The Beyoncé effect: 'Break My Soul' propels '90s star Robin S and the Great Resignation

·4 min read
A woman in a black dress and gloves accepts a music award onstage
Beyonce accepts the award for R&B performance for "Black Parade" at the 63rd Grammy Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 14, 2021. (Chris Pizzello / Invision/AP)

Nineties hitmaker Robin S is basking in the glory of the Beyoncé effect, a phenomenon that Bey's new single "Break My Soul" has bestowed upon the veteran artist.

Another winner — or loser, depending on how you look at it — is the Great Resignation. (More on that in a bit.)

Beyoncé samples Robin S's hit single "Show Me Love" on her new track "Break My Soul," a liberating house jam that hails from Bey's forthcoming studio album, "Renaissance." And the ’90s star is getting a lot of love nearly three decades later.

Robin S didn't seem to know that the Grammy winner or her team would use the 1993 hit, but she didn't seem to mind either.

"It doesn’t have to be confirmed. A singer knows her songs," she said Wednesday on ITV’s "Good Morning Britain." (The S stands for Stone, her last name.)

The "Shout Out Loud" singer said her son alerted her to "Show Me Love's" inclusion after it started trending upon the new song's release.

“My son called me and he’s like, ‘Mom, Mom. You’re trending all over the place,’” she said. “You know, 'Beyoncé put her song out and it’s ‘Show Me Love’, and you’re trending everywhere.'"

Robin S said she hoped that she and Bey "could do a collab together, you know, that's always a dream." But for now, it seems as though she's just happy to be Bey-recognized.

"This is Robin S, and this message goes out to the Queen Bey herself, Beyoncé, to Jay-Z, to the entire team,” she added. "Thank you so much for giving me my flowers while I’m still alive. I am honored, and I’m excited to see what else can happen.”

The veteran artist — whose other songs include "Shout It Loud" and "Luv 4 Luv" — is currently traveling through North America and Europe on a sold-out tour through August.

According to TMZ, "Break My Soul" is giving her new business opportunities and revenue streams. The singer-songwriter told the site that record labels, corporations and other artists have reached out and want to work with her. Her team's phones are ringing nonstop with inquiries about licensing her "Show Me Love" master recordings, TMZ said.

Back in ’93, Robin S held down a full-time job in Long Island as secretary to former Mayor James Garner of Hempstead, N.Y., but took a leave of absence to promote her debut single, The Times reported at the time.

The song eventually climbed to the No. 5 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 and has since been rerecorded and sampled by other artists, including Jason Derulo on "Don't Wanna Go Home" and Charlie XCX on "Used to Know Me."

In the ’90s, Robin S scoffed at the "overnight success" descriptor used to convey her breakthrough with "Show Me Love," which she recorded with Big Beat/Atlantic Records.

"That’s one long, long overnight — about 16 years,” she said at the time, noting that she got her start performing in church choirs, then singing R&B and jazz in clubs in the New York area for years.

“I’m very religious, so I was praying hard that something would happen,” she said. “But if it didn’t I was prepared for that too, to just go on singing where I could, in clubs or wherever. I just love singing in front of people. Gather some people in a basement and I’d sing for them.”

Needless to say, her old administrative position was eclipsed by her artistic endeavors — a serendipitous foreshadow for Bey's "Break My Soul," which is currently being dubbed an anthem for the Great Resignation labor trend because of its lyrics on employee burnout and quitting a job.

"Break My Soul" was produced and co-written by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, who helped create Beyoncé’s smash “Single Ladies." It also includes a prominent sample of the song "Explode" by New Orleans bounce artist Big Freedia, whose rap-ode on the track urges listeners to "release your mind" and "release your job."

“It’s been interesting the extent to which the phenomenon has seeped into the zeitgeist,” Nick Bunker, an economist at job site Indeed, told CNBC on Tuesday.

The song, Bunker said, “is one instance of a broader public awareness or discussion about people quitting their jobs, which is reflective of what’s happening in the labor market and society."

Having already garnered more than 6.8 million views since its release late Monday, the lyric video for "Break My Soul" is currently ranked No. 1 on YouTube for trending music videos.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.