Airwaves Artists: BRÍET

 In Culture, Interview, Magazine, Magazine Intro
Iceland Airwaves music festival celebrated its 20th anniversary this November. To mark the event, Iceland Review interviewed a few of this year’s performers.

A rising star who’s made a strong debut, BRÍET is a perfect example of the kind of artist Airwaves aims to showcase. Her first independent release caught the attention of Icelandic producer Pálmi Ragnar Ásgeirsson a couple of years ago. “He didn’t call me right away or anything, he just started to follow what I was doing. Then I was at a party and this girl told me that Pálmi really wanted to work with me. I was like ‘Pálmi, who is that?’ and then I realised he’s really big in Iceland.”

The two eventually set up a meeting and got to work in the studio. Their first collaboration, In Too Deep, landed BRÍET a gig at Sónar Reykjavík music festival in Iceland’s prestigious concert hall, Harpa. It was a big step for the artist. “I was always in bars and coffee shops just singing jazz in the corner, and now all of a sudden I had to perform and talk and stuff. The whole time backstage I was like ‘What am I doing here?’ But I had so much fun.”

Though BRÍET is hardly a shy performer now, she says it wasn’t always easy to speak her mind in the studio. “It’s really hard for a 17-year-old girl to say her opinion, sitting in a room with three men who know everything about the industry and know what you’re supposed to do and what works. It was hard for me to believe my own ideas were good enough. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great guys and they were helping me, but it’s still hard. But now, we’re really good friends and we can talk about everything. It’s changed a lot.”

BRÍET says Reykjavík is an exciting place to be during Airwaves. “It’s a really great festival and there’s so much to see. So, it’s fun just to walk between venues and see something that you know and then you’re maybe waiting for a certain act and you see something unexpectedly awesome or something really weird, or maybe you’re at a library and there’s a rock band playing. I heard it’s the first time there’s an equal number of women and men performing at the festival. Of course, that’s positive but it’s strange that it’s only happening now.”

With lyrics that often reflect her own experiences in life and love, BRÍET’s songs range from pop ballads to dance hits with an R&B feel. “It can be difficult to go up on stage with this material because sometimes you’re pepping people up, and next thing you’re like putting them to sleep. But I don’t think that’s going to change. I find it difficult to just stick to one thing.”

Though the young songwriter has some ideas about where she wants her career to go, she says she doesn’t dwell on the future. “It’s really hard to plan ahead. For example, I never thought I would be playing Airwaves this year, and yet here I am. You can’t plan for it, it just happens.”

Read the full article in the latest issue of Iceland Review Magazine. Subscribe here to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Iceland Review is the longest running English-language magazine, presenting Iceland’s community, culture, and nature since 1963.

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