Anwar Farid Robinson (born April 21, 1979) is an American singer/songwriter/musician who was the 7th place finalist on the fourth season of American Idol.
Robinson grew up in Newark, New Jersey. He first started to sing when he was eight and was accepted to the Newark Boys' Chorus School. He performed as a church musician and choir director throughout high school and college. As a student at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey, he trained classically as a tenor in college for four years under Dr. Scott J. McCoy. He graduated in 2001.
During his senior year in college, he had an internship at New York City's High School of the Performing Arts (known as LaGuardia High School), and Robinson landed a gig as the keyboardist/musical director for Patti's Kitchen, a pilot for Patti LaBelle's cooking show with the Food Network. The same year, he joined an R&B group called the A.R.T. of SOUL under the direction of world renowned songwriter/producer, Joshua Thompson. A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for Anwar, Randy (Beasley), and Terry (Carpenter), the members of the trio. The group signed a production deal with Thompson, who later took the group to sing live for Clive Davis in February 2001. Davis signed the group on the spot to his new label, j Records. After two years, the group disseminated and was subsequently dropped from the label due to creative differences between the production and the label.
During the term of the A.R.T. of SOUL, Robinson, who is also an accomplished pianist, became a junior high school music teacher, settling in Elizabeth, New Jersey and West Orange, New Jersey. Robinson was also a member of a local group called The Perfect Combination and played for churches in the greater Essex County area. One of these churches was Zoe Ministries, where Bishop E. Bernard Jordan is the Chief Prelate. During Robinson's tenure there, he was one of several vocalists and musicians that contributed to Resurrection, an album that was made for Easter 2003. Anwar is a featured soloist on the song "Saved" and sings the hook/refrain with Reverend Run of Run-D.M.C. (Joseph Simmons, Sr.) and Layzie Bone (of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony) on the track, "His Love Will Never Die". This song also features two of Reverend Run's sons, Joseph, Jr. and Daniel Simmons.
Anwar also had the opportunity to be featured as a member of a Christmas Choir for a holiday episode of Emeril Live during Christmas 2003. He would later return to the show as a guest when Aretha Franklin made an appearance on the show during April 2006, almost a year after his run on American Idol.
In August 2004, Robinson successfully auditioned for Season 4 of Idol in Washington, DC. He proceeded to the Top 12, but was voted off during 1970s dance music week on April 20, 2005 (the day before his 26th birthday), after his performance of Earth Wind and Fire's "September". Only six contestants remained after Robinson's departure.
He went on to tour with the Top 10 contestants of Season Four and sang for over 500,000 people in over 40 cities in the United States and Canada. He also participated in "Idols In Concert" at the newly built Rrazz Room at San Francisco's Hotel Nikko.
Robinson has completed an album of cover songs entitled "The Truth (About Love)". A CD sampler was previously available from his fan site. Then, he began working on original material for his second album, "The Truth II", according to his MySpace. Also, Anwar lent his voice to the project InSPIRATION, a collection of inspirational songs composed by Reverend Nolan Williams, Jr. which was released in 2006. He has resumed his work on his album of original songs for a fall release in 2008.
Recently, Anwar took on the role of "Collins" in the 2007-2008 National/International Tour of Jonathan Larson's iconic Rock Opera, RENT. The tour made stops in over 40 cities in the United States, Canada (Toronto, London, & Kitchener, Ontario and Calgary, Alberta), and Japan (Tokyo and Osaka).
He was asked to play the lead role of "Raymond Tyler, Jr" in the musical adaptation of E. Lynn Harris' award-winning novel, Invisible Life, during the July 2008 workshop with score composers and world-renowned songwriters, Ashford & Simpson.
Anwar made his film debut in Renowned Director/Writer/Actor Maurice Jamal's The Ski Trip 2: Friends and Lovers as "Owen". The film debuted on July 13, 2008 at the Fairfax Regency Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Anwar starred as Jesus in the Syracuse Stage production of Godspell. Conceived and Originally directed by John-Michael Tebelak and music and New Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. This production was directed by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj and choreographed by Anthony Salatino. This production ran in Syracuse, NY at the Syracuse Stage November 25 - December 28, 2008.
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