Alma Guðmundsdóttir is one of the newcomers in this year’s Söngvakeppnin, Iceland’s Eurovision selection. She co-wrote Alda Dís’ “Now” (originally “Augnablik”) with James Wong (pictured). The song is one of the favourites in this year’s competition, easily qualifying from last week’s second semi-final. We caught up with Alma ahead of tonight’s final

Alda Dís Söngvakeppnin 2016 semi-final two

Alma is no stranger to the Icelandic music scene. She first became popular as part of the girl band Nylon in 2004. The group rebranded as The Charlies in 2011 and moved to Los Angeles in a bid to crack America. However, the band split in 2015. Alma remained in L.A., working as a singer-songwriter.

So what made you enter Söngvakeppnin this year? Have you tried out for it before?

This is the first time I’ve sent a song to the competition, but I think I’ve always had the idea of entering in the back of my mind. I guess I’ve just been waiting for the right timing and circumstances.

You wrote the song along with James Wong, how did you first meet?

James and I first met when we were both working with our bands in L.A. But it wasn’t until James started working in music production and I started working on songwriting that we met in the studio, and we’ve now worked on some different projects together.

Interview with Alma and Alda Dís at Songvakeppnin 2016

Why did you choose Alda Dís to perform the song?

My friend Steinunn, who has been working along with another friend of mine Soffía as Alda’s managers, came up with the idea that me and James would write a song for her. Alda had just won Iceland’s Got Talent so I thought it was a brilliant idea, especially after I heard her sing. Before writing “Augnablik” I had worked with Alda and Stop Wait Go (the songwriters of last years Icelandic entry) on a song that was on her debut album.

What’s the story behind the song?

We wanted to write an honest and emotional song people could connect with. Something that could evoke optimism and warmth. That was our goal and the outcome was the song “Now”. I wrote the Icelandic lyrics along with Alda after it was chosen to be a part of Söngvakeppnin. The song is about enjoying the moment and live in the present, and not to think too much about the past or the future.

When me and James started working on the song the idea wasn’t really to write a Eurovision song. Especially because James didn’t have a clue what Eurovision was, coming from New Zealand and living in USA. So I showed him some clips on YouTube of former Eurovision winners, just to give him an idea of what the contest is all about.

Alda Dís “Now”

If you make it all the way to Stockholm have you made some plans about changing the song, for example the language?

The song was originally written in English and to be honest it was a bit difficult to make the Icelandic lyrics. But when I heard Alda sing the song in Icelandic I was happy with the outcome. Nevertheless the English version will be the final version if we make it all the way to Stockholm.

Finally, do you have a message for wiwibloggs readers?

Thanks to all those who’ve listened to the song and supported us all. We are extremely happy with the positive feedback the song has received. May the best song win.