Icelandic singer songwriter Hafdís Huld has an international fanbase in over 65 countries, which has seen her songs garner over 11.5 million streams on Spotify alone.
Additionally her music features in a variety of compilations, and advertising campaigns around Europe. Hafdís has had a number of singles chart at the top spot in her home country, as well as a remix which went to number 1 on the HypeM remix chart, and she also regularly provides guest vocals for other artists. Hafdís’ tours sell out, and she has racked up thousands of views on her online gigs, which she broadcasts from her front room. Additionally, she has recently completed her first live performance tour of China.
Hafdís Huld has released seven albums, and has changed her look to match the mood of each. This has enabled her to keep a relatively low profile:
“I divide my time between writing, recording and performing, taking care of our young daughter and looking after our chickens. Most days you’ll find me wearing thick wooly socks and no makeup. It’s not very rock and roll, is it?”
Huld has been compared to Cerys Matthews (Steve Lamacq, BBC 6 Music), and her music has been described by The Guardian as “sweetly melancholic folk.” Her soft, pure vocals are also quite reminiscent of Katie Melua.
Born in Reykjavik, Hafdís toured and recorded from the age of 15 with the iconic Icelandic electro-collective, Gus Gus. She left the band after two world tours, and collaborated with chill-out electronic outfit, FC Kahuna, co-writing and performing on the classics, ‘Hayling’, and ‘Machine Say Yes’. Hafdís later studied music at the London Centre Of Contemporary Music, and graduated with distinction in 2006. She contributed vocals on Tricky’s 2008 album, ‘Knowle West Boy’.
Hafdís Huld’s most recent studio album, ‘Variations’, was released earlier this year, and is a collection of her own takes on songs by other artists. Hafdís and producer Alisdair Wright created simple arrangements, which draw the attention to the lyrics, thus revealing stories which reveal darker undercurrents beneath the smooth surface.
Tracks have been digitally released, two at a time, from February 1, until an entire album has been built by 26 April. Huld is consistently considerate of her fans, and therefore her mailing list were able to buy pre-release copies of the physical album two months before the start of the digital releases.
Huld has covered the likes of power ballad giants Dolly Parton, Tina Turner, Queen (‘I Want To Break Free’ is given a light symphonic treatment which causes it to be almost unrecognisable), and Whitney Houston.
Unexpected songs include ‘Songs Of Love’ (aka ‘The Father Ted Theme’) by The Divine Comedy, as well as covers of tracks from Loudon Wainwright III, Boo Hewerdine, and an incredible guitar-led rendition of the Barry White classic, ‘You’re The First, The Last, My Everything’.
Hafdís explained the choices of tracks:
“Stories are what interest me and each one of these has a great story to tell. When you’re not distracted by musical fireworks, a surprisingly different message can emerge from the lyrics.”