The album’s punchy, soaring lead single, “Get Your Wish,” arrived in early 2020, with a second, “Something Comforting,” following on March 10, just as much of the world went into lockdown. Originally intended for a September 2020 release date, Nurture was pushed back due to the pandemic, giving Robinson additional time to more or less remake the project. He wrote new songs, replaced existing music and expanded the album from 11 to 14 tracks. Writing on a piano, he composed, recorded and sang every song himself, pitching up his vocals to often sound childlike and feminine — an effect he was relieved to find out can be recreated in real time when he sings during future live performances.
Robinson performed his only set of 2020 during his livestream festival, Secret Sky, a 14-hour event he produced from the guest bedroom of his parents’ house. (“My mom was making pancakes; we had all sorts of snacks going,” he says. “It felt like the Super Bowl.”) Featuring artists like Madeon and G Jones, the show drew 4 million viewers, according to Robinson’s team. (A second iteration of Secret Sky is scheduled for April 24, with a lineup including REZZ, Boys Noize and Baauer.) Two hundred and fifty thousand people watched Robinson’s set, which closed with the buoyant single “Look at the Sky,” a song currently getting airplay on adult contemporary radio.
“I thought about almost all of Nurture through the lens of pop music in the sense that it’s verse/chorus driven,” Robinson says, “but I was never thinking radio.” It’s the song’s chorus – "look at the sky/I'm still here/I'll be alive next year" – that he believes is appealing to broader audiences during this collective moment of cautious optimism.
But as Aaron Greene, Robinson’s co-manager at Slush, says: “There isn’t a goal of being a pop star or transcending electronic music. Porter is always trying to discover what he’s most passionate about and follow that passion.”
Since finishing the album, Robinson’s focus has dedicated “basically my entire life” to designing the Nurture live show, which will hit the road when public health permits. While originally intent on making this show more melancholic to match the often sad and anxious mood of the album, “as I started putting the show together,” Robinson says, “perhaps purely as a consequence of having been in quarantine and seeing no live shows for the previous year, I kept cranking up the fun. I couldn’t stop. I made everything into a more fun version of itself.”
Surely a highlight of this live experience will be Nurture’s latest single, “Musician.” The last song Robinson wrote for the album, the song is anchored by the line “I get so excited/When I finally find it/It just gets brighter from now on,” which arrives over ecstatically chopped production. It effectively sums up his creative process, his improved sense of well-being, his brother’s remission and the global mood.