It's been nearly 11 years since Swedish pop artist Robyn's infectious track "Show Me Love" soared its way up the U.S. singles chart. And while the dance track remains a club mainstay in the States, we've heard very little from the singer since then — but that doesn't mean she's stopped making music.
In fact, Robyn has been releasing material consistently overseas since 1995's Robyn Is Here. None of these efforts, including 1999's My Truth, 2002's Don't Stop the Music and 2005's Robyn, were ever issued in America. But on April 29, her self-titled album will finally land in record shops all across America.
"It's almost, to the date, 10 years ago when I came here with my first album, and I didn't expect people to still follow what I do," Robyn told MTV News. "But the album is three years old, and it's made its way over here by the Internet, and there is still a crowd that is totally into what I'm doing, which is cool."
After parting ways with her record label and management, Robyn said she was able to make "the album I really wanted to make, without any compromises." But she didn't expect the kind of response Robyn has been met with. "I didn't think about who was going to listen to it," she said. "But it found its way to a lot of people — a lot of different people. That's what [is] so cool when I play live. It's all ages, it's all cultures, all sexualities, and it's very diverse. That's how I like it."
Free from the restrictions and demands of a major label, Robyn was able to self-release the set through her own label, Konichiwa Records. The critically hailed effort marked a subtle change in Robyn's style, as it featured both synth-pop and electronic dance tunes, some inspired by electronic duo the Knife and Swedish rockers Teddybears. Although he's not credited in the album's liner notes, Timbaland helped produce some of the album's tracks.
Robyn never imagined she'd be able to release the album in the U.S. until last year, when she inked a North American distribution deal with Interscope Records. The deal came with one condition — that she work with a rapper, to accentuate its hip-hop elements. And she did just that on "Sexual Eruption," a remix of Snoop Dogg's "Sensual Seduction."
"They just wanted me to do something with a rapper," Robyn said. "And I said, 'Just don't put me together with any of those silly, silly wannabe gangsters. Put me with Method Man or Snoop or someone that's real.' Then this suggestion came up. Snoop was releasing his new single, and there was a remix to be done, and I put some vocals on it in Stockholm [Sweden], and two days later, my little sister calls me and says, 'That track, it's on the radio. ... Can you get it to me?' And I was just amazed that my little sister was listening to Snoop and that I was on that track with him, and he's an artist that I've been listening to since I was her age. I haven't met [Snoop], but I did see an e-mail where his comment was, 'This sh-- is retarded.' I took that as a compliment."
With the arrival of Robyn comes a brief tour in the U.S., which gets under way April 29 in Boston. Ten dates have been booked, with shows in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles. But can longtime fans expect Robyn to play her earliest material when she performs live?
"I didn't ever feel like I had to disconnect myself from my past albums" she said. "I feel like they're all a part of me. And I know that I could start at my record label without those 10 years of experience. I think now I'm at a place where I don't have to conform to the concept of pop music anymore. I can make the kind of music that I think is pop music, but that doesn't mean that my first album doesn't have a place in my heart. I think that there's a lot of songs on my earlier albums that I could still do. I still play them live, and I still feel connected to them. 'Show Me Love,' for example, is a song I do live, and it's a good song, so you could do anything with it. We changed it up, and it's one of the highlights of the evening, especially here in the States. It's special, because so many people here know it."