As a child, Robyn spent a good chunk of time touring with her parents' experimental theater group—an experience that ignited one of the more unusual trajectories in modern pop. Discovered performing at a school assembly, Robyn (born Robin Miriam Carlsson in Stockholm in 1979) launched her professional career at 15, cowriting every song on 1995's Robyn Is Here, including "Show Me Love" and "Do You Know (What It Takes)," both of which crossed over outside Sweden and made her a genuine if somewhat reluctant star. Burned by the conservatism of the industry (especially when it came to the treatment of young women), she left her label in the early 2000s in order to start her own—a move that essentially set her back to square one, but also made her an emblem of independence at a time when pop, as a sound, was beginning to split from the conventions of the business. Working slowly, deliberately, and with a small circle of collaborators (including Klas Ã…hlund of Teddybears and Joseph Mount of Metronomy), she helped redefine pop as something that could be cool and almost boutique, releasing a string of singles and EPs (including 2010's Body Talk series) by turns vulnerable and empowering, triumphant and deeply bittersweet—bangers you could weep to. After taking a nearly eight-year-long break from releasing solo music (a gamble almost unheard-of for a pop artist in their prime), Robyn returned in 2018 with Honey, recasting loss—romantic and personal—as the fire in which strong hearts are forged. "I wish everyone could have a fan club that would just cheer them on and root for them," she told Apple Music. "What if you have people on your Instagram, texting you, 'Yeah, I'm so excited you're going to work!'" It was a joke, of course, but the sentiment—bringing the rush of pop to a human scale—is one she built a career on.
BORNJune 12, 1979