With her debut album beckoning and the successful release of a new single, we've been speaking to Icelandic singer songwriter Árný about that single, the themes behind her album and a few other topics relating to Icelandic music.
NMR: So you've just released your new single 'Nowhere I'd rather be', can you explain to us more about the track please??
Yes, so it is the first single from my upcoming album, and it is like the rest of the album about allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Cause there is strength in vulnerability.
NMR: I always try and avoid the question about 'influences' but I hear both folk and pop qualities in your voice, so which singers in particular did you listen to as you were growing up?
I am definitely under the influence of both. Growing up I mainly listened to Icelandic folk singers like Ragga Gröndal, Eivör (although she is not Icelandic but from Faroe Islands) and Emiliana Torrini. I loved the closeness and the details in their expression. Later I got interested in a singing technique that allowed me to use a much bigger range of my voice than before which released an inner pop diva that had apparently been hiding inside my quiet exterior. Now I try to combine the two.
NMR: You're in the midst of recording a new album, so how's that progressing?
We are far along in the recording process. I haven’t decided on a definite release date but it will be early next year. You can follow the progress on facebook.com/musicbyarny and instagram.com/musicbyarny.
NMR: And are there any particular themes in the album that you can tell us about yet?
The album in whole is about overcoming inner barriers. Because I at least so often feel like something is in my way but when I look closer it’s only my own thoughts that are. I studied psychology (and I am a bit of a nerd) and I am amazed by how much our thoughts can limit us. And when facing our limitations we are exposing our weakness but at the same time showing a lot of strength so I feel like there is a struggle between strength and vulnerability throughout the album.
NMR: It looks like you've recently shot your 1st music video, how did that feel?
I was for some reason very nervous! I cried, yes cried actual tears before performing in front of the crew but it ended up being really fun and interesting.
NMR I think people in the UK are always intrigued in the depth in quality within Icelandic music, where do you think this strength coming from? Its a huge frustration to me that music isn't more central in education within UK schools for example, and I'm wondering if that's a key difference between Iceland and the UK, or if it's something far more natural than that?
Good question, I don’t really know. I have heard the explanation that kids in Iceland have a lot of freedom growing up so many bands are formed in many garages. NMR: You've performed at Sofar Sounds recently, it's a brilliant concept, did you enjoy it?
I loved it, the intimate atmosphere is so wonderful. I do recommend it.
NMR: The world seems a pretty dark place right now, and whilst 50 years ago musicians had a huge role in leading protest movements and influencing change, it doesn't always feel that way any more. Do you feel that musicians can still have that style of influence in a modern world?
I think they can influence change. For example, for the past years women in music in Iceland have been putting their hands together working towards gender equality within the music industry.
NMR: Given that you're 'on the ground' in Iceland, can you tell us about any other young or new Icelandic singer songwriters that we should be looking out for?
So many - for example Auður, Vök, East of my youth, Una Stef, GDRN, Hildur ...and many more. I think you already know Ásgeir and Axel Flóvent.
NMR: Thank you so much for your time today, when Is the album likely to be out?
Thank you! Early next year so stay tuned!