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I Was A Teenage Superstar

Robyn Carlsson wrote her first songs aged 11 about her parents' divorce and being a girl and liking boys and stuff llke that. By the time she was 16 she was a Swedish pop sensation. Her 1997 smash hit "Show Me Love", produced by Max Martin, the...
January 1, 2007, 12:00am

Photo by Lena Modigh

Robyn Carlsson wrote her first songs aged 11 about her parents’ divorce and being a girl and liking boys and stuff llke that. By the time she was 16 she was a Swedish pop sensation. Her 1997 smash hit “Show Me Love”, produced by Max Martin, the songwriting svengali behind Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys, made her a household name not just at home and across Europe but in the US as well. The only place she didn’t find fame, it seems, was here in the UK. But that was then. Now 27, Robyn is trying to crack Britain with a new, self-titled album, her fourth, on her own label, Konichiwa, which means “hello” in Japanese. She bought herself out of her last major record deal and rebranded herself as this tough-talking pint-sized indie electro diva with a MySpace page and a useful hook-up with The Knife. The thing is, most of her album is pretty slushy and “mature”-sounding but there’s one amazingly dramatic disco track on it called “With Every Heartbeat” that just about saves the whole thing. Get her “Rakamonie EP” instead where she comes on like Julie Andrews covering DJ Assault. Listening to tracks such as “Cobrastyle” and “Konichiwa Bitches”, you can tell Robyn has done a lot more than most girls. Vice: How was it being super-famous at 16? Robyn: The celebrity thing wasn’t as crazy as it is now, that’s for sure. For a while people recognised me because of my success in America but outside Sweden nobody knows me so I have a lot of privacy. Sweden is a good country to be famous in because no one cares. People are more interested in American celebrities. So by the time you were 19 you must have been fairly wealthy? I’d made some money in the States, yes. I got off to a good start, definitely. Were your girl friends jealous of your success? Well, I didn’t have time to have friends actually. I was working so much, so I couldn’t hang out with my friends like I used to. But most of my friends were very supportive. I spent a lot of that time [the late 90s] being around people who weren’t my age. It wasn’t like a a loss of innocence, though, because I think I kept my innocence throughout. It was more like a loss of time in which to try stuff. It was all very serious. Any advice for girls today? To have fun, to do what you really want to do, and to keep yourselves in whatever area you really want to be in so that you have the knowledge to really stand on your own two feet. That’s what it’s all about—to get the knowledge about what you want to do to have fun. It’s really simple. THEYDON BOIS