Monday, February 08, 2016

10 Questions For: ALDA


Interview time! We had the honor of talking to one of the best new talents rising in Iceland. We were already in love with her mellow and delicate voice, and after this interview, we are also crazy about her joyful and sweet (but, at the same time, strong and decided) personality. These are our 10 questions for ALDA:

Sounds European!: Tell us a bit about your personal relationship with music. Who were your idols when you were growing up? And nowadays, what artists do you admire? When did you start singing? And what were your first steps as a professional singer?

ALDA: I grew up with a lot of music. My mom sang a lot and my father plays the piano, so music surrounded my house all the time. My idols were Birgitta Haukdal, Selma Björns, Jóhanna Guðrún, Céline Dion and Whitney Houston. I still love them all so much more. I admire everyone who has the guts to follow their dreams. My mom says I started singing before I could talk, so I guess very early. My first steps as a professional singer were last summer, after I won Iceland Got Talent, when I decided to do an album.

SE!: You were the winner of the second season of Ísland Got Talent. How did you decide to take part of the show? What are your best memories of it? What did you learn with your participation? And how did you feel when you won?

A: My aunt was constantly encouraging me to participate, so I signed up and there was no turning back after that. I am very glad she pushed me! I learned so much. It was good to learn how to work with the cameras. That will help me a lot in Söngvakeppnin. The whole experience is a memory that I will never forget and the feeling when I won was indescribable. I am a big competitor, so it was a huge personal win for me also because, before I competed, I was losing faith in myself to ever becoming a singer. Now, I believe in myself and I promised myself I would never lose that.

SE!: We feel pop music in Iceland has a very distinct identity, and it's very hard to escape from it. At the same time, your music seems to break that barrier. It sounds, to us, much more international than the usual for your country. How would you describe the music you produce? And how would you like people to identify your work?

A: Thank you so much! It is not easy to sound "different" these days, especially when it comes to pop music. I try to write music that everyone can relate to, one way or the other. I also like to change it up between ballads and upbeat songs and all my songs also reflect on personal experiences.

SE!: Iceland is – continentally speaking – a country which is small and slightly isolated from other nations. How is it to develop a music career in a country like Iceland? Is it possible to make a living from music only with the Icelandic audience, or is it usually needed to expand your work to other countries?

A: It is both very easy and difficult at the same time. It is easy to get noticed because the country is so small, but it's very hard to make a decent living because of the small market. It's a blessing and a curse at the same time. Eventually, everyone is looking into expanding to other countries and so will I.

SE!: You are not only a singer, but also a songwriter. Do you think it is important for an artist to take part of the creation of the content for his/her music? How is your process of writing? And what topics do you like to write about?

A: Like I mentioned above, I write music that is about personal experiences, but at the same time I try to write it in a way that everyone can relate to. I think it is very important to have some kind of influence on the creation of a song, whether it's just the lyrics or the instrumentation or the production.

"I was losing faith in myself to ever becoming a singer. Now, I believe in myself and I promised myself I would never lose that"
(Picture: official Facebook page)

SE!: Your songs are mostly in Icelandic, but you have also performed in English (we love your version of "Chandelier" on Got Talent, for example). Do you intend to produce singles in English? And how do you see the matter of languages in music?

A: I decided to do my first album in Icelandic because I knew the people of Iceland would appreciate it and it makes it sound more authentic. However, I am definitely intending to release music in English, I guess "Now" will be the first official song in English that will be out. But apart from that, I usually even write my songs in English!

SE!: You are taking part of this year's Söngvakeppnin, the Icelandic National Final for Eurovision Song Contest. How did this chance appear to you? How would you feel about representing your country on Eurovision? Also, tell us a bit about your song, "Augnablik".

A: I have always wanted to participate and I have been offered to do vocals on different songs, but never found the right one. I decided to partner up with great songwriters and we planned on writing the perfect Eurovision song for me. Alma [Guðmundsdóttir] and Jimmy [Wong] ended up writing the song since I was so busy working on my album, so I only touched the Icelandic lyrics – but I couldn't have been happier with the results. The song is about embracing every moment and not focusing on the past or the future. It's all about living in the current moment we have, right here right now! Ohh and I would love to represent Iceland in Eurovision!

SE!: If you could choose anyone, who would be some Icelandic and international artists you'd like to collaborate with?

A: I would love to work with talented writers and performers like Ed Sheeran, Adele and Sam Smith.

SE!: We know you must currently be fully focused on Söngvakeppnin and Eurovision. But, other than that, what are your professional projects for the near future? What can your fans expect?

A: I am just trying to write more music in my free time and I hope I will get the chance to come and perform internationally in the near future.

SE!: We would like to post a song of yours to close this interview. What is your favorite song of yourself, and why?

A: My favorite song is "Við tvær". It is about my grandmother that I never got to know. It is the most personal song on my album and therefore my favorite. I hold it very close to my heart. Thank you for the interview, Sounds European!.

This song doesn't have an official video on YouTube, but you can listen to it either on Spotify, or buying her album.

Here is a translation of the song, it sounds better if you know Icelandic:

Swinging in the clouds
I'm all alone in the world
enjoying the stillness and the calmness

The air warms my skin
it's not cold where I am
the colors remind me of you

So I'm swinging back and forth, trying to reach the stars
there is one up there that I love

She keeps me safe and sound,
and always when I'm dreaming
she's standing on both her feet
leading me through this world I'm in

Us two, we laugh together
but there is only one heart beating
because the stories I've heard of you
are memories that others told me

As a child, I pretended to know you
you could always comfort me
life is such a complicated thing

I know you will always guide my way
you're in my heart wherever I go
It will be like we're together on a journey

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