Another year, another Eurovision final that Iceland failed to reach.
Eurovision 2017 marked the third straight year that a female solo artist from Iceland got booted in the semi-finals. So it’s time for a serious strategy meeting ahead of Eurovision 2018.
With hope in the air and our best intentions at heart, here are six acts we’d like Iceland to consider ahead of the next Eurovision season.
This electric/indie pop band formed in 2013 and went on to win Músíktilraunir — a long-running competition that seeks to find new bands and singers. Since then they’ve made a name for themselves both at home and abroad. Its versatile musicians all play more than one instrument — the lead vocalist Margrét Rán Magnúsdóttir, for instance, plays guitar and piano. And while live instruments aren’t allowed on the Eurovision stage, the point is that they are solid when it comes to delivering live.
Hypnotizing and catchy, their experimental electro sound may not spring to mind when you think of Iceland at Eurovision. But VÖK deserves a chance to show another side of Icelandic pop. Should they enter Iceland’s national final, they’d likely choose an atmospheric song like “Waiting”. It’s a slow burn, but they can tweak their style and bring that high-impact moment.
Stony — also known as Þorsteinn Sindri Baldursson — is a man of many projects. A rapper, a singer, an actor, a drummer and a producer, he’s already tasted international success with Nickelodeon’s TV series “Hunter’s Street” and Pepsi’s 2014 World Cup campaign “Now Is What You Make It.” In the latter he starred alongside Janelle Monae and Lionel Messi.
“Stony is ICELANDIC?” you say? Hell yes, he is! Born in Reykjavík to an Icelandic father and a Cuban mother, he caught the world’s attention in 2013 when he did a loop cover of Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us”. He has also done some work for College Humor under the name SteffComedy. If convinced to represent Iceland at Eurovision, maybe he’ll give us something like his infectious hit “Feel Good”.
Y’all want something super Icelandic? Look no further than Jón Jónsson, a musician á la grande. He’s got some vague connections to Eurovision for he is the older brother of Friðrik Dór — 2015 Söngvakeppni runner-up and one of María Ólafs’ backing singers in Vienna. His music can be described as feel-good and uplifting, and many might think Stevie Wonder and Philip Philips. I certainly do!
Jón is also just a standout guy. He’s the epitome of the healthy musician. He’s a father, a husband and a savvy businessman with a degree in business administration. He leads courses for teenagers on how to handle and save money. And he plays the guitar like it ain’t no thing. He could melt the hearts of even the meanest people with his smile and his down to earth manner — a very useful trait at a pop music contest.
OK, I know that female solo artists don’t seem to be working for Iceland, but let’s blame it on the song, the staging and the execution — not the gender! I cannot look past Glowie. Known to her friends as Sara Pétursdóttir, she began her stint in music at the tender age of 18, when she won Söngkeppni Framhaldsskólanna — a singing competition where many of Iceland’s Eurovision stars begin their careers. Singing her Icelandic cover of Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love”, she won the hearts of both the jury and the public and became a star in the process.
After her victory, she quit school and took on the stage name Glowie and has won plenty of local fans with her calm and catchy and Zara Larson-esque music style. Her collaboration with aforementioned Stony and StopWaitGo, the producers behind “Unbroken”, gave Iceland its 2015 summer hit “No More”. She’s inching towards international fame, having signed a contract with Colombia and was one of Justin Bieber’s warm-up acts at the British Summertime Festival in Hyde Park. A star is rushing out of the birth canal. Catch her while she’s hot, Iceland!
After hitting the scene back in 2012 with his album “Dýrð í dauðaþögn”, Ásgeir Trausti or simply Asgeir became Iceland’s biggest star. He was everywhere! His reputation reached beyond the island: he released “Dýrð í dauðaþögn” in English as “In the Silence” with the help of the American musician John Grant, who was the lyricist behind Pollapönk’s “No Prejudice” (the last Icelandic song to reach the grand final at Eurovision).
After catching a super fast rocket to stardom, Ásgeir decided to take a little break and went on hiatus, working on new music, which he has now released on his latest album “Afterglow”. Ásgeir’s musical style is somewhat similar to Sigurós, although maybe a bit more fast paced. He is a calm and collected guy, and would definitely make his country proud at Eurovision, given the chance.
Looking for dream-filled melodies that take you to a safe place with mountains, lakes and serenity? Then take a look at Axel Flóvent, who is like the 2017 male version of Enya. Axel might not be the biggest name that Iceland has, but he sure is one of the most talented musicians in the country. Back in 2014, he was only a 19-year-old art student when he signed a contract with the British record company Trellis Records, after catching their attention during his off venue performance at Iceland Airwaves. Axel wrote his first known song “Beach” when he was working in a hotel as a dishwasher, and soon became more and more popular in the Icelandic indie scene.
He is a multi-tasker, and writes, sings, plays and produces all of his work himself. After landing his record deal he went on a small tour around the UK, accompanied by his half-brother Þórir. If Salvador Sobral could bring home Portugal’s long-awaited first victory with his laid-back and heartfelt performance, whose to say that Axel can’t do the same for Iceland?
That’s what I think. What do you think? Who would you love to hear sing at Eurovision 2018 for Iceland?