2010 has been a fantastic year for pop music, but if any pop singer/songwriter has had a breakthrough year, it’s Robyn. Beginning her career in the pop music industry when she was sixteen, Robyn originally found mainstream U.S. success with the release of her debut album Robyn Is Here in 1997. However, it wasn’t until early 2008 that Robyn returned by creating indie blogosphere buzz around the release of her second U.S. record, the self-titled Robyn. Released via the artists’ own Konichiwa Records, created with the aim of liberating Robyn artistically, Robyn received rave reviews, and gained the singer three Swedish Grammy Awards in 2006.
Promoting the record release with a string of U.S. tour dates, including a sold out show tonight at Neumos, Robyn chatted with me via email during her busy promotional schedule:
Hi, Robyn! Three albums in a six month period is quite an accomplishment. Do you see yourself continuing to release music in this way in the future?
Yes, I do! The three Body Talk albums were a jump start to buy myself some time to tour and establish this new way of working during the next couple of years. I don’t think I will be able to release 21 songs in one year again, but the plan is to be able to release something once a year, at least.
You’ve been creating and releasing music since you were a teenager, who’s inspired you over the course of your career?
Michael and Janet Jackson, Prince, TLC, Kate Bush, Notorious B.I.G., Neneh Cherry, Madonna, Snoop, Wu-Tang Clan…
Speaking of Snoop Dogg, you worked together on your Body Talk Pt. 2 track “You Should Know Better.”How did that come about?
We hooked up in LA to say “hi” after I put some vocals on a remix of his track “Sexual Eruption.” We just talked about music, and clicked, and decided it would be nice to do something proper together. We spent three days in a studio in LA six month after that, and recorded the vocals for “You Should Know Better” together.
You’ve worked with a slew of incredible talent over the course of Body Talk (Diplo, Snoop, Röyksopp, Kleerup), anyone else you have your eye on collaborating with?
Collaborating just happens sometimes when I meet people I like. I’m trying to educate myself in new house and techno producers at the moment. I’d like to know more about who’s doing what. It’s such an anonymous scene.
There’s so much personal experience in your music, a rarity in the pop field. Are there any tracks in particular that take on a more emotional meaning live?
Sometimes “With Every Heartbeat” gets to me on the stage. All songs I write are based on my own emotions.
On Body Talk Pt. 3 you work with Max Martin, who helped produce your first record. What was it like being back in the studio with him?
It was nostalgic to go back into the studio together. For me, it’s perfect timing — I’ve come full circle. It’s still all about the songs.
What was the last live show you went to?
I saw M.I.A at a festival in Finland this summer. It was good! Grace Jones in Stockholm a couple of years ago was glorious!
You’ve been touring like crazy — what’s a typical day on the road like for you?
Today, I’m in Portland. I’ve been to a yoga class, I’m in a laundromat/Internet café doing my laundry and checking emails, I’m going to sound check after this, then I’ll eat and start preparing for the show. We leave for Seattle tonight after the show!