Sonic Spotlight on Sóley

All right, all right. I know I have a problem. I get a lot of emails from publicists pitching artists to me. Many go unread. (Come on guys… punk? Heavy metal? Not so much.) But there is one thing that is sure to get my attention. Let me give you a hint. The name Sóley Stefánsdóttir… notice anything?

It was as if her name were suddenly on a blinking marquee.

Icelandic artist! Icelandic artist! Icelandic artist!

I thought to myself.

So, meet Sóley Stefánsdóttir, my latest obsession.

(photo Inga Birgisdóttir)

If you’ve seen Seabear or Sin Fang (previously Sin Fang Bous), chances are you’ve already seen Sóley. She has played in both. Apparently, Sóley had never really thought much of her vocal abilities, and it was only after touring with Seabear and singing a lot to herself that she began to “get used to the sound of her own voice” and started to share it with others.

Besides the whimsical sound that seems to be a staple in many of my favorite artists, maybe that’s one of the things that appeals to me most about Scandinavian music. There seems to be a modesty built in to the songs that makes them both charming and intimate in tone. The men of the Danish group Efterklang will applaud for you, the audience, at the end of their show, as if you had just provided the talent. It’s adorable.

“I’ll Drown,” Sóley’s recent single, is a strong introduction to her first full-length album, We Sink.

It has a slow, methodical start – just sparse beats and a plunky but haunting piano melody. But as the song unfurls, it becomes fuller and darker. The dramatic pause, held a beat longer than most would dare, initiates the all-too-honest breakdown. “I drown when I see you,” she sings. The words are simple but powerful. And isn’t that the mark of a truly great pop song? Who among us can’t relate to the words and to the beautiful hesitancy of the song?

We Sink is now available as a digital download. The hard copy drops in another few weeks.


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"He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends."

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being


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