Posted By BY JASON MACNEIL, SPECIAL TO SUN MEDIA
With her short platinum blond hair and penetrating eyes, Swedish pop sensation Robyn could be the "separated at birth" twin of Roxette singer (and fellow Swede) Marie Fredriksson.
Yet underneath that exterior lies a lady who knows what she wants and is doing it her own way a decade after having a hit single, Show Me Love.
Having released her new self-titled album on her own label, Konichiwa Records in North America, the singer says she didn't go looking for success but rather it found her through word-of-mouth and online praise from music web-site Pitchfork and celeb gossip guru Perez Hilton.
"It has been a very organic process, I'm just going where the album is going" Robyn says prior to a Toronto show in early May. "When I made this album I really didn't think about having an international career again. It (the response) gave me the courage to believe that there still might be an audience out there for me."
It's an audience that could only grow thanks to an album teeming with fun, danceable, electro-pop using the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Gwen Stefani and Janet Jackson as touchstones.
After the humorous intro Curriculum Vitae states she's been a stunt double for Jackie Chan, fought Bruce Lee and "sucker-punched Einstein," Robyn keeps the momentum with Be Mine!, the inviting Who's That Girl (not a Madonna cover) and the rap-heavy Konichiwa Bitches, a song she says epitomizes the spirit of the record.
"I want to write a rap song on that classic theme of I'm the best and everybody else sucks," she says of Konichiwa Bitches.
"I grew up on a lot of those songs so I wanted to do something like that but in my own way. I'm not a gangster, I don't sell crack so we used a lot of cartoons, Looney Tunes and old-school rap (as starting points)."
Meanwhile, the Stefani-esque Bum Like You was inspired by a documentary Robyn saw on the famed writer and poet Charles Bukowski.
"He was this very unattractive guy but he had lots of women, he was very mean to them but at the same time very dependent on them," she says. "And it was something that I could recognize myself in and I think most people can -- when you're not independent in a relationship but you're aware of it, you're not stupid."
Robyn, who recently appeared on a remix of Snoop Dogg's song Sexual Seduction, says her early experiences in the late '90s which almost caused her to quit music were crucial to her current status.
"There was definitely a point where I felt like I was in the wrong place and I didn't know how to move forward within the industry," she says.
"I felt very limited and frustrated about it and I thought about going back to school. But then the idea of starting up my own company opened up a whole new world for me. It was just getting back to a place where it was all about the music."
The singer returns for more Canadian shows in late summer after the European festival season winds down.
She's also looking at getting back to the studio by year's end to start work on her next record.
But for now she's relishing the success and the shows, the latter bringing together an eclectic collection of people.
"A lot of them are old fans but there are also a lot of new people getting into the music," she says.
"It's a queer audience in the true sense of the word in that not only is it a gay audience but there's also goth-y white kids and girls from the Bronx and a real mixed audience both in age, sex and sexuality. It's a really nice crowd that I feel I can relate to."