December 16, 2019

Robyn

swedish icon

Photography Märta Thinner

Interview Hanna Frelin

Stylist Naomi Itkes

Make up artist Linda Öhrström

Hair Francisco Ballesteros

When watching an interview with Robyn from 1990 I see this blond little girl siting in a chair. The woman interviewing her is seemingly impressed by just the little girls ability to speak, write and sing in English. Robyn almost shrugs her shoulder, raises her eye-brows and says “so what?” She is 11 years old.

H

Robyn, you were so young during your break through. How did that affect you as a person?

R

For me, the worst thing about being famous early in life was that it affected the way I made new friends, though it’s something I’ve sorted out later in life. Being famous made me shy and insecure and somehow self-aware in a way I find uncomfortable. But I believe all humans feel that way sometimes. There are pros and cons. I also received a lot of experience by traveling and working and I early became financially independent.

" Along with recognition, comes the question of what you are doing it for. It might not matter, but is it because you love the work yourself or is it because you love people loving you?"

H

Since you were so young. How have you made sure not to lose yourself, both as an artist and a person?

R

That’s hard. Or well, especially it might be uncomfortable to always have the strength to question yourself. But, paradoxically, I think that’s been my strategy to always feel grounded. I’ve had people around me to look up too and certain relationships that has been reflecting me in an intelligent way. That is important to me. And then I’ve done psychoanalysis.

 

I was about the same age as that blond little girl the first time I saw Robyn live. Robyn was an adult by that time. Me and my best friend saw her on stage in Stockholm – a concert our fathers took us to. In the audience we also met our teachers from school. We were at the same concert, experiencing completely different things. The music isn’t for anyone special, it just is – and that makes it timeless in a way you can never outgrow it. No matter age or state in life it seems everyone has their own relation to Robyn.

 

H

You have been with us as an artist for so long. How do you make sure to stay relevant?

R

By a constant development of my expression. You need to find a way to work that feels meaningful. Even though I can definitely admit I partake in it sometimes as well, I’m not a fan of nostalgia if it’s just repeating something that has already been done. By that I don’t mean I have done something completely new, or even remotely new, but I’m always curious. And that might be useful for someone else and at the same time fun for me while doing it.

H

Your persona, your style, your music and the story you tell means a lot to your fans. How have you found just what character you are as an artist?

R

It has just become over time. Sometimes because I haven’t known better and sometimes because I’ve wanted to create something out of a specific experience or feeling. I like melodies and rhythms. I try to always make sure I’m hypnotized by the rhythm while I sing. The one you become as an artist or the things you write about are only fragments of reality. Kind of like a photo, it’s just a square of someone’s life. But through that square you can begin to see things. Like little treasures. I believe it’s a simple version of life; we can understand some things about each other, but really we don’t know that much about the world or ourselves.

" The fragments of life. Is this how we also stay relevant? Never letting anyone see the whole picture. Full disclosure is never interesting, is it?"

H

Last of I need to know. If you could give yourself an advice as a young artist, what would that be?

R

You can always do more than you think without it being too much.