Pop music is often seen as disposable and inconsequential but there are certain artists who cannot simply be dismissed as throwaway. In spite of the huge success they enjoy, some still command admiration and respect. Having tasted worldwide success a decade ago, Swedish singer, songwriter and now label owner, Robyn, is enjoying a second bite of the cherry and helping champion credible pop music in the process. “I think pop music to a lot of people means bad music nowadays,” she says. “To me it means music that handles the present time in a way that people can relate to.”
Her UK number one this summer, ‘With Every Heartbeat’, and eponymous album have already proved that shifting units doesn’t always involve selling your soul piece by piece. The organic way the single’s success came about should also hearten the cynics. “In that sense it was a real hit,” says Robyn. “It was a real thing that just happened by itself.”
…swings from hip-hop attitude to heartfelt balladry
The 28-year-old’s current success is borne of ten years of experience within an industry that isn’t renowned for placing artistic freedom over cash returns. Which is why Robyn – full name Robin Carlsson – took the unusual step of buying herself out of her old major label contract and set up her very own Konichiwa Records two years ago. “I felt that I was always compromising,” she explains.
What is actually her fourth album swings from hip-hop attitude to heartfelt balladry to energetic, synthpop melancholy while echoing female solo artists such as Kate Bush, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. I wanted to make an album that wasn’t over-produced,” says Robyn. “A simple album that had good songs and let the good songs come through instead of over-producing and hiding them behind a sound you know? But I think what also happened was that the sound became very in your face.”
Having already consolidated ‘With Every Heartbeat’ with another hit, ‘Handle Me’, further chart success should be ensured by the imminent release of the memorable, string-led ‘Be Mine!’. “To get one chance is crazy, to get a second is like, unheard of,” laughs Robyn. She’s certainly earned it.