Robin Millar

Robin John Christian Millar, CBE (born 18 December 1951) is an English record producer, musician and businessman, known variously as 'The Original Smooth Operator', 'The man behind Sade', and 'Golden Ears' Boy George. He was born in London to an Irish father and West Indian mother, and is blind. He is one of the world's most successful record producers with over 150 gold, silver and platinum discs and 55 million record sales to his credit. His 1984 production of Diamond Life, the debut album by Sade, was named one of the best ten albums of the last 30 years at the 2011 Brit Awards.

Robin Millar
Birth nameRobin John Christian Millar
Born (1951-12-18) 18 December 1951 (age 69)
OriginTottenham, London, England
GenresPop, R&B, rock, Latin, indie, punk, jazz, film music
Occupation(s)Record producer, arranger, composer, musician, DJ, academic, public speaker, philanthropist
InstrumentsKeyboard, guitar, bass guitar, percussion, drums
Years active1975–present
Associated actsSade, Fine Young Cannibals, Big Country, Everything But The Girl, Randy Crawford, Patricia Kaas

He has developed and run a string of businesses in car hire, music recording and publishing and is currently Executive Group Chairman of the Blue Raincoat Chrysalis Group.

He has worked as a fundraiser for vulnerable people for 30 years and in 2012 underwent a 12-hour operation to install a bionic retina in his right eye to help research into future treatment for blindness.[citation needed]

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.[1]

In November 2020 he was appointed Chair of Scope UK, the national charity representing 14 million UK disabled people. In February 2021 he rode 407 virtual miles on an exercise bike to raise £40,000 for Scope, whose shops were closed down in the pandemic.

Early lifeEdit

Millar was born with retinitis pigmentosa at St George's Hospital, which is now The Lanesborough Hotel, Hyde Park Corner.[2] Despite poor vision he attended mainstream state school Enfield Grammar School from 1963 to 1970 and then read law at Queens' College, Cambridge from 1970 to 1973.[2]

Musical careerEdit

After gaining his law degree,[3] Millar moved into the music industry initially as a guitarist and artist in a band called The Blue Max alongside Danny Peyronel with Charisma Records,[4] eventually putting out records with Atlantic and WEA and working with ex-Velvet Underground singer Nico. He found his niche as a record producer in the early 1980s when he started Power Plant Studios. Power Plant became the most fashionable haunt of the London 1980s music scene. After working with post punk band Weekend in 1982, his breakthrough came in 1984 with seven consecutive Top 10 albums; including Eden by Everything but the Girl, Working Nights by Working Week, and especially the multi-platinum selling Diamond Life by Sade.

Production on other significant hit records in the period include Fine Young Cannibals (Fine Young Cannibals), Colin Hay (Looking for Jack), Big Country (The Seer), Patricia Kaas (Je te dis vous), Kane Gang, Bhundu Boys and Randy Crawford amongst others. Millar arranged the music for the film, And Now... Ladies and Gentlemen...[5] Millar's song "Rich and Poor", co-composed with Colin Vearncombe, was recorded by Randy Crawford on her 1989 album, Rich and Poor.[6] His 2003 solo album, Kiss and Tell was released by the Nujaz record label.[7]

Millar trained as a recording engineer, classical and jazz musician and arranger, and has trained dozens of engineers and producers, including Jim Abbiss, the producer of Arctic Monkeys and Adele.[citation needed]

In 2005, he produced MP4's EP album "House Music" which included a version of The Beatles', "Can't Buy Me Love".[8] In 2010 he produced the 12 track MP4 album "Cross Party". In 2016 he brought together MPs, professional musicians, students and the Thurrock Community Chorus for a charity recording of 'You can't always get what you want' in aid of the Friends of Jo Cox MP.[9]

Millar is a patron of The Music Producers Guild, which he helped found in 1987.

Millar was executive producer of the major worldwide series of concerts to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Édith Piaf, with shows in Carnegie Hall, New York, The Royal Albert Hall London and major venues in France, Germany, Russia, Europe and the Far East. He has been collaborating with Australian singer/songwriter Eran James whom he met through Elton John in 2010.

He is currently Chairman of Chrysalis Records Ltd and Blue Raincoat Music, who handle the careers of Cigarettes After Sex and Phoebe Bridgers and the music recordings of Ultravox, Sinead O’Connor, The Specials, Debbie Harry, Billy Idol's Generation X and Everything But The Girl and a song catalogue that includes "The Best" global hit sung by Tina Turner and music from the original Woodstock Festival.

Charity work promoting skills and trainingEdit

In July 2017 Millar became a founder trustee of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.[10] He was a founder trustee of the National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural from 2008 to 2011 and was instrumental in the project to build The Backstage Centre, part of High House Purfleet. Co-located with the Royal Opera House's Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Centre, the centre hires out its Sound Stage and recording studios to professional companies whilst hosting training courses for young people in backstage skills. In 2016 Millar led a charity recording from the Centre involving MPs, the local choir and professional singers to raise funds in memory of MP Jo Cox.[11] From 2011 to 2015 Millar was a trustee of Creative & Cultural Skills. In 2020 he was appointed chair of the disability charity Scope (charity).[12] He has produced music events for charity including when a Patron at UNHCR[13] and was a global ambassador for Leonard Cheshire Disability for eight years.[14]

Personal lifeEdit

He was married to American painter Ellen Trillas from 1979 to 1997.[citation needed] They had two children. He has been with his partner and long time friend Shelley Davies for twenty years.

Millar appeared on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs on 20 March 2015.[15]

Production creditsEdit

In addition to those listed above, Millar's work as a record producer includes credits on the following:


  1. ^ "No. 59446". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2010. p. 8.
  2. ^ a b "Robin Millar". Evening Standard. 10 June 2004. Archived from the original on 10 October 2007. Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  3. ^ "Your stories – Robin Millar". Creative and Cultural Skills. Archived from the original on 30 July 2007. Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  4. ^ "The Blue Max - The Blue Max". Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  5. ^ Robin Millar at IMDb
  6. ^ – album overview
  7. ^ – album overview
  8. ^ Fife, Clova (13 July 2005). "Parliament to enter the download age: MP4 release Can't Buy Me Love through EMI Music". BPI. Archived from the original on 22 November 2005. Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  9. ^ White, Adam (15 December 2016). "Who's behind the Jo Cox charity single? Plus, everything else you need to know".
  10. ^ "Board Members : Robin Millar". Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  11. ^
  12. ^ {{Cite web|url=
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Robin Millar". BBC.
  16. ^ Credits, AllMusic

External linksEdit