Robyn's fixation on discovering her true self after a lifetime of being in the public eye is natural — after all, if your childhood is spent in an unreal environment, at a certain age, discovering what's real can become essential. It's a progression seen in so many children exposed early to the show-business system, and those who don't destroy themselves can often emerge with an unusually clear artistic vision. So it is for Robyn, and so it is also for 24-year-old Natalia Keery-Fisher. The British-born Natalia acted in BBC television and radio comedies (starting at age nine) before morphing into a musical career that has seen her adopt the stage name Natalia Kills — which describes her lethal combination of dark themes and anthemic synthpop.
"I started off in acting," she explains by telephone from Hamburg, "but it wasn't the kind of performing that I wanted to do. I was dissatisfied because I wasn't the creator, I was the creation, interpreting someone else's vision." If this sounds like the voice of a career perfectionist, that's because it is — which may be why her upcoming debut album, out in March with production help from Will.I.Am and Akon, is titled Perfectionist. She writes the songs, she directs the videos, she defines her look, and she decides who to work with. In other words, the state of control that took Robyn a decade to arrive at. "Perfectionism is something that enables us to be ambitious," Natalia says, "though if you're like me, if you're an extreme perfectionist, it can destroy you as you become overrun by ideals where you're always looking for something that doesn't exist!"
Natalia isn't quite at the stage where her mad dreams are destroying her yet — rather, it seems they drive the dark edge of her aggressively up-front music and presentation. From the gauzy thump of "Mirrors" to the oddly aggro lilt of "Break You Hard," she manages to balance uncontainable aggression and atmospheric euphoria on track after track of upbeat pop — and all without using the word "party," something she considers a defiant act in today's pop climate. "What I'm going for is to make music that's emotional and honest. I mean, I grew up listening to Kate Bush, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, singing songs about making deals with God and all that. It doesn't all have to be about falling in love, meeting the right person, being in a club and being rich and dancing around!"
ROBYN + DIAMOND RINGS + NATALIA KILLS | House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston | February 4 @ 7 pm | $22.50-$37.50 | 888.693.2583 or hob.com/boston.