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Robin, every Finnish girl’s dream

March 25, 2013

As the mother of a pre-schooler I am getting exposed to the world of Finnish cartoons, entertainment and music. As we head into the pre-teen and teenage years, I am sure the house will be dominated by music and the like.

My kid is currently on a kick for the teen aged music star Robin Packalen (stage name Robin) and we have watched the video for his first hit Frontside Ollie (a song about skateboarding) at least 10 times so far on YouTube.

Of course I had heard of him, but he didn’t pique my interest until I heard him speak at an awards ceremony a few weeks ago. Robin is far from being a “manufactured” artist, this boy is the real deal and he can sing. He won a Finnish competition in 2008 called Staraskaba. He later took part in the New Wave Junior competition (representing Finland) in Russia in 2009 when he was just 10 years old. Have a look – how many 10 year olds do you know who can belt out a rock song like that – and in a foreign language to boot?  These are the two things that got Robin noticed and in part brought him to where he is today. His producers also took on his close friend and guitarist, Samppa, whom he describes as a big brother. Their song Haluun sun palaavan (lyrics and melody) was added to the line-up of Chillaa. Not bad for a couple of kids!

At the beginning of March this year Robin won three Emma awards (the Finnish equivalent of the Juno Awards (CAN) / Grammy Awards (USA)) for Song of the Year (Frontside Ollie), Pop Album of the Year (Koodi) and Newcomer of the Year. He didn’t do it alone though. He has worked with The Rasmus, the rap artist Brädi and Toni Wirtanen of Apulanta. All of these fellows are Finnish musicians, song writers and artists who got into the business early and still have the staying power on home turf. The Rasmus, however, has had quite a bit of success outside Finland because they sing in English. Robin sings in Finnish, which is definitely a part of his appeal. As far as I can remember, at least since I have been living here, there has never been a Finnish artist who is so young and has made such an impact. His biggest fans are his peers, mostly girls (probably 95% :)), but he does have fans among teen aged boys as well. The lyrics of his songs are aimed at that age group, and for sure they can relate.

Consider this: Frontside Ollie was released as a single in January 2012. Within 24 hours of the video being released on YouTube it had been viewed over 330,000 times. In two weeks it had been viewed over 9 million times! Needless to say, his parents stepped in and requested that Robin have a manager because at that point the media had taken notice and everyone wanted a piece of him. His producers firmly believe that he can handle the pressure and luckily for Robin, so far so good.

Just a few days ago I watched the Robin, The Movie with the Little Miss. It is a documentary directed by Inari Niemi and follows the concerts he performed in 2012 and charts the progress of putting together his second album. This movie documented the hard work that Robin, his band, his manager, his producers (Maki Kolehmainen and Jimi Constantine (formerly Jimi Pääkallo) and song-writing team have done to get to this point. Though it was panned by the critics, I thought it was a positive and energetic account of a talented kid with a creative mind. Robin is very fortunate to have people around him who care about where he is headed. Robin released not one, but two albums in 2012. Currently both Chillaa and Koodi are number 2 and number 4 in the mid-price album chart in Finland.

Robin is only 14 and I watched with concern as there were several discussions during the documentary about his voice changing and how that might affect his future career as a singer. Of course this was part of the drama of the documentary, with his manager saying that a voice change could stop Robin’s career before he has even really started. (I learned something here, and didn’t realize a voice change could turf someone’s singing voice for good. Even Robin himself realized it on several occasions and saw a voice coach for some help. As of this writing this is something he still appears to be struggling with, a recent concert had to be rescheduled for this very reason.)

So, the Little Miss got Chillaa (CD) for a birthday present and we have heard a lot of it in the last few weeks. We currently hear this song a lot: Luupilla mun korvissa, which I can roughly translate as “The loop in my ear” – or the dreaded “earworm.” Though I can say this is a happy sounding and energetic song that gets people singing at concerts.

I like to think that he sings because he loves it and he entertains because he enjoys making people happy. Robin Packalen appears to be an incredibly nice kid, surrounded by good people. I can only hope it stays that way.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. anonymous permalink
    March 26, 2013 2:50 pm

    I prefer this one

  2. Ada permalink
    January 17, 2014 3:29 pm

    where can i download or watch this movie?

    • January 20, 2014 8:47 am

      You might be able to find it on YouTube, but it is only in Finnish and probably does not come with English subtitles.

      • Ada permalink
        January 20, 2014 3:22 pm

        thank you ^^

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