Nineties pop icon Robin S. opens up about his involvement in ‘Break My Soul’
Yesterday, Beyoncé released the first single from his first album in over six years.
As she is one of the most popular and progressive pop artists on the planet, a culture-changing icon, it’s a big deal.
‘Break My Soul’ is a high-energy, dance floor-ready jam reminiscent of house / pop / R & B that dominated the charts in the early 90’s.
Beyoncé, Tricky Stewart and The-Dream co-produced the track – the first time they have collaborated since the mega-hit ‘Single Ladies’ in 2008 – and went back to the source to help get just the right mood and sound.
That source was a song called ‘Show Me Love’, which was originally released by the American singer Robin S. in 1990, but which was a huge success after it was remixed in 1992 by the Swedish producers Stonebridge and Nick Nice.
Robin S. is in her home in Atlanta, Georgia, and she still can not quite believe what just happened.
“I’m a person of transparency: I did not know about this single,” she reveals to Double J’s Tim Shiel. “I knew nothing about it. Nothing.
“This morning, when I woke up and my alarm went off, my phone did the same thing. It just kept ringing. It kept pinging, pinging, pinging, pinging, pinging.”
So how does it feel to wake up and find out that the biggest pop star in the world has just included you on his new single?
“I have a lot of emotions going on right now,” Robin says. “Excited, proud, happy, shocked, excited. I just keep going up and down the scale here.
“I do not know if I should cry because I am so happy, or laugh because this is so exciting, or do both at the same time.
“I’m just touched. For the most part, people give you your honors after you’ve switched from this world. So to be able to enjoy my flowers while I’m alive, I’m dizzy. It feels good!”
It feels especially good to be on a track from an artist like Beyoncé, an artist that Robin has seen with awe for decades.
“I’m very proud of her,” she says. “I have always been proud of her. Because she has published things that enable women to understand who they are and the power they have in this world.
“Because we in the industry got a sense that we were submissive. The industry was always a man’s world, and certain women had to give in or sell their souls to make ends meet.
“She’s changed the game.”
Hear Robin S. talk to Tim Shiel above:
It is not only her work behind the scenes that Robin finds inspiring. She is also in awe of her talents on record.
“Her delivery is always on point with her songs,” Robin says. “You feel how she feels when she sings it.
“That’s right where it’s all about. If I feel what you’re feeling when you sing this, it’s a groovy thing, it’s a great situation, it’s a wonderful marriage.”
Beyoncé’s continuous artistic development has been one of the most fascinating aspects of her great career. While Robin S. made her mark in the world of dance music, she did not get the same opportunities to develop.
“For the most part, no one really wanted to hear anything else that I was capable of,” she says. “I was in this box and they would keep me in this box and never let me out.
“Every artist is allowed to grow throughout their career. They sing about it, they talk about it, they live it, they mature. With a dance artist, you should not. I do not know where they got it from, but they will do not allow you to do so. “
These days, she has taken it upon herself to show the world the breadth of her talents. She often tours – last visited Australia in 2018 – and has even released a number of tracks that give a fuller picture of her as an artist.
“There are so many pieces of me that people have not yet experienced,” she says.
“When I’m on tour and I’m talking to people, I let them know, ‘You’re going to hear some different things, it’s still me and I still love you. Just hang out there with me. I need to get this out of my system ‘.
“I have a lot of songs on iTunes that I’ve released myself because it was inside me and I had to get it out. I did not have any major backing behind me.”
It’s not like she’s giving up her biggest hit. In fact, she continues to embrace the song that had her at the top of the charts worldwide over 30 years ago.
“The remix of ‘Show Me Love’ that I made with Emmaculate was something I made about. And that’s the way I sing a song now, which is completely different from the original.
“I’m proud of it, I’m proud of the fact that I was able to do it and have a soulful house song to make people groove.”
Music tends to be cyclical. Trends come and go, but they often come back again. While the sound of 90s dance music is coming roaring back into fashion (sorry pun), Robin is happy to hear what the next generation of artists are doing with it.
“I’m not mad about it,” Robin says. “We have to grow apart.
“I mean, that’s what music is about. We’re supposed to take from our seniors and grow and improve it, not so much recreate it, but do it better. That’s what we need to do.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re just adding more flavor to it, adding more spice to it. That’s it.
“It’s just so crazy to me that things happen and you have no idea where it’s going to take you years from now. Like, you just do not know. You just do not know. I think it’s pretty wild fantastic. “
If Beyoncé reads this (hello by the way), Robin would love a quick chat.
“I would love to be able to thank her personally,” she says.
Robin, however, is primarily grateful that people continue to discover and enjoy her music after so many years.
“‘Show Me Love’ turns 30 in 2023,” she says. “What a way to go into 2023. I get goosebumps when I think about it.
“I’m so, so grateful. I don’t think I can express enough how grateful I am for the longevity of this song and the longevity of my life.”
Listen to Tim Shiel on Double J Arvos, Monday through Thursday from 6 p.m.