Robyn isn't your usual popstar. She'd probably forgive you for saying she's not jaw droppingly beautiful, but that's not the point. Robyn's debut is a perfect pop record. In the days before Britney, critics were hailing this girl as the next best thing. And it's not hard to see why.
See this girl has got talent. She's responsible for the insanely catchy 'Show Me Love' and 'Do You Know (What It Takes)', but it's not just the melodies which get you hooked. It's her voice! Semi-angelic, semi-Soul singer, Robyn's a hybrid popstar. Soul music from Sweden? You gotta hear it to believe it...
Robyn was signed up to RCA records (now BMG) back in '95, when singer Meja heard Robyn perform in a school production. After travelling around Europe as a child, Robyn had written many songs which would eventually be recorded for her debut, 'Robyn Is Here'. This is where the fun starts...Robyn's management linked her up with Cheiron Productions, the powerhouse responsible for many of Backstreet Boys and (later) Britney Spears' hits.
Along with writers, Lindstrom, Ekhe, Max Martin and Denniz Pop, the funk laden debut Robyn is Here blended soul, R&B and pop effortlessly in an album completely void of filler! From the blisteringly refreshing intro Bumpy Ride, Robyn exudes that kind of maturity you just wouldnt expect from a teenager. Ok, so the themes can seem kind of clichéd theres the usual pop fodder, break ups (Just Another Girlfriend), friends (Robyn is Here), and of course love (Show Me Love etc) . . but its executed so beautifully that it leaves many other pop albums in the shade . . ten years on!
After initially releasing the album in Sweden, Robyn reached immediate success. Her first singles, Do You Know What It Takes, Show Me Love and Do You Really Want Me were hugely successful, as was the LP. Crossing the Atlantic into the American charts is normally a feat achieved by on the finest of the pop elite; and Robyn was no exception. Her first singles both reached #1 on the US Billboard chart, which many more famous acts have yet to imitate. Yet you probably cant remember who she is! Robyn even gained two top 20 hits in the UK without any promotion!
Robyn was about to embark on her biggest break yet touring with the U.S uber boyband the Backstreet Boys. But following a gruelling schedule, Robyn was diagnosed with extreme exhaustion, after which she promptly returned to Sweden to rest.
Critics were dumbfounded by Robyns sudden disappearance. But they were soon lapping up the latest teen sensation Britney, whose girl next door looks soon erased any memory of the talented Robyn! Britney even stole Robyns producers, although the result vocally is less impressive!
A year passed, and Robyn embarked writing her new album. The flow that was Robyn's trademark on her first release has been subtly refined on "My Truth". She calls again on the assistance of in-demand Swedish producers producers Ulf Lindstrom & Johan Ekhe who worked with her on her debut release. Their collaborations with Robyn here include "Electric", the smash single released in Scandinavia and "Play", another classic on which Robyn reminds us how to simply enjoy life.
Robyn also experimented with new producers with incredible result. Working with singer/songwriter Billy Mann (Carole King, Chaka Khan and Diana King), Robyn developed a softer, more acoustic side in the mould of songs such as "Monday Morning", and extraordinary depth in the mesmerising "Underneath The Heart".
In their other collaborations ("My Only Reason", "Not On The Inside", "88 Days") Robyn shows she has always been one step ahead of the game fusing flavours and influences with positive lyrics and heartfelt emotions into her own unique interpretation. From collaborations with Gonzalez (Main Thing) and Boynton (Giving You Back), Robyn explored a variety of musical genres from chillout, deep-house to funk. Robyn wasnt just here, she was here to stay.
But crushingly, her label bosses didnt feel the album was suitable for an international release. Outside of Europe My Truth was never released, despite ongoing promises from her record label that shed be back in the States. Professionally, Robyn was regarded as at the top of her game, but commercially she was stunted. Her new album was just too diverse for American tastes, according to BMG. Ironically, sales of My Truth in Sweden soon surpassed those of her debut, and it made a fantastic return for the label!
With the promo for My Truth over, Robyn turned her sights to her new album. Signing a new three album deal with BMG subsidiary Jive Records (home to Britney and numerous global acts), the plan was for Robyn to go worldwide once more. Writers Johan Ekhe and Ulf Lindstrom were once again invited to join the party, alongside hitmaker Remee (responsible for Jamelias Superstar), Alexander Kronlund (N Sync, Britney, Lambretta), Max Martin and Guy Sigsworth. The result was astonishing, and showed that Robyn could effortlessly pull off contemporary R&B, Funk, Dance, Pop, New Age and Soul in one record, without it sounding like a rummage through your local Oxfam!
The album was spearheaded with the release of Keep This Fire Burning (in my opinion Robyns finest track to date), which is what can only described as when Brandy met Royksopp! Pure bliss. It was a classic return to the upper realms of the charts once more as Robyn hit the top spot in Sweden (and has since been covered with a stronger baseline, by Brit soul star Beverley Knight). With Robyn's third opus now titled, Dont Stop The Music was soon released. The second single to hit the charts, title-track Dont Stop The Music, was another smash and was intended to be Robyns comeback track in the States. Well that was the intention...
From Blow My Mind to Big City, Dont Stop The Music is commercial yet credible, and Robyns choice of collaborator enabled her to become to sustain her massive reputation for innovating! Once the promo was finished in Sweden, the plan was to release in the U.S. However, after her record label sent her to record additional tracks for the LP more desirable for U.S radio, Robyn was less than satisfied the results, and felt the burden of her record label increasingly suffocating.
With Robyn absent from the press, rumours began to circulate that all was not well with Ms Carlsson and Jive. In Winter 2004, Robyn announced she had cut her contract with Jive Records, and created her own record label. Konichiwa Records (Konichiwa meaning Have a good day in Japanese) was established and Robyns new album was dated for Summer 2005. Robyn cited 'creative differences' and 'less freedom as an artist' as reasons for leaving BMG.
Surprisingly, Robyns self titled opus, Robyn was completed earlier than expected and released in April this year. The first single Be Mine, a collaboration with Teddybears STHLMs Klas Ahlund, gained Robyn her third #1 in Sweden, and gave Robyn a more raw and acoustic sound! Yet again cementing Robyns amazing ability to craft irresistibly catchy tunes. A first for Robyn, her fourth album reached #1 in the Swedish charts! From the brash Handle Me to the groove classic Crash & Burn Girl, Robyns once more ready to crack the States. But it's one the album close 'Anytime You Like' where Robyn really shines. Her vocals so delicate, you can feel the emotion. Whimsical and remarkable, 'Robyn' is undoubtedly Robyn's biggest notch on the bedpost. She teams up with Kronlund once again on 'Who's That Girl', which just oozes star quality. Fearsome and addictive, Robyn makes an offer you just can't refuse. Once again labelled as Swedens number one popstar, Robyn shows no signs of giving up the game. Its in her blood!
I remember listening to show me love on the radio when it first came out. It was pretty successful as anyone who follows Robyn would know, so it's probably no surprise that I liked it. However, it is intersting that recently I've been interested in her music again. Actually, I do believe it is because Show Me Love was on the radio. I find that her music is great, but with reason: I still feel the edgy(if that's a good word to use) and uplifting as it had been in the past. I really believe that her music lifts me up when I am down as I was for a short period of time recently......Thank goodness for Kazaa, I download some of her tracks just to listen to them again....some for the first time. Some of you may think, I suck or am being a jerk, but I'm actually now going to buy the CD because I really like her music....so I'm actually using the P2P for it's propose intentions (although sometimes I believe that the software companies use this as a reason to rationalize the piracy)....Anyways, it's pretty cool that there was such a recent post of Robyn...and good to hear that she is still around the music business......but Ashanti......I can't really see the similarity :) but I guess everyone's hears music differently.
You are probably saying "Who?" Maybe you remember her one hit in the UK, the 1996 single "Show me love". That was all I knew of her too. UK radio stations never played anything else by her and so she became the proverbial one-hit wonder. I was rummaging through a box of CDs at a motorway services last year and came across her first album, "Robyn is here", for the princely sum of £1.67. Thought I, if "Show me love" is the only decent track on the album it's worth £1.67. So I bought it. I have personal CD player connected up in my car so I put the CD in and set off on the long journey home. The CD didn't come off the player for the next 4 months. It is brilliant. Every track is superb. I especially love the sequence of tracks 4, 5 and 6, "Do you know what it takes", "The last time" and "Show me love" which go together in contrast and sympathy so well. I found out a bit more about her and it turns out that she is a huge star everywhere else in the world except the UK. That I put down to the reluctance of UK radio stations to play her songs. She is the number one artist in Scandanavia and especially in her home country of Sweden. She's also big in the States. I discovered that she had produced a second album, "My truth" but could I find a copy in the UK? Could I hell. I only got a copy because I was in Sweden on business and made sure I brought a copy back with me. It is just as good as the first album. I played it all the way home on the plane and it swaps with her first in my car now. Apart from the excellent title track it also contains "Electric", which was a big hit all over the continent. I just love Robyn's music. Whether or not she will tour here in the UK is doubtful in the light of her lack of radio play. I hope she does. In the
meantime, try and track down her music. I'm sure you will love her as much as I do. She has now replaced Annie Lennox as my all time number one female artist. Sorry, Annie, I still love your music too. To find out more about Robyn you can visit her website at http://www.lifeline.se/robyn. Updated - 4/7/2002 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I have just a single "Foolish" by a new artist, well new to me - Ashanti. I just could not believe how like Robyn's songs it is. I had to check to make sure it hadn't actually been written by her. If you like Ashanti you'll love Robyn. Updated - 7/3/2003 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Robyn is back!!!!!!!!! I have discovered that she has a new album out, "Don't Stop the Music" - BMG Sweden. It was releaased in Nov 2002 but I've only just found out about it. The problem is that it is not released in the UK! No, I don't know why. I had to order it from a Danish website www.cdskiven.dk, in Danish, which was a challenge! Still, it's arrived and it's brilliant, as I would have expected. Robyn has a brand new website - www.robyn.com - and samples of the tracks are available there if you want to get a feel for the music. Beware track 5 - "Should Have Known" if you don't like strong language.