My Smoothie With Robyn
Robyn is back, bitches, and teenier than ever!
By Kate X Messer,
12:01PM, Fri. Mar. 14, 2008
(Robyn plays tonight at the Billboard showcase at Pangaea, 1am, then tomorrow at Perez Hilton's One Night in Austin.)
Truth be told, it wasn't my smoothie. Some nice woman brought it to the 29-year-old pop diva, and I was glad to see that she was taking care of herself on the road, because a few times during our interview I thought I might knock her over if I breathed too hard. She's so teeny! But I got over all that once we started talking, because Robyn is direct, Robyn is fierce, and Robyn is a badass. Any (somewhat) straight woman who can pull off a cover of Prince's "Jack U Off" and not neuter the original gender is A-OK in my book.
Here's her autobiographical theme song "Konichiwa Bitches."
"My crowd is queer," says Robyn. "It's mixed, gay and straight, old and not, some who know my hits, others who do not, some like the pop, some come for the lyrics I don't discriminate!"
Robyn had dancey, clubby, earnest made-for-teen-movie-soundtrack hits here in the states back in the late-Nineties when she was just a tot ("Do You Know What It Takes" and "Show Me Love"). Many mistook her for a one/two hit wonder. But she never went away. She simply kept working in Europe. But after major label shenanigans, etc., she started her own record label, Konichiwa and has been recording, remixing, and touring non-stop.
"I love it. There's no pressure. When I started my record label, I wanted to get back to having fun, to making music. I just want to do my thing. Some people remember my hits, some don't," she says both of her Nineties US hits as well as her club hits overseas. "My latest record, Robyn, is old in Sweden (2005), one year in the UK (2007), and just released here, so it's at so many different stages."
The savvy singer is set to take on dance divadom. There are about 527-and-a-half remix versions of her mega smash "Be Mine," like, one per genre. So her live shows can be very interesting. "It's a very rehearsed show," she says. "But we change it up. The set list changes a lot."
This was in evidence at her Filter Party sneak peek where she performed a few songs. The soundcheck delayed the set considerably (Welcome to SXSW!!!!!) but we were treated to a sparse and emotional "Be Mine" without click tracks. Her vocals range from Peaches-style rap-fed street urchin "whut?" to heart wrenching, heat-seeking surgical strikes, and she can turn it on a dime. Few artists can pull off juxtaposing "Jack U Off" with an a capella "Be Mine," as she did yesterday, and keep the audience rapt.
Robyn is set to takeover the U.S. just in time for our other regime change, about which she most certainly has opinions: "Europeans consume so much American culture. But these last eight years! It's felt like when you borrow your best friend's toy and you're like, 'Hey I let you borrow my toy, can I borrow yours?' We include you. We are not used to being so excluded.
"There has never been as thorough of coverage in Sweden of a U.S. election as there has been for this one. We are so excited for you. People in Europe can tell there is a movement, and we are happy for you! This is going to be a very interesting election."
And we bet by then, she will already have put herself on the throne.