Singer Ásdís Pops in Germany

Singer Ásdís María Viðarsdóttir

Ásdís María Viðarsdóttir, known professionally as Ásdís, has become a mainstay of the Germany pop charts and performed at the Brandenburg Gate to ring in the new year.

In a radio interview with Rás 2 this weekend, the singer discussed her career, with an upcoming supporting gig for pop star Zara Larsson in Reykjavík and two songwriting credits in Söngvakeppnin, the Icelandic Eurovision preliminaries. “It’s mostly been an incredibly good journey, but also an incredible amount of work,” she said.

Musical influence from her family

Ásdís has been performing publicly since she was young with her first big gig coming in the upper secondary school song competition, which she won in 2013. Growing up in the Breiðholt neighbourhood of Reykjavík, she credits her older siblings as musical influences. “I know I was a real brat, because as fun as I think it is to sing, it’s even more fun to talk,” she said.

Her father was her biggest supporter in music and after he passed away in 2016, she decided to take the leap and move to Berlin to study music. “It was his biggest dream that I become Elvis,” she said, adding that moving away from her mother to another country has been difficult.

Gold record hits

After seven years in Berlin, she’s made a career for herself as a songwriter and performer in Germany’s pop music industry, earning multiple gold records for her hits. Her recent songs include “Beat of Your Heart” with Grammy award-winning DJ and producer Purple Disco Machine, while her televised New Year’s Eve performance at Brandenburg Gate was an added honour.

She said that she felt that her career was on the right track these days and that she enjoys performing. “It’s been a through line in my life and I’ve come to understand now that I have to do it, especially in light of my upbringing,” she said. “If not for me, then for my parents.”

Diljá Chosen to Represent Iceland in Eurovision

diljá iceland eurovision

Diljá will be the next representative of Iceland in Eurovision 2023.

She was selected in the song contest Söngvakeppnin on Saturday. A total some 250,000 votes were cast on the final night of the contest.

Read more: Eurovision Finalists Selected

Diljá, and her winning song “Power,” finished in a strong first place, with nearly 70,000 votes separating her and second place, Langi Seli og Skuggarnir performing their song “OK.”

In total, ten artists competed in the selection process. Semi-finals were held on February 18 and 25, where the Icelandic public could vote by phone, text, or online. During the semi-finals, the artists are required to perform in Icelandic.

However, in the finals, the artists have the choice to perform the song in its intended form for Eurovision, either Icelandic or English. A panel of judges also has a say during finals, with the popular vote being split 50/50.

Her award-winning song was co-authored by Pálmi Ragnar Ásgeirsson. Pálmi has written Eurovision hits before, including the 2015 Icelandic Eurovision entry, “Unbroken.”

Hosting the song contest this year were popular media figures Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson, Ragnhildur Steinunn Jónsdóttir, and Sigurður Þorri Gunnarsson.

Diljá will represent Iceland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, which takes place this year in Liverpool, England.

 

On the Rise

GDRN - Guðrún Eyfjörð Jóhannesdóttir singer

In March 2019, Guðrún Ýr Eyfjörð Jóhannesdóttir, better known as GDRN, was called up to the stage at the Icelandic Music Awards.

Then she was called up again.

Then a third time.

Then a fourth.

In a single night, less than a year after releasing her debut album Hvað ef (What If), the 22-year-old musician had snagged four awards: Best Female Singer, Best Pop Album, Best Pop Song, and Music Video of the Year. In her acceptance speech, she encouraged upcoming artists: “Let yourself dream. Dream really big.” But dreaming alone is not what put those awards in Guðrún’s hands: it was also hard work, a go-getter attitude, a commitment to honesty, and a bit of luck.

It may be not seem so remarkable for a single artist to be awarded four times in one ceremony in a country of 350,000. But this is Iceland: what the music scene lacks in size, it makes up for in might. Its ranks are filled with international legends and local ones (interestingly, with very little overlap); self-taught rockers and highly-trained virtuosos; veterans who have been taking to the country’s largest stages for decades and teenagers releasing their first singles, freshly produced in their bedrooms. Perhaps the most exciting among all of these groups are the rising stars: those artists, like GDRN, whose first ventures into the spotlight – though confident, and capable – make you excited for what is yet to come.

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