Hafdis Huld Biography

Introduction:

Hafdis Huld is an Icelandic siren with a growing reputation for being one of the most entertaining performers to ever grace a stage or an interviewer’s couch. It’s a lot to do with her wonderful voice, and songs full of vivid images and catchy hooks, and it’s partly that her Icelandic accent is delightfully sexy and she is undeniably beautiful.  But it is also her disarmingly charming banter and storytelling skills:

“When I was younger I set up a circus in a friend’s garage; we had 15 people in there every night. I used to tie a rope around my sister’s waist – she was only 5 at the time - and throw her over a pulley.  She would fly in the air in a batman costume, until my mum came in one night and went “Oh My God!”.

Her MySpace profile has clocked up an audience equivalent to more than half the population of her homeland, and her Facebook page is a constant hive of activity.  A truly international artist, Hafdis now has fans in over 30 countries around the world.

Background:

Hafdis was born in Reykjavik, Iceland. From the age of 15 onward she toured and recorded with the iconic Icelandic eletro-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’.

 

Solo Career:

Hafdis released her debut solo album ‘Dirty Paper Cup’ in October 2006, which included writing collaborations with highly respected co-writers including Jim Abbiss, Boo Hewerdine, Pascal Gabriel and Chris Corner.  The album got great reviews from critics including The Guardian, The Fly and The Independent, received national radio play on BBC Radio 1, Radio 2 and 6 Music and won the Icelandic Music Award in 2007 for Best Pop Album.

 

The New Album

‘Synchronised Swimmers’, (Summer 2010), explores bigger sounds and has a live, organic feel. Co-produced by Grammy winning producer Calum MacColl and Alisdair Wright, and recorded by the legendary engineer Phill Brown (Rolling Stones, Robert Plant, Talk Talk) it reached no. 2 in the Icelandic album charts, only kept off the top spot by the untimely death of Michael Jackson.

 

The album has generated 3 number one singles in her home territory (Kongulo, Action Man, Synchronised Swimmers) and has been licensed to a number of respected independent labels across the world:

  • StrangeWays Records – Germany, Switzerland, Austria
  • Red Grape Records – UK, Ireland
  • Playground – Scandinavia
  • Sena – Iceland
  • Mass Market Recordings – Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg
  • Radikal Records – USA, Canada.

Further licenses are pending in China and Korea.

The track ‘Daisy’ is being used by the national airline Iceland Air in their 2010 advertising campaign.

 

Press reaction to ‘Synchronised Swimmers’

  • “Love her – she’s an Icelandic Cerys Matthews” Steve Lamacq, Radio 2
  • “A lovely album.” – Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2
  • “Sweetly melancholic folk-pop … harnesses her delicate high-pitched sigh of a voice to perfection.”  The Guardian
  • “A charming treasury of acoustic pop” Q Magazine
  • “Hafdis is brilliant!” Lauren Laverne, BBC 6Music
  • “I love her!” Jon Holmes, BBC 6Music
  • “A dream-pop breeze – the hottest download” Sunday Times
  • “Weirdly wonderful” – London Evening Standard
  • “I couldn’t wish for a more summery album…. Made my week” The Pink Paper
  • “Bittersweet, slightly bonkers and decidedly swoony” Time Out
  • “Deliciously melodic and witty alt-pop.  Highly recommended.” Direct Current Magazine
  • “Scandi-pop gems that dig their glittery fairy claws into you” RivMixx Magazine
  • “Wonderful folky pop music” – Londonist
  • “Acoustic pop with ladles of charm and sparkle” – MusicOMH
  • “Far more sussed than first meets the eye” – Wears The Trousers
  • “As unexpectedly playful as it is sweet.  Huld is the real deal.” Scandinavian Music Journal

 

Online activity

Hafdis has a lively presence on her website, blog, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.  A popular recent project involved her fans uploading photographs of themselves with a numbered limited edition of her album. She makes quirky video blogs which have an avid following online.  She storyboards all her videos personally, with each reflecting a different angle of her humour and sense of fun.  The video for ‘Tomoko’ (from Dirty Paper Cup), had 30,000 downloads in the first week of release.

 

Live Appearances

Hafdis has a superb live show that blends songs with very entertaining chat and anecdotes, all delivered with enormous charm and humour.

Hafdis is a favourite festival act and appearances include Glastonbury, The Secret Garden Festival, The Big Chill, Camden Crawl and JaJaJa in the UK, Hultsfred in Sweden, By:Larm in Norway, Airwaves in Iceland, Spot Festival in Denmark, Les Femmes S’en Melent and Europavox in France and The Midnight Sun Festival in the Czech Republic. She has supported artists such as  Paolo Nutini , Mika, Eg White, Vincent Vincent & the Villains and Baby Bird.

 

She has played UK music industry conferences In The City and International Music Industry Week, and South By South West in America.  In January 2010 she played a hugely successful Midem Talent showcase to over 700 music industry representatives.

 

The Band:

Hafdis often performs as an acoustic duo with Alisdair Wright on guitar, banjo and flying V ukulele.  For larger tours she has a four-piece band (including keyboards and a second guitarist).

 

Radio sessions:

Hafdis has appeared live on UK National radio:

BBC Radio 2 Radcliffe & Maconie

BBC Radio 2 Steve Lamacq

BBC 6 Music Mark Riley, Lauren Laverne and Phil Jupitus

Radio 4’s Loose Ends.

 

Filmed sessions:

Black Cab Sessions, HMV Get Closer, TopShop TV, Crypt Sessions, Songs from a Room, Balcony TV

 

Other activities

Hafdis has had several acting roles in Icelandic films, recorded a song and appeared in a TV ad for Mercedes Benz, appeared in a viral video campaign for Reyka Vodka and recorded a song that was used in a TV campaign for Always Ultra.

 

Discography - Solo work

2006 – Tomoko (single)

2006 – Who Loves the Sun (single)

2006 – Ski Jumper (single)

2006 - Dirty Paper Cup (album); Red Grape Records

2007 – Diamonds on My Belly (single)

2007 – Diamonds on My Belly (Remix single)

2008 – Tomoko (3 remix singles)

2008 – Stop (single)

2009 – Kongulo (single)

2009 – Synchronised Swimmers (single, Iceland only)

2009 – Action Man (single, Iceland only)

2009 – Synchronised Swimmers (album, Iceland only)

2010 – Action Man, worldwide download single

2010 – Synchronised Swimmers (album)

Collaborations:

1995 – Gus Gus (album)

1997 – Polydistortion (Gus Gus) – album

1999 – This is Norman (Gus Gus) - album

2002 – Machine Says Yes (F C Kahuna) - single

2002 – Hayling (F C Kahnuna) - single

2008 – Cross to Bear (Tricky) – album track

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