Having met Bluey Robinson about a year ago, when he was on the verge of becoming a signed artist, it’s exciting to see how much has happened in that time. He exploded onto YouTube, receiving over half a million views; fast-forward 12 months and Swedish-born, London-raised Bluey is now signed to Sony and getting free kicks from a secret location in Shoreditch where we meet again. Picking up his three bags of freeness, we head into the midday sun as he tells Flavour about his journey and the upcoming album.
So you’re signed – that must be off the hook?
I am signed to Sony RCA, which is great, but it has been a bit of a roller coaster because everyone I was signed with are no longer there. A lot of acts were dropped and so I didn’t know what was happening with me.
That must have been a difficult and frustrating time?
It was frustrating because I had been recording for ages; it was like a whole year of recording and I was hoping my stuff would have come out last year because that was planned. Now, however, I think things have settled down and I really feel they are behind us now.
That’s great – and it must have really helped that you went to them with a decent fan base already?
I had a bit of a sound before that old-school vibe, so they could not really change that because I had built up an audience and it was my thing. A lot of it has still been just me and my small team. We were doing that whole YouTube thing before I was signed.
Let’s talk about that quickly – so many people have seen the benefits of that marketing strategy, but how did it become part of your own marketing?
When I started working with my manager, Zeus, he had been doing stuff with Ryan Leslie. I knew that I wanted to do something online and I did not want to just sing to a camera. We tried it in Trafalgar Square; that just did not work, it was way too noisy. Then the guys I was with said let’s go to the underground because it would be better acoustics; and the sound was great and it just worked and it just grew.
You have just finished supporting the huge star that is Justin Bieber, what was that like?
Touring with him was surreal. When I found out, I was like, are you sure I am opening for Justin Bieber? It was funny because I actually did his track ‘Eeenie Meenie’ with him.
Have you ever played to an audience that big?
It was a massive arena, and apart from the Wireless Festival, Birmingham’s arena was the biggest place I have ever played.
As a budding artist did you ever think all this would happen?
The thing is, I did not have a back-up plan, I just went to college to keep my mum happy. I did psychology, then theatre and music technology. I was taking it seriously, but I knew music was what I wanted to do.
That must have been difficult when you had this clear idea of what you really wanted to do.
I did not want to work, because I worked at Sports World for a year while I was at college and it was just so depressing. So I decided to stay at college, but got expelled for lateness. Funny enough, on the day I got expelled for lateness I was actually on time. I went home and broke down. I felt like a complete failure; but soon after that, the management came in and things then started rolling in terms of my music career.
Tell us about your album. It has taken a while to come out?
The album has taken a lot longer than I wanted and there was a period where I was going into the studio with people I should not have been performing with really. I did get some good songs from those meetings, but the album has Labrinth in the main on there.
So, do you have a name for the album yet?
I have a couple titles for the album – Neon Lights or One Song at a Time – but I’m going to wait.
Your new track has Labrinth on production duties, tell us more.
Lab and I decided to come up with ‘Showgirl’, and it was just a fun song about putting on a performance and someone catches your eye in the audience, they captivate you and the spotlight is on them. It is about changing things around.
And what are you hoping will be the follow-up?
The second single will be ‘Coming Back’. That song is about chasing your dreams and aspirations, and saying to the people who are around you that you will be back for them. It was written by a guy called Wayne Hector who has written stuff for JLS and Westlife, but it is not a pop track.
Finally, anything you’d like to say to your growing fan base?
I want to say thank you to all the new and old fans, it means everything, and there are more things to come.
Interview by Semper Azeez-Harris