New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Laufey-twenty-one year old Icelandic-Chinese singer-songwriter, musician, cellist and pianist-recently announced her forthcoming debut EP, Typical of Me, and shared a new track entitled "Best Friend," which has already received support from the likes of Billboard and NPR Music. The announcement arrived a few months after the release of her chart-topping debut single "Street By Street" which earned praise from the likes of Billie Eilish
Smith on socials and hit #1 on Iceland Radio. Today, Laufey shares an absolutely adorable black and white music video for the track, featuring Laufey with her best friend and twin sister as they explore New York City. Watch the Blythe Thomas-directed video now below.
Laufey, who spent much of her childhood living in Reykjavik, was inspired by classical and jazz music from a young age and performed with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15. Despite her love of the music that acted as her musical foundation, she yearned to express herself with music that blended her classical background with her more modern influences. She began to collaborate with her peers at Berklee College of Music, and recorded her debut single "Street By Street" the day before campus was shut down due to COVID-19. Making the most of lockdown, she decided to proceed with self-releasing the single on her social media. The song, in addition to performance videos she posted of the song and covers, quickly went viral. Soon, Laufey's first-ever single, which showcases Laufey's intoxicating and unique blend of sophisticated jazz melodies and slow-burning R&B grooves, would hit #1 on the Icelandic Radio
Charts and earn her a massive following.
Typical of Me is an utterly charming debut from an incredibly promising and gifted young artist that suggests the best is yet to come. Pre-order Typical of Me, out April 30th.
When Laufey returned to her native Iceland last summer, the country was just as she remembered it, save for one major difference.
"I turned the radio on in the car, and suddenly my song was playing," she says. "That's when I realized something big was happening."
Something big was indeed happening, and in the months to come, Laufey would find herself topping the Icelandic radio charts, racking up hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok and Instagram, and earning support from Billie Eilish
Smith. So how does a girl from a tiny island in the North Atlantic go about taking the internet by storm? One song at a time.
Half Chinese and half Icelandic, Laufey spent much of her childhood traveling between Reykjavík and Washington, DC, where she learned to speak English with barely a trace of an accent. Inspired in part by her mother, a classical violinist, she took up piano and cello early on, but it was her father's collection of Ella Fitzgerald
and Billie Holiday albums that spoke to her on a deeper level.
"I've always loved classical music, and I'm definitely very influenced by composers like Ravel and Chopin," Laufey explains, "but when I discovered the Great American Songbook and the music of George
Gershwin and Richard Rodgers, it felt like this middle ground between jazz and classical that suited me perfectly. It was something I could love on my own terms."
Laufey dove into the music headfirst, captivated by the lush arrangements and dreamy vocals, and by her teenage years, she was already turning heads with a mesmerizing style that belied her young age. As much as she enjoyed singing the standards, though, Laufey couldn't help but feel that something was missing, and she often longed to express herself in more personal ways.
"In the classical world, it's expected that you'll follow tradition and stick to the script," she reflects.
That all changed when Laufey landed a prestigious Presidential Scholarship to Boston's Berklee College of Music, which enabled her to continue honing her virtuosic skills as a vocalist and instrumentalist while simultaneously pursuing her dreams of becoming a songwriter. Stepping out of her comfort zone and living on her own for the first time, Laufey found herself surrounded by a sea of gifted young musicians and producers at Berklee who inspired and challenged her in exciting new ways. It was a liberating environment for someone who'd spent her entire life playing by the rules, and it helped Laufey find the confidence to begin writing her own material.
"When things started blowing up on social media, I had all these young people reaching out about how the songs were resonating with them," she recalls. "A lot of kids my age had never really been exposed to this kind of music, and I just loved that I had the opportunity to introduce it to a whole new audience."
As her music climbed the charts back home in Iceland, Laufey continued writing and recording what would eventually become her debut EP, Typical of Me, laying down guitar, vocals, piano, and cello at home while her collaborators contributed parts and production remotely. Despite the considerable distance involved in its creation, the finished product is a warm and inviting collection, one that puts a modern twist on a timeless sound. Drawing on everything from Chet Baker
Vaughan to Peggy Lee
and Bill Evans, it's a confident, compelling debut full of mature meditations on loneliness and desire, doubt and resilience, acceptance and hope.