Hafdis Huld is an Icelandic singer with an international fan-base in over 65 countries. Her songs have more than 11.5 million Spotify streams, are on numerous compilations and advertising campaigns across Europe. She’s had several number 1 singles and albums in her home country, a remix that went to number 1 on the HypeM remix chart, and she’s a regular guest vocalist for other artists. Her tours sell out and her online gigs from her front room clock up thousands of views. She recently completed her first live tour of China.
Changing her look to match the different moods of her seven albums is second nature. Despite, or perhaps because of this, she manages to keep a remarkably low profile and explains: “I divide my time between writing, recording, and performing, taking care of our young daughter and looking after our chickens. Most days you’ll find me wearing thick wooly socks and no makeup. It’s not very rock and roll, is it?”
Hafdis was born in Reykjavik, Iceland. From the age of 15 onward, she toured and recorded with the iconic Icelandic electro-collective Gus Gus. Two world tours later, she left the band to collaborate with chill-out electronic outfit F C Kahuna, co-writing and performing on the classic ‘Hayling’ and ‘Machine Say Yes’. She later studied music at the London Centre of Contemporary Music graduating with Distinction in 2006. She was a featured vocalist on Tricky´s 2008 album ‘Knowle West Boy’.
Hafdis Huld’s fifth studio album ‘Variations’, is a collection of her own versions of songs by other artists. Consistently different, she and producer Alisdair Wright devised simple arrangements that focus attention on the lyrics, often revealing stories with surprisingly dark and twisted undercurrents beneath the smooth surfaces.
Thanks @LarkRecordings for adding my songs to your playlist pic.twitter.com/5bgEsW3M5y
In another twist, tracks will be digitally released, two at a time between 1st February and 26th April, building into a full album. With typical consideration for her fan-base, members of Hafdis’ mailing list were able to buy pre-release copies of the physical album two months before the digital releases began.
Fearless covers of power ballad giants Dolly Parton, Tina Turner, Queen, and Whitney Houston sit remarkably comfortably alongside more eclectic choices. Unexpected songs from The Divine Comedy and Loudon Wainwright III, songwriters’ songwriter Boo Hewerdine and the Walrus of Love himself, Barry White, serve to underscore the fact that Hafdis loves to shake things up.
She explains: “Stories are what interest me and each one of these has a great story to tell. When you’re not distracted by musical fireworks, a surprisingly different message can emerge from the lyrics.”
“Sweetly melancholic folk.”
– The Guardian
“Love her – she’s an Icelandic Cerys Matthews”
– Steve Lamacq, BBC 6 Music
“Stunning versions of ‘One Moment In Time’ and ‘Take My Breath Away”
– The Vibe
“She takes absolute classics and adds her voice to them and creates new paradigms. Who the hell would ever take on Barry White’s ‘The First, The Last, My Everything’ and make it sound like a song of unrequited love? Or (Queen’s) ‘I Want to Break Free’. Who knew John Deacon could write such a pleading and subtle song.? Her chilling version of ‘What Is Love’ imbues it with a darkness that was never in the original.”
– Music News
“A fragile, acoustic dappled reading of ‘One Moment In time’ exposes the almost desperate need to be special. The Eurythmics’ ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’ is recast to expose the emotional desperation and the balance of desire and resignation in the lyrics. ‘Variations’ is a reminder of just how flexible music can be in the hands of an artist who sees genre boundaries as a challenge rather than confinement.”
– Folk Radio
“(The) unlikely covers sound so unique and fresh with Hafdis at the wheel. Haddaway’s 90’s dance-club floor-filler ‘What Is Love’ (is) a stunning and unique re-interpretation. On ‘I Want to Break Free’, Hafdis highlights the emotion and melody that’s always lived deep within the charged and upbeat original version. Go and listen to ‘Variations’ – you won’t be disappointed”
– Sound Thread Music Blog
“Hafdis Huld has created gorgeous variations – brave, inspired, stunning.”
– Scottish Daily Express