You might be excused for thinking that the heading „Englishman in Berlin” is an announcement for a coming guest appearance of Sting in the German capital city.  But the association with the hit-song “Englishman in New York” is misleading. No, the “Englishman” we´re referring to here is a project initiated by a singer/songwriter who has made quite a name for himself in Germany as a composer and performer of children´s songs. The British-born artist goes by the name of Robert Metcalf, and his frequent appearances on German children´s television and many years of performing on stage have secured him a large fan community throughout the country.

What many of his followers do not know is that Robert Metcalf started his professional career writing in his mother tongue for an adult audience, meaning that his present project “Englishman in Berlin” has an element of going “back to the roots”. More important:  his “songs for grown-ups” – mostly in English, but sometimes in German – are increasingly attracting the attention of adult listeners and critics. Metcalf´s thought-provoking lyrics – but also his memorable tunes – have already earned him excellent response from a growing audience.

The best examples for the increasing interest in Metcalf´s songs can be seen in two Top 1 rankings in the Amazon Charts. In December 2019 “Englishman in Berlin” landed two songs in the Top 10: „Only a Song“ (in the category Blues) and „Song of Sixpence“ (in the category Folk), making it right to the top in the Amazon Charts.  The success of these “Englishman” songs is certainly due in part to the clear messages of the lyrics. In the case of his song “Walking backwards” Metcalf expresses his feelings about the increase of populism in the world, which in turn caused the music portal “RatingsGameMusic“ to comment: „While Everybody´s Walking Backwards doesn’t feel like a completely depressing tune, it does make me want to watch CNN for the next couple of hours…”  The message seems to have reached the reviewer, as it has many other listeners.

But “Englishman in Berlin” is by no means a political project. With great melodies and thoughtful, sometimes ironic or satirical lyrics Metcalf´s writing follows in the Singer-songwriter tradition of Randy Newman, Paul Simon and John Lennon (to whom, by the way, his song “Song of Sixpence” is dedicated). Metcalf´s music is hand-made with real instruments; his voice is mellow but distinctive; his songs are catchy in a characteristically pleasant manner; he inspires or entertains his listeners, often giving them food for thought.

The fact that this “Englishman” now lives and works in Berlin – and earlier in London and Paris – explains perhaps why Robert Metcalf is particularly sensitive about subjects such as Brexit or the future of Europe. In an up-and-coming song – yet to be released – he´ll be lending his voice to the slogan „We want the exit from Brexit!”

It will be exciting to see what the future holds in store for this songwriter project, which on stage comes in three “sizes”: duo, trio and quartet.

Curious to hear more from “Englishman in Berlin”? Many of Metcalf´s songs can be found in Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube and Co. We also recommend the video version of “Walking backwards”, a very personal view on the subject of populism.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post All Strokes Down – ‘Lost And Found’
Next post Ralf im Radio – “How Could I”
  • Tunedloud Hit Radio