Iceland’s quest to find a representative for Eurovision 2022 starts here. A special tv-program on RÚV revealed the ten finalists and songs competing in Söngvakeppnin 2022 and aiming for the golden ticket to Turin in May.
After Daði og Gagnamagnið´s successful fourth-place finish at Eurovision 2021, the shoes to be filled are big. But broadcaster RÚV has spared no expenses in finding the perfect candidates to do so.
A total of 158 songs were submitted to Söngvakeppnin this year. These have now been whittled down to ten acts who will compete in the live shows.
The line-up consists of many relative newcomers, who have not entered the selection before. But there are a couple of veterans as well. It’s safe to say that the variety will be huge this year.
Söngvakeppnin 2022 will start with two separate semi-finals on 19 and 26 February, where once again acts must sing in Icelandic. The big grand final follows on 5 March, and here acts are permitted to switch to English if they wish too. Daði Freyr and other big Eurovision celebrities will make an appearance in the final.
So without further ado, lets meet our ten hopefuls who will battle for the love and admiration of Iceland.
Söngvakeppnin 2022: Artists and songs
Amarosis – “Don’t You Know”
The band, lead by singer, pianist and athlete Már Gunnarsson, was originally founded back in 2018, under the name Már og félagar. They later changed their name to Amarosis, as a nod to Már´s eye condition called Leber Congenital Amaurosis, which has left him legally blind. Már is a multi-talented man, for he is not only a musician, but also an Olympic athlete. He flew the Icelandic flag at the Paralympics in Tokyo last summer, where he competed in men´s swimming. He is accompanied by his big sister Ísold Wilberg, who Eurovision fans know from her performance in Söngvakeppnin 2020. She landed in fourth place along with Helga with their song “Meet Me Halfway”.
The song “Dont You Know” is written by Már and Ísold themselves and is a calm, yet upbeat anthem. According to Ísold, it compliments both of them, as she is a do-er and Már is more of a thinker. Már has had the dream of competing in Söngvakeppnin since he was a kid, but was unable to because of his career as a competitive swimmer. However, he says that during a swim practice, the lines and melody of the song sort of came to him, and there was no going back after that.
Markéta Irglová – “Possible”
Markéta Irglová is a Czech singer, songwriter, musician and actress, who has been living in Iceland since 2012, and holds dual citizenship. She first burst on to the scene in her home country when she started performing with her now ex-husband, Glen Hansard, and his band The Swell Season. Markéta is an Academy Award and Sundance Film Festival winning composer – she co-wrote the score for the indie film Once back in 2008. The song “Falling Slowly” from the film, was also nominated for the Grammy that year and Markéta has safely established herself as a respected musician in the indie music scene all over the world.
The song “Mögulegt”, or “Possible” in English, is written by Markéta herself, along with her husband Sturla Mio. It’s a soft and listenable indie/folk-rock composition, carried by Markéta’s soft vocals. She admits that before her move to Iceland in 2012, she did not know anything about Eurovision and barely acknowledged its existence, due to low or no interest in the Czech Republic at that time. But now, she is a true daughter of Iceland and is completely hooked. Also, her kids demanded she should enter a song to Söngvakeppnin and of course she, as a devoted mother, decided to do so.
Hanna Mia and the Astrotourists – “Gemini”
Hanna Mia is a young Icelandic-Swedish singer, but she has already been compared to legends such as Norah Jones and Judy Garland. Her style of music is described as a mix between jazz, blues and gospel. Back in 2018, Hanna Mia decided to start her own music project, by uploading a new song to Facebook and Youtube every day for a year. That quickly brought attention her way. Although she may not be the biggest name in the mainstream scene yet, she is bound for great things, with Eurovision hopefully the start for a brand new career.
She co-wrote her Söngvakeppnin 2022 song with the Faroese music producer Sakarias, who has been a well established electropop and rock musician for years. Originally they wrote the song as some sort of a joke and didn’t even plan to have Hanna Mia performing as she was on the verge of giving birth to her first child. But things happened quickly when RÚV approached them, and Hanna decided to step in. According to Sakarias, the song is a 60’s feel-good summer song and it fits Hanna’s voice perfectly. The pair did not put all their eggs in the same basket, as they also sent songs to both Dansk Melodi Grand Prix and Melodifestivalen. The song is called “Séns með Þér”, or “Gemini”, and it’s a slick and well-composed production. More on the melodic side, rather than the electropop one, it’s guaranteed to appeal to many listeners due to its calm and down-to-earth demeanour.
Suncity and Sanna – “Keep It Cool”
Suncity and Sanna is the alter ego of singer Sólborg and Swedish artist Sanna Martinez. Sólborg has been notable in Icelandic media for her fights for women’s rights. She was also a Söngvakeppnin contestant back in 2018, when she and Tómas Wehmeier performed the song “Ég og Þú”. Sanna has already been a songwriter for Söngvakeppnin once before in 2020, when she co-wrote the song “Echo”, which landed in fifth place.
The song is written by the veteran Eurovision composer Sveinn Rúnar Sigurðsson, who previously wrote Iceland’s entries in 2004 and 2007 – “Heaven” and “Valentines Lost”- so he is definitely no stranger to the bubble. The other composers are Valgeir Magnússon and Sólborg´s brother Davíð, who is also a well respected actor and director in Iceland.
Haffi Haff – “Volcano”
Hafsteinn Þór Guðjónsson or simply Haffi Haff, is a prominent figure in Iceland´s dance and music scene. Born to an American mother and Icelandic father, Haffi rose to fame back in the 00´s, first as a choreographer and later as a singer. This isn’t Haffi’s first stint in Söngvakeppnin, for he competed with “The Wiggle Wiggle Song” in 2008 (composed by Eurovision 2017 star Svala), which gained Haffi huge attention for his sultry vocals as well as raunchy performance. He was back again in 2010, where he so memorably jumped out of a casket in the song “Buried Alive”. He definitely gave elderly viewers a minor shock with his unhinged but fun-filled performance.
The song “Gía”, or “Volcano”, is written by Steinar Jóhannesson, Sigurður Ásgeirsson and Haffi himself. It’s a mix between Icelandic folk music and electropop dance. Haffi is a performer with the capital “P” and will undoubtedly give us something unique, sexy and whimsical on the stage later this month. He has promised us a dance to the song, and has also promised that the dance is both easy and fun, with “fun” being the keyword. “This is suppose to be fun, fun, fun! We need a little pick-me-up and Iceland loves to dance!” says Haffi, ready ready to bring down the house.
Stefanía Svavarsdóttir – “Heart Of Mine”
Stefanía Svavarsdóttir is also no stranger to Söngvakeppnin, having competed both as a solo artist as well as member of singing groups on numerous times in the past. She is a powerhouse of a singer and has been a regular in various concert shows, such as tribute shows to Meatloaf, ABBA and Tina Turner, as well as being a vocal teacher and working with most, if not every single big name singer in Iceland.
The song “Hjartað Mitt”, or “Heart of Mine”, is written by Halldór Óli Pálsson, who says it’s written as an ode to his daughter and Magnús Þór Sigmundsson, who is one of Iceland´s most respectable and popular lyricists of all time (no joke!). Stefanía says that she didn’t think twice when Halldór approached her. The song hit all her feels, which will reflect off of her performance on stage and make her sing from her heart.
Reykjavíkurdætur – “Turn This Around”
Enter the all-female rap band Reykjavíkurdætur, who have been playfully ruffling conservative feathers with their raunchy and in-your-face songs and performances. They’ve been praising feminism and the power of womanhood since forming the band back in 2013. The girls have various backgrounds, such as actresses, singers, feminist moguls and more. The number of band members can be from three and up to nine, with today’s line-up consisting of nine key members. The girls are not afraid to delve into all topics in their lyrics, having called out body shaming, gender inequality and other fiery and sensitive subjects. They once even managed to make Ágústa Eva (aka Silvia Night) storm out of a tv-set, due to her finding their lyrics offensive and provoking. Each to their own, I guess…
Their Söngvakeppnin 2022 song is written and composed by Reykjavíkurdætur themselves. They admit that they had enormous fun writing the song, as they lived in a commune of some sort with their kids for a week while writing it. They wanted that feeling of change in the lyrics, as well as a song that makes people want to dance. Reykjavíkurdætur have been long-time fans of Söngvakeppnin and have dreamed of participating for years. Now they finally have the chance to do so. Will there be Icelandic female rap on stage in Turin?
Katla – “Then Again”
Katla Njálsdóttir is a young singer and performs the song “Þaðan Af”, or “Then Again”. Katla is also an actress and perceptive viewers might know her as Andri´s older daughter from the hit noir tv-series Trapped. Her stint in music has not been long, but she is destined to bring on the heat and will definitely shine bright on stage at RVK Studios later this month.
Kristinn Óli Haraldsson, Jóhann Damian Patreksson, Hafsteinn Þráinnsson and Snorri Beck are the men behind this smooth indie-number. Kristinn Óli and Jóhann gained huge popularity in Iceland when they performed as the rap duo Jói Pé og Króli. In later years, Kristinn Óli has turned more and more to acting and Jóhann (who is the Icelandic President’s nephew – Fun Fact) has been composing and producing. But they know their stuff and this collaboration is bound to bring some magic to the stage.
Stefán Óli – “All I Know”
If there is anybody who is completely brand new on the scene in the line-up for Söngvakeppnin 2022, its Stefán Óli. The 28 year old gained attention when he started uploading his covers of Ed Sheeran and Adele onto Facebook and YouTube. He released his first solo single “Dreymir Drauma” in December last year. H his music is exactly that – dreamy and melodic with strong vocals.
The song is written and composed by Andri Þór Jónsson and Birgir Steinn Stefánsson, and is called “Ljósið” or “The Light”. They first caught glimpse of Stefán on Instagram and say that the song was written specifically for his voice. Stefán himself is excited and says it’s fun to try different and more challenging things. We see great things ahead for this young man.
Sigga, Beta og Elín (Sísí Ey) – “Með hækkandi sól”
As a prominent and popular band from the Icelandic indie-pop and folk-pop scene, it was only a matter of time before Sísí Ey would dip their toe into Söngvakeppnin and Eurovision. The band consists of three sisters – Sigga, Elísabet and Elín – who are known for their beautiful and hypnotising voices. The girls are no stranger to the music scene, as their parents Ellen Kristjánsdóttir and Eyþór Gunnarsson are both hugely popular and well respected in Iceland. Ellen for her vocals, and Eyþór for his production work as well as playing piano for many of Iceland´s most famous bands, including the 80’s jazz funk fusion band Mezzoforte.
The song is composed and written by Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir, who has performed under her artist name LayLow, and it has Sísí Ey´s trademark sound of beautiful vocals and mesmerising sound. Its called “Með Hækkandi Sól” or “Rising Sun”, and it’s the only song in Söngvakeppnin 2022 that will solely be in Icelandic.
Which is your early favourite from the Söngvakeppnin 2022 songs? Will Iceland reach another top five spot at Eurovision 2022? Comment your thoughts below.