Born in Edinburgh in 1959 Edwyn Collins has pursued a solo career as a musician, as well as working as an illustrator, television actor, and producer. His life long interest in ornithology and art has always been present ; “When I was a Boy, I could identify every British bird, most of them on the wing.” At the age of nine he swapped one of his own drawings for a sketch of a bird by a friend of the family, the wonderful Scottish artist James McIntosh Patrick; a drawing which he still treasures today. In the late 1970’s Edwyn found his first job at Glasgow Parks Department, employed to illustrate the native urban Scottish birdlife for educational pamphlets.
During the late 1970’s his band Orange Juice enjoyed great success as a major force in the post punk era with hits including ‘Rip It Up’ . In the 1990’s his solo career continued to inspire, with songs such as ‘Never Met A Girl Like You Before’. In 1994 he produced his third solo album, Gorgeous George. He has worked extensively as a record producer with other artists, including The Proclaimers, A House, Space, Robert Forster, The Cribs, Franz Ferdinand, and Little Barrie. In 2005, Collins produced the album The New Fellas recorded by The Cribs.
In May 2009, Edwyn Collins was presented with the Ivor Novello Inspiration Award in recognition of his struggles following a double brain hemorrhage in 2005, which left him partially paralyzed and only able to say his wife’s name, the words ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and ‘The Possibilities Are Endless’. Inspired by a book on British Birdlife Illustrations by the Victorian artist Archibald Thorburn he once again began to draw. Through the support of love and care of his wife Grace Maxwell and son Will he started on the road to making a remarkable recovery; through drawing, writing, recording and latterly once again performing his music.
‘Losing Sleep’ 2010, was reviewed in the NME as “… one of the best albums of the year”. As well as his ability to write and perform brilliant and constantly evolving new material, drawing has become an increasingly significant part of his artistic output. For the album, he collaborated with The Cribs’ Ryan Jarman and Johnny Marr, Franz Ferdinand, The Magic Numbers singer Romeo Stodart, The Drums and Roddy Frame.
A documentary film about Edwyn Collins entitled The Possibilities Are Endless, directed by James Hall and Edward Lovelace, was released in November 2014.
Edwyn Collins recently released his 9th solo album, Badbea, the first release since moving both home and studio to Helmsdale on the North East coast of Scotland in 2014. In part inspired by his return to the village where his grandfather lived, and somewhere Edwyn spent time over the years, the album title itself, and title track, are taken from and inspired by Badbea, an abandoned village on a cliff top five miles north of Helmsdale with a history defined by the Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries.