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.”

Icelandic Musician Laufey Wins Grammy

Icelandic Musician Laufey has won the 2024 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for her album Bewitched. The nominees in her category included Bruce Springsteen and Pentatonix. Rather than resting on her laurels, the jazz singer-songwriter is setting off on a Europe tour.

“I never in a million years thought that this would happen,” Laufey said in her acceptance speech at the 66th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last night. She thanked her team, parents, grandparents, and the classical and jazz communities of the world, reserving the “biggest thanks” for her twin sister Junia, whom she called her “biggest supporter.”

Broke streaming records

Bewitched set a record for the most streams in the jazz category on Spotify on its day of release, accumulating 5.7 million streams. The previous record was held by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s 2021 album Love for Sale, which received 1.1 million streams on its first day.

In an interview with Billboard following the awards ceremony, Laufey called the honour “very validating and exciting.” Laufey left the US today to start a Europe tour of the music from Bewitched, which will be followed by a North American tour later this spring.

A musical nation

Laufey was not the only Icelander nominated for a Grammy this year. Musician Ólafur Arnalds was nominated for his album Some Kind of Peace (Piano Reworks) in the Best New Age, Ambient, or Chant Album category. Ólafur has been nominated twice before.

A few other Icelanders have won Grammy awards in the past, including composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, who has won twice, and classical singer Dísella Lárusdóttir. Björk’s album Biophilia won in the category of Best Recording Package in 2013, but the musician has never taken home a statue from any of her other 15 Grammy nominations.

Icelandic Singer Dísella Lárusdóttir Wins Grammy

Dísella Lárusdóttir

Classical singer Dísella Lárusdóttir was awarded a Grammy last night in the Best Opera Recording category. Dísella snagged the award for a live recording of Philip Glass’ opera Akhnaten. The opera was written in 1983 and is about the life and religious convictions of Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten.

Dísella (b. 1977) is a critically-acclaimed soprano, who has performed in New York’s Metropolitan Opera as well as in Italy. The New York Times has used the words “beauty, ease, and artistry” to describe her singing, as well as calling it “reliably breathtaking.”

Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds was also nominated for two Grammies this year, in the categories of Best Arrangement, Instrument and Vocals, and Best Dance/Electronic Recording.

Dísella Lárusdóttir / Instagram.