“Just a girl writing sad love songs.” – that’s Annemarija Paula’s, aka singer-songwriter Robin Blue’s bio on Spotify. And in a nutshell, that’s the artist she is – a haunting voice telling her listeners tales of the enchanting, sometimes dark, sometimes light world of love and everything in between. Originally from Latvia, the singer chose London as her new creative nest a few years ago and has been honing her skills ever since, finding herself on the way. Unsurprisingly, her newly released EP ‘From Grace To Adohán’ feels like an intimate insight into her emotional life. And while it might be a risky thing to do, to open her heart like this for the whole world to see, it’s a risk she is willing to take.
Let’s start right at the beginning – can you tell me a bit about your beginnings as an artist?
I’ve been in the music world since I can remember. I’d say at this point probably been into performing for 17 years or so. As I loved singing and performing, my gran signed me up for singing lessons and I was in a girl group, travelling around Latvia and Europe in general, performing in festivals and contests, and started dabbling as a solo artist at the age of 12, maybe 13. Around that age, my ‘go-to’ act would be yodelling, which set me apart from other performers and always left the crowd in shock. Around the age of 17, I really got into writing poems in Latvian and that escalated into writing songs in English.
What inspired you to become a musician?
I would say my grandfather was and still is my greatest inspiration, being a musically gifted person himself, amongst many musicians I have looked up to through the years. The freedom and the way of combining words with melody, to make something beautiful, has always amazed and inspired me as well. How both combined just make the other more powerful and something that can be related to, feeling emotions you didn’t even know you had.
Did you think you’d end up where you are now back when you first had the idea to become a musician?
As a kid, I always thought that if I stuck to music I’d be the next big star, but as I grew older the want for that faded. My priorities changed to just wanting to connect and relate with people through music that I write and I feel like I have accomplished that. So at the given moment, I am definitely where I thought I’d be and I wouldn’t change that.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist? What do you dislike most?
I love the creative freedom I have at the moment. Being able to write about how I feel unapologetically is what I enjoy most. Also, the support I get from my friends and family is amazing. When people send me snippets of them listening to my songs and humming or even full-on singing the lyrics, that warms my heart every time. When it comes to dislikes – feeling burnt out from time to time. There can be periods where I don’t even write a line for a song for months. I feel it’s quite difficult to present something that hasn’t already been out there. It’s a bittersweet moment in general when you have to find a unique way to say something that has already been said a million times.
Looking back on your journey so far – what is your favourite memory?
Definitely moving to London, I found so much creativity when I moved here. One of my fondest memories is writing a song in a park by the Big Ben on my first day here. I was just looking at people walking by, sitting on a bench and daydreaming. The sun was out and it was a surreal experience in general. The realisation of being in a place where I’ve dreamt of being, not even mentioning moving to this place. Not knowing where this journey will lead me to.
How would you describe your music to someone who didn’t know you?
I would describe it as sugar, spice and everything nice. But honestly, I feel like if people enjoy music by Billie Eilish, FINNEAS, Lana del Rey and Rex Orange County, they might like what I have to offer, because I feel like it’s a mix of all those.
What was the production of your EP ‘From Grace To Adohán’ like?
The production was amazing and fun. The songs were recorded in my producer’s house in Latvia. We would sit by the monitor coming up with the patterns after I had played him an acoustic version of the songs from my phone. And I had help on one of the songs ‘Simply’ from two friends here in London, they sent us the guitar parts and the drums, which I felt really gave the song the sound that I was looking for and I absolutely love it.
In what ways did the pandemic affect or influence the production, your creative process and you personally?
The pandemic is the reason the songs on this EP were even written, so if anything in this case I have to thank the pandemic because without it there wouldn’t be any of these songs, let alone this EP.
Do you think the pandemic has had some positive outcomings as well?
From a creative side, yes, but it really depends on how you look at it and what kind of a person you are. Whether you need people around to feel creative or being alone is what you were longing for. For me, it has been a mix, because I feel that I am more creative, but it’s in spurs, so the rest of the time I feel more burned out. And you can get only so much inspiration by being cooped up in the same location all the time, you run out of things to say at one point.
Is there an overall story to the EP? Or a special message?
It was inspired by a breakup I had at the time when I wrote the songs. The songs go through so many stages of their own ‘grief’. I feel that they show how I felt about the breakup – anger, hope, confusion, giving up on yourself… all the possible emotions on the spectrum when it comes to that situation.
Do you follow a certain formula when you write your songs or is the process different every time?
I wouldn’t say there is a formula that I follow. When I write songs I usually play around with the melody and the lyrics to see which parts feel right at certain times. I’d say it’s a very follow your gut process for me.
What is your favourite track of the EP and why?
Hands down ‘Dine&Dash’. That was the first song I wrote for this EP. The lyrics came to me as I was making dinner for myself and crying on the kitchen floor, thinking about dining and dashing in my bathtub, and as the lyrics state “let the waters take me away, wake up on the right side of the clouds”. This is the rawest song about my own emotions towards the entire situation and the only possible way I saw at that point because I didn’t want to feel pain. I suppose it’s safe to say I didn’t end up having dinner in a bathtub that time because I’m still here. I’d say writing this song saved me from myself.
How do you try to stand out from the crowd?
I try to stay true to myself and the people who listen to my music. I write from my own experiences and I would like to believe that by doing so I connect with people on an emotional level, hoping they have a similar experience that they can connect with. And also, I write music because it makes me feel good, I’m not here at this point to earn a living from it, I’m here to share my journey. I want people to be able to interpret my songs in a way that suits them, even if my lyrics sometimes can be a bit on the nose.
What are your plans for the future, in regards to the current happenings?
I have no plans, I am just trying to get by and see where the journey takes me. I’m trying to focus more on the “now”, rather than what’s to come.
What does music mean to you?
Music is my escape, my therapist. It is what I’ve always been drawn to and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Music is what helps me express how I feel without even saying a word. It is honestly a beautiful thing, that surrounds us wherever we go, not realising that we as individuals are a body of music within itself, walking to the beat of our own heartbeat. Music to me is like seeing the sunrise on one side and the moon on the other, when you picture that view, you have no words to describe how surreal it looks, not to mention how it makes you feel. I am not the best there is, I know that, but I also know that music makes me the best person I can be.
Written by Laura Weingrill