, Vibrant Records closed its doors due to the bankruptcy of its distributor Pinnacle. In April 2009, UK label Freeworld Records re-released Everybody Knows in Europe with the original Leonard Cohen drawn cover art. Sharon self-released the album in the U.S.

In 2008 Robinson joined The Leonard Cohen World Tour which lasted until December 2013. In August 2013 Sharon was profiled in a cover story in the Financial Times. A book of her photographs, was released in December 2014 along with exhibits at the in New York and Los Angeles, and performances in those cities and Toronto.

Sharon Robinson appeared on Cohen's 2012 album Old Ideas singing, arranging choirs and playing synth bass on four tracks.

Robinson performed songs from both her albums and also songs she co-wrote with Cohen on a tour in March and April 2015, coinciding with the release of her second solo album entitled, Caffeine, singing in Belgium, Holland, Germany, France, Ireland, Scotland and England. Caffeine included 10 new tracks written and produced by Sharon Robinson herself, with one song, "Lucky", co-written with Cohen in the 1980s but not recorded.

In 2015 Robinson released a four-track EP titled Sharon Robinson EP 1, with the songs by Tom Waits, Otis Redding, Bruce Hornsby, and Eric Clapton. After her second 2015 tour was postponed, she toured in Europe again in August and September 2016. In August 2016, she was the guest of honour at 10th Leonard Cohen Event, held in Amsterdam.

Discography[edit]

Collaborative Albums[edit]

  • Ten New Songs (2001; with Leonard Cohen, co-writer, vocalist, producer)

Solo Albums[edit]

  • Everybody Knows (2008)
  • Caffeine (2015)
  • EP 1 (songs by Waits, Redding, Hornsby, Clapton) (2015)

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sharon Robinson on stage with Leonard Cohen during concert at Edinburgh Castle, July 16, 2008