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?”
“Love her – she’s an Icelandic Cerys Matthews” Steve Lamacq, BBC 6 Music
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’.
“Sweetly melancholic folk.” The Guardian
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.
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.”
Her superb live show blends songs with entertaining chat and anecdotes, all delivered with enormous charm, humour and comedic timing. International festival performances include Glastonbury, The Secret Garden Festival, The Big Chill, Camden Crawl and JaJaJa in the UK, Hultsfred in Sweden, By:Larm in Norway, Iceland Airwaves, Spot Festival in Denmark, Les Femmes S’en Melent and Europavox in France and The Midnight Sun Festival in the Czech Republic. She has toured with artists such as Paolo Nutini , Mika, Eg White, Vincent Vincent & the Villains and Baby Bird.
Hafdis has appeared on numerous UK radio shows including national shows:
BBC Radio 2 – Mark Radcliffe & Jeremy Vine
BBC 6 Music – Radcliffe & Maconie, Steve Lamacq, Chris Hawkins, Jon Holmes, Marc Riley, Lauren Laverne & Phil Jupitus
BBC Radio 4 – Loose Ends.
BBC Radio 3 – documentary on Icelandic Christmas customs
BBC Radio 5 Live – cultural round-up
She is a frequent guest on Icelandic TV and radio
“I love her!” Jon Holmes, BBC 6Music