Jazz for a new era

Laufey reveals his romantic soul in the song “Fragile” from his album Everything I Know About Love.

AT an era of a global glut of pop and rap, of those yearning for slower music, hopeless romantics chasing the bygone, and old souls who feel they were born too late, there is a compulsion to seek solace in the music of past centuries. .

While these people may be few and far between in the Coachella-going crowd, they do exist, as evidenced by the meteoric rise of singer-songwriter Laufey Lyn Jonsdottir in just two years.

Better known as Laufey (pronounced “Lay-vay”), the Icelandic-Chinese singer’s rising prominence in the music industry can be traced back to her debut single “Street by Street” taking off on TikTok after she released it during pandemics. in 2020.

“I just started writing music right before the pandemic hit and I wrote ‘Street by Street’ and recorded on the last day of campus before we were all told to leave because of COVID,” the singer said. sun.

The single was the first song Laufy wrote, and it combined her favorite elements of jazz and pop to tell the story of something that meant a lot to her.

“I had this moment when I lived in Boston where I was very homesick and I was a little sad; the boy somehow broke my heart a little, ”she recalled.

“I remember hating the city because of him. Everything reminded me of not feeling well, and I wanted to claim ownership of the city again. I wrote this to do this and also take charge of my life.”

Go with the flow

Currently based in Los Angeles, 23-year-old Laufey has made it her goal to introduce older styles of music to a younger and newer audience, but that’s not how her journey seems to have started.

When she first released “Street by Street,” Laufey was a student at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and when she majored in cello, she admitted, “I had no idea what I wanted to do.”

The release of the single was a spontaneous decision that Laufey made for fun because she was stuck at home during the lockdown and didn’t expect anything really to come from the release. Instead, the debut single made a splash on both Instagram and TikTok, especially the latter.

In 2021, Laufy released several more singles followed by an EP. Typical for me.

Now she is preparing to release All I know about loveLaufey’s debut full-length album in August, which she will support with a sold-out tour of North America and Europe.

No. Absolutely no clue. I probably should have believed in myself a little more,” Laufey chuckled when asked if she knew Street by Street would lead to all of this.

musical roots

Born to an Icelandic father and a Chinese mother, Laufey was introduced to music at a very young age, as her mother (and grandfather) were both classically trained violinists.

“My mother was born in [China’s Cultural Revolution], and they weren’t allowed to play Western classical music or any Western music for many years. They instilled in me this love of being able to create any kind of music that I want, and it’s really amazing,” she explained.

As far as Icelanders are concerned, Laufey, like many other musicians from Iceland, was encouraged from a very young age to be as creative as possible when it comes to learning and experimenting with music.

“I think growing up on an isolated island like Iceland gave me a sense of travel. The landscape itself is like a fairyland. My brain has always been elsewhere and my music reflects that.”

While Laufey’s music doesn’t sound “very new,” it incorporates elements of new music, which she hints is part of why so many young people – Generation Z – listen to her songs, which she describes as contemporary. . jazz.

“[Jazz is] kind of like another world that reminds a lot of people, or at least me, of old movies, the holidays, or good times with my grandparents,” she says, and according to Laufey, this is why her fans are so fond of her music.

“I think after or during the pandemic, reality has been so bleak at times that there’s a sort of focus on wanderlust or another world that’s a bit hyper-romantic.”

Change over time

Listening to “Street by Street” and the recently released “Fragile”, the singles showcase a growth in her vocals and music that Laufey says was subconscious but natural.

On her upcoming full-length album, Laufy will follow the vocal and musical progression you would expect from someone of her caliber.

“There are songs on this new album that I have written with much more experience and time. It was definitely a natural progression, along with a production that I learned a lot more about and became more involved with,” she says.

“He’s gotten bigger and more mature, but in the lyrics he’s still very similar to me. I think my fans will really like it because it’s very distinctly me, just a little more mature.”

In addition to continuing to invent modern jazz for Gen Z, Laufey hopes to raise the standard of jazz, so to speak.

“As much as I love them, [old jazz songs were] written by old people in the 30s with very old fashioned stories. Some of these songs have very derogatory lyrics towards women,” she said.

This is the narrative Laufey hopes to change by making jazz music something people can consume and create in 2022.

“I like to say that my songs often sound like they are old, but the stories are very new. This is a story about modern women and what we’re going through.”