Showing The World Love…
“I still love it Dan, I always will. My parents didn’t push me into it at all, it was and still is a real passion. There was always music floating around the house, my dad sang for The World’s Fair and my mom was always singing around the house. As for myself, I would wake up singing and go to bed singing. My mom was always saying to me, “please Robin, can’t you just be quiet for five minutes?'”
What can you remember about growing up in the 70s in New York, music was everwhere with Motown, Soul and Disco filling the streets. Who were you dancing around your bedroom with a hairbrush infront of the mirror to?
“I was a massive, and I mean massive, Jackson 5 groupie. I loved Aretha Franklin too, but the Jackson’s songs like ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ and ‘I Wanna Be Where You Are’, well oh my goodness I love them!”
At this point of the interview my dogs start barking like mad and over in Georgia in America so do Robin’s. A Labradoodle and Labrador in the UK saying hello to a Pitbull, two Shih-Tzu’s/Dachsund puppies and a miniature Pinscher over in the States. But we battle on…
You possess one of dance music’s most beautiful voices. How important was the legendary voice trainer Brook Alexander who worked with you at the age of eight? What did he teach you? Many thought you were already pitch perfect back then.
“Well he taught Melba Moore – that tells you a lot. He always said to me that people with the ugliest faces have the prettiest voices. And when you tell that to a kid, they all pull the ugliest faces they can. It’s so true. The whole art of annunciation is so important to make sure people understand what you are saying, what you feel they feel too. Brook taught me how to perform and how to get people in the audience engrossed in your performance. I can go to someone else’s show, close my eyes and listen to the performer and a lot of the time I think to myself, I could have listened to that on the radio at home and saved myself a whole heap of my time. I want my eyes to be wide open and see how he or she is moving, where their eyes are looking – the whole interaction with the audience is so important.”
Your new single ‘Shake It’ is flying in the DMC Buzz Chart and getting DJs excited everywhere again with your amazing voice. Does it still give you a buzz that the world is dancing again to Robin S? The next single is ‘Be Thankful’ what can you tell us about that?
“In a word, yes! I am so excited about everything right now. It’s taken so long to get where I am right now, I have been willing to wait because I simply haven’t wanted to put out any old crap with no message in my songs. Let me tell you about ‘Shake It’. When you listen to the song, the important thing to remember is we are all human beings at the end of the day. The first thing we do when hearing a song is go for the beat and then we learn the words. I don’t want meaningless words in my work. The song is all about releasing your body, finding your peace, letting go of all tension and once you hit that dancefloor, you’ll forget all about the hassles of work just for that one moment. Just shake it off until you can’t shake any more. When we wrote the track, CtK said to me, ‘it doesn’t matter what planet you’re on, what atmosphere, stratasphere, if you’re rich, poor, old or young – let’s just get people to shake it all off!’
What do you think of the current state of the music industry in America?
“We don’t have a lot of majors out there any more so unsigned artists are not getting a fair shot at it. It’s all about who you know not how good you are, those days are long gone. If you are in a click or know a certain person you will make it. Well I have made it my business to try and change all that, working with artists who have a passion and drive and who are hungry at this stage of their game. CtK is ready now, it’s his time. I want to see him fly on his own…”
“‘Be Thankful’ is another message about how we should be thankful for the smallest things in life – waking up every day, being able to move your legs, being able to breath – when do we ever be thankful for all the things we take for granted. I have so many songs that relate to something in my life. Personal confessions, relationship break ups, saying goodbye to people. I love music but I won’t sell myself short just for the sake of it. I want people to listen to my songs and hopefully learn from me and my life. And if they do, well I have done what I have meant to do on this planet.”
It’s 21 years since ‘Show Me Love’ was recorded and is undoutably one of the biggest dance tracks ever written. It’s one of the only dance tracks that can get dropped the world over from the smallest dancefloor to the biggest festivals and unite everyone there in singing along no matter what there age. Can you remember recording the track and knowing that it was a going to be a big hit?
“Absolutely not. Let me tell you Dan, I had no idea. I came from a Jazz, R&B background, the closest I came to club music was when I sang Michael Jackson’s ‘Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.’ When I was presented with ‘Show Me Love’ I said to the record company guys, ‘I can’t do this, I know nothing about dance.’ Also, when I went into the studio I had the worst flu, and when you are sick you just aren’t feeling it. I said to them, ‘let me record this and let me go home to sleep’, I was feeling that rough. It took me three takes and after the third take I was done. I said to them, ‘that’s all you’re getting, take it or leave it’. I had no inkling at all how big ‘Show Me Love’ was going to be. My kids were really young back then and all they heard was that song. I had to take it all apart, verse by verse and decided where the words fitted into my life. That I feel, is the only way a song can be imbedded into your body. ‘Show Me Love’ is a time capsule of a record. Put it away and twenty years later, it will still be a hit.”
So how do you like to be shown love?
“How I see it is that if you want me and my love then actions speak louder than words. You can tell me a thousand times how much you love me, but your actions will last a lot longer in my heart.”
You must have sang the song a thousand times over. Still love it?
“If I am being honest with you Dan, did I ever want to forget the words whilst singing it – YES, YES, YES! But after a while I realised that I would always be known for this record, get used to it Robin! You will always be the chick who sang house music! Let it become part of you and go with it.”
‘Show Me Love’ was a huge succeess in the USA, in fact it was one of the first dance tracks to crossover in the States, how hard was it at the time to get radio play and cross over in a country filled with American rock and R&B.
“Not really, people just gravitated to the record. One day I looked over the charts and there I was ahead of Madonna and Michael Jackson, incredible. I always prayed for infectious songs to come my way and it did with ‘Show Me Love’. So many people have come up to me and told me how the song has changed their lives or even saved their life. I hope the way I sung it too mattered, I always give it my all out there.”
I saw you appear at a club in New York once where you dragged someone up on stage to dance with you. The person was not one of those already up on their feet, he was sitting there quietly! How important is your live performance to you and the way you get the audience participating?
“Ha, I do that every chance I get. I never look out for the ones having the party, they’re already in my gang! I look out for the one’s standing still. How I see it is like this, when you are announced on stage you have maybe 25 seconds or so to do a quick surveillance of who you are singing to before the music starts and in those 25 seconds you have to figure out who has to be pulled in!”
The next single is ‘Be Thankful’ what can you tell us about that?
You now live in Georgia, do you miss anything about New York?
“Well I miss the shopping most definitely! I also miss the accessability of New York, going downtown hitting the record stores, the record labels and the industry. I grew up in that city, it was my security blanket. Here in Atlanta it’s such a tight nit community, if you’re not in with the right crowd it’s difficult to get into that circle. It’s like a mini New York really, I thought it would be a change of pace for me, a slower life. I was wrong! There is a lot of the music industry down here.”
Are any of your children and grandchildren following you into the music industry or are you warning them away?
“I haven’t warned them away no. Whatever they choose to do with their lives I’m ok with. However, I have to say my son is a very talented singer, my grandaughter is a good dancer – a very good dance whilst my grandsons are into their sport.”
What female artists will you always be listening to?
“Oh that’s easy. I love Chrisette Michele, I will always be a huge fan of Rochelle, Mary J Blige, Nancy Wilson and of course Aretha.”
When can we expect the new album?
“We are aiming to get it finished and out by October/November time but if it’s not how we want it, we’ll wait until the new year. I want quality, I want people to say they enjoyed the whole experience…”