In the second part of our exclusive chat with the US star rushonrock asks Robin to go back in time – all the way to the First Time – and give us a glimpse into life as a musician and mother.
rushonrock: can you cast your mind back to when First Time topped the charts and you were a bona fide megastar? What was going through your mind?
Robin Beck: I don’t really know what I was thinking 20 years ago when First Time was doing its thing all over the world. I was living in the moment and just flipping out that anything was happening at all! It was hard for me to feel cocky because I couldn’t quite grasp what was going on. I never really think that way. I thought I was prepared for success but you can never be prepared for something like that. I was like a kid in a sweet shop and I did always want success – I just never knew what I’d do if I got to that point. When First Time took off I just remember feeling like a kid on Christmas morning opening my presents. I cried a lot during those days but they were tears of joy.
RB: People used to try to make me feel embarrassed about the Coke partnership but my good sense told me to ignore those folk. Coca Cola supported me all the way and treated me like the Queen of England. I was in a little bit of shock at first because they fell over themselves to look after me early on. People opened doors for me at their HQ and I’d look around to see who was behind me. The president of Coca Cola looked after me personally and nothing was too much trouble. Looking back what was not to like?
rushonrock: What was the highlight of your phenomenal rise to fame?
RB: I remember the first time I was riding around Munich with someone who would later become a really good friend. He offered to give me a tour of the city and my song came on the car radio. I’d never heard myself as a number one artist on radio but there I was promoting my next song in Germany and it was all over the place. I just never had time to sit back in my car at home and listen to the radio. It was such a thrill. I’ll never forget it. Another highlight back then was my record company giving me an apartment in the middle of Kensington! I felt like a Beatle. It was a bit strange and I felt all giddy about it. I remember the UK press writing stuff about me in the gossip pages and seeing pictures with the captions like ‘Robin and the Mystery Man’.
RB: I lived my life from moment to moment back then. If I knew then what I know now then I would have savoured it all a little bit more. I think I could have got more out of the whole experience but I didn’t really know any better at the time. I would have tried to make that part of my career last a little longer and worked out who the best manager was and how to enjoy my success wherever I went. It’s an odd feeling running from place to place – you don’t get a moment to stop and appreciate things.
rushonrock: Is it easy being a rock star and a mother?
RB: For the last 11 years I’ve been a working mom and my daughter Olivia is becoming a ‘Mini Me’! I was missing from action for five years and devoted myself to her at that time even though I was still putting out records. But she could sing before she could speak. She first came on the road with me when she was 10 months old but she’s always been comfortable with that and it made things so much easier for me. I wanted to protect her from certain stuff and I suppose I wanted her to have as normal a childhood as possible. It’s not like we’re living in the UK or Europe some of the time. It is a juggling act but we’re fine. Olivia loves every kind of music but unlike me she’s a soprano. This one can hit the sky with her high notes.
RB: I’d have no doubts about her becoming a singer and that’s what she wants to do. But I’ve told her she has to work hard for it. Kids today think everything should be handed to them on a plate. I had to work very hard to get where I wanted to be. Kids think life’s like a video game and they just need to go on-line and it will happen for them. Everybody wants to be a rock star nowadays but when I was Olivia’s age I was really fighting for auditions and trying to do what I could when I could. I was a latchkey kid with big dreams and a real determination.