Buchanan began playing the piano at the age of 6. He acquired his first paying gig as a pianist at the age of 12 playing 6 nights a week in Dawson City, Yukon Territory. While still a teenager, Buchanan joined a band called Soul Unlimited, at the suggestion of friend Tom Baird. In the years that followed, Buchanan eventually moved to Los Angeles, California to write music with Carl Graves.
In 1978, Buchanan played a piano player in the Bette Midler film, The Rose. Buchanan would also go on to tour with Midler in support of the film. After a short period in 1980 playing with the Maxus band, Buchanan decided to turn his attention to being a full time session keyboardist. From that point on, his compositions and piano skills have earned him credits on albums by an impressive list of artists, including Bryan Adams, Christina Aguilera, Paul Anka, Philip Bailey, George Benson, Clint Black, Laura Branigan, Christopher Cross, Cher, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion, Bryan Duncan, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Amy Grant, Raven-Symoné, Kim Hill, Roger Hodgson, Amy Holland, Whitney Houston, Enrique Iglesias, Julio Iglesias, James Ingram, The Isley Brothers, Jewel, Elton John, Phil Keaggy, Stacy Lattisaw, Crystal Lewis, Kenny Loggins, The Manhattan Transfer, Luis Miguel, Aaron Neville, Stevie Nicks, Kazumasa Oda, Dolly Parton, Sam Phillips, Diana Ross, Richie Sambora, Dusty Springfield, Ringo Starr, Steely Dan as well as on soundtracks for such films as Ghostbusters, Aladdin, and others. Robbie makes his home in Vancouver,for three months of the year,and L. A. for the remainder.
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