Robyn Massages Her Tongue Before Gigs, and Other Tidbits From Her iheartradio Show

Alex Catarinella

As you should know by now, we're big Robyn fans here at PAPERMAG. So we obviously rushed over to the dance the night away at her exclusive performance last presented by iheartradio at the intimate P.C. Richard & Son Theater in Tribeca. Despite the venue being on the hot side, Robyn, rocking lots of blue eyeliner and blue hair, killed it. Songs ranged from a stripped down version of her '90s bubblegum pop hit "Show Me Love", a lovely cover of Alicia Key's "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart" and crowd favorites "With Every Heartbeat" and "Dancing on my Own." But Robyn certainly wasn't dancing on her own last night, as the crowd, a mix of music industry types and lucky fans, swayed along to the songs. We chatted with the unassuming and all-smiles Robyn outside while she was on a smoke break.

My fellow gays were fighting like wild animals for tickets to come with me today. Do you think it's safe to say that the gays have embraced you?

 I think I've always had a huge gay following ever since I was a little kid. It's nice, it's really, really nice. It's one of those things I think as an artist, you're very lucky if you get that audience because they give really good support. I always feel like an outsider and I write songs about that all the time and I think that's something that defines gay culture in a lot of ways. Even when I write love songs, it's from an [unrequited] perspective and I think that people in that community connect to that.

How have you seen pop music change since "Show Me Love" came out in 1997.
I think pop music is doing good, I think it's a really good time -- when a lot of female artists are doing pop music, but in their own way. And it creates a more interesting environment to create music in. People always wanna talk about, you know, the competition and all of that stuff, but for me, it's not really about that at all. I think it's good that there is finally a place in pop music history where you can actually do something on your own and there's lots of girls doing that -- I think there's space for everyone.

So you don't feel as though you're competing with the other women of pop.
No, I don't. I really don't. I'm happy that some of the girls are taking the lead and I can do what I like in the background.

Now that you're finally blowing up in America, do you feel as though you're experiencing "fame" from a different perspective being a bit older than the other 16-year-old pop tarts?
I'm older and wiser. (laughs) I'm at a place where I know what I wanna do, where I'm really enjoying myself and I'm not feeling any pressure -- I'm not doing it to sell a lot of records, I'm doing it for myself because I think it's fun. I hope that comes through. That's what I try to communicate. I think this whole album is about trying to do something that feels authentic and organic and real.

You let fans see a more intimate side of your touring life in your "Hang With Me" video, the first single off Body Talk Pt 2. Why did you go this direction for the video? 
I'm on tour so I wanted people to know that, to see what the live show is for me and what I'm doing. When I made this album, it was from that perspective -- imagining being on stage and playing the songs live. I thought "Hang With Me" is such a pretty song and I didn't know how to perform that without getting over exaggerated. That stuff (in the video) could be going on in my head while I'm touring, it's really the truth. I wanted to show people what I'm doing and do it in a nice way that fit the song. I'm really, really happy with the video.

You've talked a lot about how each album is organic and created while on the hectic tour schedule. What's inspiring you the most on tour? What can we expect from Body Talk Pt. 23?
What has inspired me throughout this whole album -- and still is inspiring --  is club culture and being on tour and performing with the band and people's energy. When people come to my shows, I want them to feel that it's real and that there's a connection to the music and to go out there and dance and just enjoy yourself. Connect to yourself -- I think that's what's inspiring to me.

There only seem to be some water bottles and pasta backstage. No insane diva tour riders yet?
I'm so not crazy, that's what's crazy about me I guess. I'm like super easy. Cigarettes are good, and some water and veggies.

How do you prep before hitting the stage?
I massage my tongue... that's a little crazy. It's what keeps my voice going.

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