Nurture is the act of tending something frail into blossom; of patiently caring for something so it may grow. No wonder acclaimed producer/songwriter Porter Robinson turned to this word for the title of his second album. A joyous, brave explosion of electronic ideas, introspection and melody, Nurture took six long years of care amid crisis to flower into existence. Nursing it to life meant overcoming existential panic, creative drought, depression and family illness. “It really was an extensive period of just total emotional struggle,” says the North Carolina-based artist, who recounts “literally crying in the studio and in therapy sessions, thinking my life was over.” Nurture is made up of songs he found on the other side: catchy, adventurous, uplifting diaries of his own path back to happiness, each one imploring listeners suffering their own periods of hardship to hold on, to battle through. “I want this music to be helpful to those people,” says the 27-year-old, who evolved his musical style on Nurture, rewiring his epic electro-pop fantasias of old into something intimate, raw and for the first time, driven by the producer’s own vocals. It’s a remarkable sound – and one that took a remarkable journey to reach.
Robinson first emerged in 2010, exploding onto the dance scene with frenetic, fist-pumping productions meant for electro-house basement raves. Four years later came his debut album, Worlds, which established him as one of the most restlessly creative new names in electronic pop – a visionary crafter of “gorgeous textures, contemplative storytelling and remarkably sharp melodies,” to quote the New York Times. His success didn’t stop there: in 2016, he released the RIAA Gold-certified single ‘Shelter’ with Madeon, backed by an anime video created in collaboration with A-1 Pictures and Crunchyroll that’s since amassed over 50m views. A Shelter Live Tour spanning 43 dates and five continents followed before, in October 2017, a new chapter of Robinson’s career began: ‘Eon Break’, his first single under the alias Virtual Self, signalled a growing interest in interdisciplinary art and Y2K trance. The project was another hit, earning the producer his first ever Grammy nomination.