‘Nothing To Regret’ was one of 2018’s most unexpected euphoric hits. Raking in a massive 56 million on Spotify alone, the New Zealand singer-songwriter was rapidly thrown into the spotlight and simultaneously went on tour with some big names including Hayley Kiyoko. With her recent singles ‘Don’t Trust Myself’ and ‘Medicine’ also gaining some massive traction she has finally returned to the southern hemisphere for a run of sold out shows with Dean Lewis as well as some cheeky headline sideshows. Her confidence shines through her set from her strong and vulnerable songwriting, to her euphoric hooks and her unique and captivating stage presence. Her energy pulsates through her thriving interaction with the crowd and with her massive smile that doesn’t leave her face the whole duration. Except for the heartbreaking lyrical moments which will legitimately break your heart.
I recently chatted to Robinson about her rapid rise to fame with ‘Nothing To Regret’, the way she continuously translates her vulnerability into her songwriting and the pressure she has on herself to continue to release strong and memorable tracks. Check out the chat HERE;
TB: ‘Nothing To Regret’ is one of my anthems of the year and it also became an anthem for people who are a little lost and living in limbo. But it was also about embracing that and living in the moment. So from that time in your life to where you’re at now are you actively living in the moment or are you still feeling a little lost?
R: I think it’s obviously a very different time in my life now compared to when I wrote the song but I think throughout everything there are always those moments where you doubt yourself or are just not having a good day. So I think if didn’t have those moments then I wouldn’t write these songs *laughs* so they definitely still happen from time to time. But I’m so grateful to be now touring with music and having people react to the songs the way they are. it’s so incredibly surreal. When you write a song you obviously want it to do well but you don’t also visualise performing it live and having so many people sing the lyrics back to you.
TB: Or have 56 million streams of ‘Nothing To Regret’ on Spotify alone, that’s crazy…
R: It is crazy! That is SO many people *laughs*
TB: With all the Spotify end of year lists coming out, it must be pretty insane to see that figure of 56 million next to ‘Nothing To Regret’. What goes through your mind when you think about that?
R: Oh it is so crazy! I think it’s so cool that Spotify do that and allow you to see statistically how many people are listening to the music. It’s a cool feeling to look back and see those numbers. I think it was something like 3 million hours that people spent listening to my music this year. Like, that is A LOT of hours *laughs*. It’s absolutely crazy. You never expect any of this to happen so it is a little overwhelming but the greatest type of overwhelming.
TB: ‘Nothing To Regret’ and ‘Medicine’ sonically sits somewhere between the Lana Del Rey, Tove Lo and Lorde pop universe. So what is currently inspiring you in the studio?
R: Oh that’s some great compliments! I could actually see myself as the musical love child as all of those three amazing women though *laughs*. But I think my inspiration changes from time to time to be honest. At the moment I’m really enjoying experimenting with vocoder to give some cool effects on my vocals. Imogen Heap uses those sort of affects on her voice so I think it’s quite cool to experiment with that at different moments of a song. I’m also just inspired by what a lot of different people are doing at the moment. Like, I am a BIG Bon Iver fan and sonically I love a lot what he does. But I do think it comes down to just experimenting and trying new things.
TB: ‘Don’t Trust Myself’ is a very revealing and beautiful ballad. But releasing that song must have been a little nerve racking. So how do you allow yourself as an artist to open up that emotionally
R: I think it is all about creating a journey. ‘Nothing To Regret’ had a really sad storyline but a very upbeat feeling whilst ‘Medicine’ had melancholy verses with a bright upbeat chorus where as with this song it’s just a pure sad song in every form. I think music is so powerful in that sense because whilst you can still dance to these songs, I guess it does tell these sad and empowering stories that when you do strip them down it reveals that. Sometimes the best songs are written with the saddest stories but it’s nice to have that contrast. And sometimes I get that feeling of “Oh I shouldn’t say that” but that just gives me more incentive to actually say that thing that I don’t wanna say. The way I look at it is, If you’re not being your most authentic self then you’re not successfully getting your story and message across to people.
TB: I don’t think it comes by much of a surprise after listening to your singles that you seem to have become pretty comfortable with your vulnerability. So reflecting on the material you’ve worked on what would you say is your most vulnerable moment as a songwriter?
R: I would say it’s probably something waiting in the wings at the moment. But otherwise I would say ‘Crave You’ which was one of the first songs I released is actually one of my most vulnerable songs too. It looks at someone not really caring about you anymore and every part of you shouldn’t really like them as a person but i guess it’s that security of being in a relationship and that routine that you crave that makes you want them again. That song was really personal and was just me being my honest self but there are definitely some songs that I haven’t released yet that are my most vulnerable tracks to date.
TB: Does it create a pressure for you as an artist to deliver a level of quality that you think will succeed those numbers you’re seeing on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube?
R: Yeah, I think it would definitely be a lie of me to say that I don’t feel that pressure because I would say I am a perfectionist when it comes to wanting everything I release to be of an incredible quality. So I think I do naturally feel that pressure just like any artist would feel that pressure too. I also think you have to let that pressure subside and trust that it’s worked before and let the music come naturally and experience life because that’s the only way.
TB: I guess you could say that you’ve got nothing to regret about it
R: Oh my god, it has literally become the pun of the year *laughs*. Have you seen the movie We’re The Millers?
TB: Yeah I have! *laughs*
R: Well for Halloween I was going to dress up as that guy who has “no regrets” on his forehead but I thought it would be too much. So maybe next year i will do that *laughs*. Hashtag no regrets!
TB: Oh my god, you should tattoo that on you “hashtag no regrets”
R: Yes I should, I would totally not regret that *laughs*. Actually, maybe when I’m drunk I will get a drunk tattoo and get that.
TB: You’re currently on the road with Dean Lewis for his massive sold out tour of Australia. So what is one emotion that you want people to walk away from your set feeling?
R: Badass is the whole vibe I’m going for! As well as unapologetic and super upbeat happy vibes. I want people to really feel all the energy that I’m putting into the show.
TB: You’ve done a bit of touring and shows this year, including a massive run of European shows with Hayley Kiyoko.
R: Yes! That tour was SO much fun. I think it was really where I really learnt to be myself on stage which has been such a fun process to figure out. So this year has been full of touring and next year will even be more intense so I cant wait!
TB: So what was one of your favourite or funniest memories from that run of dates?
R: Oh, one of my favourite memories was definitely dressing up as KISS for Halloween with my band. We were literally the only ones in Amsterdam dressed up. My drummer had this long wig and it was so ridiculous, Alex my keyboardist is really good at make up so he looked amazing and the rest of us had this Joker vibe going on. And every bar we went into, they would put on a Kiss song after we walked in and it was so hilarious *laughs*.
TB: Hayley Kiyoko is an incredible and unique artist, so did you take away anything from your time on the road with her?
R: She was just so incredible! She is a person that has so much love and positivity within her. And I think watching her was so amazing because her fans are so loving and accepting. And even with me they were so in the moment which was cool. I honestly think you attract people that are like you and she’s drawn in a fanbase full of loving, accepting and positive people and I think that’s just because of who she is as a person. So yeah I definitely found that really inspiring.
TB: 2018 has been a bit of a weird year so what song would you say has become your soundtrack of the year?
R: ‘New Rules’ by Dua Lipa is such a banger! And anything by Sigrid is amazing! Like ‘Don’t kill My Vibe’ is such a vibe *laughs*. But I will also go crazy anytime I hear an ABBA song so I feel like they will always be the soundtrack to my life.
TB: Lets play a little game where you answer these questions with the first thing that comes to mind…
R: Okay, I love games! I’m ready!
TB: If I could collaborate with any artist it would be…
R: Dang this is hard… oh wait, Miley Cyrus for sure!
TB: Most people think I…
R: I guess from my songs and stage presence they think I’m gonna be a certain way but then I start talking and they are like “oh my god she is mental and crazy and has so much energy”. So I guess it’s that contrast of moody music but she’s crazy too.
TB: The emoji that best describes my new single Medicine is…
R: The broken heart one!
TB: My morning pump up song is…
R: ‘Yes Sir I Can Boogie’ from Baccara.
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…