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Robin Miriam Carlsson (born 12 June 1979), better known by her stage name Robyn, is a Swedish recording artist. Robyn became known in the late nineties for her worldwide dance-pop hit "Do You Know (What It Takes)" from her debut album Robyn Is Here (1997). The popularity of her U.K. #1 song "With Every Heartbeat" and subsequent international album release Robyn (2005) in 2007 brought her mainstream success worldwide.[according to whom?] Robyn released the first of a trilogy of albums to be released over the course of 2010 titled Body Talk Pt. 1, in June of that year, peaking at number one. It was her first album since Robyn. The album's lead single "Dancing on My Own" was released a few weeks prior to the album's release; it became a hit single worldwide and brought her a Grammy Award nomination for the category of Best Dance Recording in 2011. A follow-up album, Body Talk Pt. 2, was released on 6 September, entering straight at number one on the Swedish chart, and the final album of the trilogy, Body Talk, was released on 22 November 2010 with lead single "Indestructible". "Call Your Girlfriend" was the second single to be released from Body Talk. Robyn is a soprano.
1989–1993: Career beginnings
Robyn voiced the character Miranda in the 1989 Swedish-Norwegian animated film The Journey to Melonia. The film, directed by Per Åhlin, is very loosely based on William Shakespeare's The Tempest. She also did the Swedish voice of Anne-Marie in All Dogs Go to Heaven. In 1991, at the age of twelve, Robyn recorded the theme song for the Swedish television show Lilla Sportspegeln, named Du kan alltid bli nummer ett ("You can always be number one"). She performed her first self-written song[clarification needed] at this age on another television show, Söndagsöppet. Robyn was rediscovered by Swedish pop singer Meja in the early nineties. Meja and her band Legacy of Sound visited Robyn's school and were involved with a musical workshop. Robyn's performances impressed Meja so much so that she contacted her management and a meeting was arranged with Robyn and her parents. Following the completion of her middle school education, Robyn signed to Ricochet Records Sweden, a subsidiary of BMG. She collaborated with producers Max Martin and Denniz Pop, who provided the singer with a gritty yet popular sound. Writing duties were assisted by Ulf Lindstrom and Johan Ekhé, who also helped to produce the album, and they stayed on board with Robyn until the completion of her album Don't Stop the Music in 2003.
1994–97: Robyn Is Here
Robyn started her career in the pop music industry at the age of sixteen. She signed a record deal with RCA Records in 1994 to release her debut single, "You've Got That Somethin'", in Sweden. Later that same year, her Swedish breakthrough came with the single "Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)". These singles became part of the album Robyn Is Here, released in October 1996. Robyn contributed vocals to Blacknuss's 1996 single "Roll with Me." Robyn entered Sweden's pre-selection for Eurovision Song Contest 1997, as co-writer and producer of the song "Du gör mig hel igen," which was performed by Cajsalisa Ejemyr. In Melodifestivalen 1997 the song ended up in fourth place.
Robyn's US breakthrough came in 1997, when the dance-pop singles "Show Me Love" and "Do You Know (What It Takes)" reached the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100. She performed on the children's show All That in 1997, singing "Show Me Love," proving her growing popularity in the United States. The songs also performed well in the UK. Robyn re-released "Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)" internationally but it did not fare as well as the other releases. In the US, it was ineligible to chart because there was no retail single available, but it reached number thirty-two on the Hot 100 Airplay chart. The song "Show Me Love" was prominently used in the 1998 Lukas Moodysson film Fucking Åmål, and the song's title was used as the film's title in English-speaking countries. As Robyn's popularity grew across the globe, especially in the United States, she was diagnosed with exhaustion and quickly returned to Sweden to recover.
1998–04: My Truth and Don't Stop the Music
Recording began on Robyn's second album in 1998. The album, My Truth, was released in May 1999 in Sweden, with subsequent releases elsewhere in the continent. The single "Electric" was a hit across Europe and propelled My Truth to number two position in Sweden. My Truth was an autobiographical release for Robyn and included the tracks "Universal Woman" and "Giving You Back". Despite her success in the US market with Robyn Is Here, My Truth did not receive an international release. In 1999, Robyn contributed to Christian Falk's debut solo album Quel Bordel, appearing on the tracks "Remember" and "Celebration." In 2000, she appeared on the track "Intro/Fristil" on Petter's self-titled album. In 2001, Robyn performed the song "Say You'll Walk the Distance" to the soundtrack for the film On the Line.
In November 2002, Robyn swapped labels at BMG (from RCA to Jive Records) and released the album Don't Stop the Music in Sweden. Singles "Keep This Fire Burning" and "Don't Stop the Music" graced playlists in Scandinavia and mainland Europe. The title track (a subsequent single) was later covered by Swedish girl group Play, and the lead single, "Keep This Fire Burning," was covered by British soul singer Beverley Knight. In May 2004, the album Robyn's Best was released in America. It is essentially a condensed version of her debut album; containing no material from her later releases. In 2006, following her departure from BMG, Det Bästa Med Robyn (The Best of Robyn) was released in Sweden. It included material from her first three albums. Notable omissions from this release were the singles "Don't Stop the Music" and "Keep This Fire Burning".
2005–08: Konichiwa Records and Robyn
The decade-long relationship between Robyn and her label ceased in 2004. When they reacted negatively to "Who's That Girl?", which showcased a new electro-pop sound, Robyn decided to release music on her own. In early 2005, she announced she would be leaving Jive Records to start her own record label. Konichiwa Records was created, with its aim firmly set on liberating Robyn artistically. Robyn revealed on her website that her new album would be released earlier than anticipated, and noted several fabled collaborators on the album, including Klas Åhlund from Teddybears STHLM, Swedish duo The Knife and former Cheiron producer Alexander Kronlund.
Robyn released the single "Be Mine!" in March 2005. A month later, her fourth studio album, Robyn, became her first number-one album upon its release in Sweden. Sampling influences from electronica, rap, R&B and new age, Robyn received rave reviews, and gained the singer three Swedish Grammy Awards in 2006 for "Årets Album" (Best Album), "Årets Kompositör" (Best Writer, alongside Klas Åhlund) and "Årets Pop Kvinnlig" (Best Pop Female). It also garnered Robyn interest on a global level. She gained recognition for co-writing the song "Money for Nothing" for Darin Zanyar, his debut single. Robyn released three more singles—"Who's That Girl?", "Handle Me" and "Crash and Burn Girl"—from the eponymous LP, which proved immensely popular in Sweden. Robyn featured on the Basement Jaxx track "Hey U", taken from their album Crazy Itch Radio, released in 2006. The year also marked the release of Christian Falk's second album, People Say, on which Robyn contributed the tracks "Dream On" and "C.C.C". In December 2006, Robyn released The Rakamonie EP in the UK as a preview to her more recent material. This was followed by the release of "Konichiwa Bitches" in March 2007. The revised edition of Robyn was released in the UK in April 2007, and contains two new tracks—"With Every Heartbeat" (a collaboration with Kleerup) and "Cobrastyle" (a cover of a 2006 single by Swedish rockers Teddybears)—alongside slightly altered versions of two of the original songs. It was removed from British stores to make way for an August re-release.
The second single from the UK release was "With Every Heartbeat", released in late July and reached number one on the UK singles chart. Robyn was featured on Jo Whiley's BBC Radio 1 showcase show, Live Lounge, a reflection of her growing popularity in Britain. Follow-up singles "Handle Me", "Be Mine!", "Who's That Girl?" and "Dream On" were top thirty hits. In Australia, where Robyn reached the top ten of the iTunes Store's album chart, "With Every Heartbeat" receiving substantial attention on radio and video networks in Australia. Also in 2007, Robyn contributed vocals to Fleshquartet's single "This One's for You", from their album Voices of Eden. Konichiwa Records signed an international licensing deal with Universal Music Group to launch and distribute Robyn's music globally. Releases in the UK are issued under the Island Records label. The Rakamonie EP was released in January 2008 under Cherrytree Records, a subsidiary of Interscope, and the US edition of Robyn was released in April 2008. "With Every Heartbeat", "Handle Me" and "Cobrastyle" were top ten club hits, and the former received airplay at US pop and dance radio stations. Robyn was visible in the US market in 2007 when Britney Spears released the single "Piece of Me", which contains Robyn's backing vocals. She was also featured on the Fyre Department remix of "Sexual Eruption" by rapper Snoop Dogg. Robyn completed a short US tour to promote Robyn, and was the supporting act for Madonna's Sticky & Sweet Tour at select European dates in 2008.
2009–present: Body Talk and new music
In January 2009, Robyn won a Swedish Grammis Award for Best Live Act 2008; in her acceptance speech, she said that Madonna was to thank for the prize. Robyn stated to Aftonbladet, a Swedish newspaper site, that she wanted to start recording a new album in the beginning of 2009 and that she will work with producers such as Kleerup ("With Every Heartbeat") as well as Klas Åhlund who she worked with on Robyn. Robyn is featured on Norway's premier electronic outfit Röyksopp's 2009 album Junior with the song "The Girl and the Robot". The song was accompanied by a music video featuring the artist and released internationally as the 2nd single from the album. It peaked at No.2 on the Norwegian singles charts. In 2009, she appeared together with International pop artist Dr. Alban on stage at Way Out West 2009, performing his hit single, "No Coke".
In March 2010 Robyn appeared on the Swedish television series Dom kallar oss artister. She said that her goal is to have the new album out in June. She also said that the album will be very personal, like a diary. The track listing was confirmed, including: "Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do" which is written by Robyn and Klas Åhlund, "None of Them" with Röyksopp, "Dance Hall Queen" with Diplo, "Fembot" and "Dancing on My Own", written by Robyn and Patrik Berger (music producer). In an interview with Swedish magazine Bon, Robyn announced that she had plans to release three new albums in 2010. The first is due in the spring, with subsequent albums released in the summer and autumn/winter. In May Robyn said in an interview with Stereogum, "I think this splitting a full album up into different releases is, in a way, how people listen to music as well. It's more about songs now. But for me this is not an EP or a lesser version of an album. It's an album, but it's maybe not the normal length, so I can go back to the studio again and release these songs while they're actually fresh, and go back to the studio and work on more stuff while touring." To promote the forthcoming album Robyn released the songs "Fembot", "Dancehall Queen" and "None of Dem" (featuring Röyksopp) to digital outlets as promotional singles on 13 April 2010.
Robyn released the first part in the Body Talk series, Body Talk Pt. 1, on 14 June 2010 in the Nordic countries through EMI and on 15 June in the US through Interscope. It was preceded by the single, "Dancing on My Own", on 1 June 2010. The song became Robyn's first number one hit in Sweden, and her fourth top ten hit in both the UK and the US, peaking at number eight on the UK Singles Chart and at number three on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs chart. In July 2010 she sang a minimalist electro cover of Alicia Keys' "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart" for a live performance on iheartradio. Robyn embarked on the All Hearts Tour in July–August 2010 with American singer Kelis in support of the Body Talk albums, as well as a four-date UK tour at the end of October.
On 6 September 2010 Body Talk Pt. 2 was released in the United Kingdom. It was preceded by the lead single, a dance version of the song "Hang with Me" from Body Talk Pt. 1, on 5 September. The album contains a duet with American rapper Snoop Dogg, "U Should Know Better". Robyn appeared and performed "Dancing on My Own" with deadmau5 at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards on 12 September 2010. In an interview with BBC Newsbeat Robyn reflected on the decision to release a trilogy of albums in one year, "It was just something I felt like I needed to do. I just never thought about selling records or not, making this decision. I just did it for myself. It's a way of, for me, to stay inspired and to be able to do the things I like to do." She said she will not release three albums in the span of a year again, "When you do 16 or 13 songs in one go, you kind of empty yourself, and it takes a while to fill back up and have new things to talk about, so I think it's good for everyone."
Robyn announced the release of the single, "Indestructible", on 13 October 2010. An acoustic version appeared on her previous album, Body Talk Pt. 2. The song is set to be released on 17 November 2010 in Scandinavia and on 22 November in the United Kingdom. It is co-written by Klas Åhlund, and has been described as a "pulsating full power version [that] takes every ounce of that emotion and wraps it up in another exceptional disco-pop record worthy of any dance-floor or passion-laden sing-a-long." On 20 October 2010 Robyn announced the details of Body Talk on her official website, along with the track listing and artwork. She described the album as the "turbo version of the Body Talk album", as it includes five songs from each previous Body Talk album along with five new songs." Robyn will collaborate with Swedish producer Max Martin on the song "Time Machine". Martin was responsible for producing Robyn's US breakthrough hits "Do You Know (What It Takes)" and "Show Me Love", which both charted inside the top ten of the Billboard 100 in 1996 and 1997. Combined, the Body Talk albums have sold 91,000 copies in the United States.
In 2010, Robyn guest-starred in "War at the Roses", an episode which was on Gossip Girl, where she performed the acoustic version of "Hang With Me". "Dancing on My Own" was also featured at the end of the episode. In a November 2010 video interview with Perez Hilton, Robyn revealed that she was returning to the studio in January 2011, and had enough material to release a new album later in the year. Robyn has been a supporting act for Katy Perry's "California Dreams tour" in the US, summer 2011. On 10 December 2011, Robyn was featured as the musical guest on the episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Katy Perry, where she performed Call Your Girlfriend and Dancing On My Own. On 14 January 2012, Robyn tweeted: "There's nothing like a good kick drum. #inthestudio with @styleofeye and Patrik Berger", indicating that she is working on new material. Robyn supported Coldplay in their 2012 tour. She was the opening act in Dallas, Houston, Tampa, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. On 11 June 2013, Robyn was featured with the Lonely Island, Paul Rudd, and Sean Combs in "Go Kindergarten" on Lonely Island's new album The Wack Album.
On midsummer eve in June 2013 Robyn released a special video project, for the Snoop Dogg collaboration "U Should Know Better", together video long time collaborator Decida and the 2FACED1 collective. It consisted of two videos, "U Should Know Better" and "Behind The Scenes", and a game, Mixory. The music video, directed by Decida, was nominated at UK Music Video Music Awards for Best International Pop Video 2013
In 2013, Robyn has been honoured with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm's Great Prize for her "artistic contributions and embrace of technology". She has won 1.2 million Swedish kronor (£117,197), which she will be donating to a cause of her choosing.
For 2014, Robyn announced her tour with Röyksopp, the Do It Again Tour. She also indicated that she was recording new music with the band. Robyn is featured on Neneh Cherry's "Out of the Black", from the album Blank Project.
The daughter of two Swedish actors, Wilhelm Carlsson and Maria Ericson, Robyn grew up in a creative and artistic environment; she became involved in acting at the age of 9, with a role as an extra in Kronbruden at the Swedish theatre Dramaten. Robyn has one brother, Jac, and one sister, Effie.
After the release of her second album in 1999, My Truth, Robyn became a UNICEF ambassador and visited, among other countries, Kenya and Tanzania. During her two years of dedicating herself to this work, she intended to draw attention to UNICEF and their worldwide work for children in need of aid. In 2000, Povel Ramel awarded her the Karamelodiktstipendiet, a scholarship for her musical achievements for which most of the reward lies in the prestige and honour, rather than financial incentives.
She was engaged to mixed martial artist and artist Olof Inger until 2011. The couple started dating in 2003.
She has since become engaged to videographer Max Vitali, referring to him in a 2013 interview with Collection Of Style magazine as her fiancé. "We became friends when we made the video for 'Be Mine'," she explained, "and now we work together a lot. He made all the videos for the last album (Body Talk)."