She may not have written it, but the theme song for the “MuchMusic VJ Search” perfectly describes Lindsay Robins’ path to releasing her debut album, “Dirty Chemistry,” on Tuesday (Sept. 26).
When “What Would You Do” is brought up at the top of the interview, Robins is quick to point out that no, she didn’t write the song for the show. Instead, she was chosen as a vocalist for it.
“The first thing I thought, when I thought I was just singing a theme song, was that this is great just to have a connection with MuchMusic and have my voice on MuchMusic,” she says over the phone from Montreal.
Robins never thought the theme song would be made into a full-length song, or that she would appear on the reality series, or even that she would have made a video for it. But all three happened, and she is glad they did.
“That’s really what catapulted my career, because I was really just sitting on this full length album and it was really difficult to get a record deal. But (then) the VJ search theme song video happened and I got signed and my album is finally coming out.”
The 19-year-old has been writing songs since she was 15. However, her love of music began way before that. The daughter of a wedding singer, she was performing on stage at the age of six. Robins always tried to steal stage time from her mother because she loved performing so much.
“Thank God she let me,” she laughs.
However, it was Robins’ resolve that kept her on the track to being a professional musician. She never let anything stray her from her ultimate goal and didn’t let anyone tell her she would never make it.
“I’ve never really wanted to do anything but music. Ever. I was always a big dreamer. I was always like, ‘it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.’ And people were always like, ‘you’re crazy, it’s never going to happen.’ It takes a very special type of personality to be a musician because you have to be able to handle rejection like crazy. You really have to believe in yourself because chances are you’re going to be rejected a few times before someone says, ‘okay, let’s do it.’”
Robins says that she doesn’t necessarily mind the reality shows that exist to discover the next big pop singer. Robins’ only problems with shows like those are that they are only looking for a certain type of performer, one that appeals to the mainstream television audience.
Something Robins doesn’t think that she, or her idols (Chrissie Hynde, Pat Benatar, Patti Smith and Alanis Morrissette), would ever be able to succeed on those shows because they have different voices and musical styles than what the mainstream audience would enjoy.
“A lot of the artists that I look up to don’t necessarily have the best technical voice. I like weird voices, voices that are really different, and I find in mainstream television, the audience is looking for a typical clean cut person with a clean voice that you could have them sing any kind of song and it would be fine,” she says.
Robins credits her successes thus far to Christopher Ward. She auditioned for the Canadian musician (and ex-Much VJ) by recording one of his songs. She told him she was a songwriter, and presented him with the songs she had written – all 200 of them.
“He sat down and looked at them and started nodding his head, and he said, ‘we’re going to make a record.’ And that was pretty much it. Ever since I met Chris, the rest was history.”
She notes it was very difficult to narrow down what went on this record, but says that she has already picked out songs for her second record. But that doesn’t mean she has stopped writing.
“I have to write every single day. I need to get my thoughts out,” she says.
What about fans of hers who know her from the VJ search theme song? Is her album different than that song?
“That song was just targeted to that television show. It wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about any of my life experiences. It was just about that television series. So lyrically speaking, the rest of the songs content-wise have a lot more depth because they are about a person instead of a show,” she says.
Her music is pop-rock, she explains. While there are more commercially suitable songs on the album, she also has songs that are darker and deeper.
Robins has no tour plans yet, but is hoping to get something confirmed. She says she loves being on stage because, naturally, she gets quite a bit of attention, but that is also a great place to let out a lot of steam.
Does she have any advice for aspiring artists?
“In order to get people to believe in you, you have to believe in yourself. And never give up. I know a lot of people are going to tell you that, but the fact is in this industry, tons of people are going to put you down and tons of people are going to tell you that you can’t do it. And if you really think that this is what you should be doing, don’t let people tell you otherwise.”