Adda Ingólfsdóttir is hitchhiking her way around Iceland, playing concerts in living rooms and trying to fund her debut album.
She is trying to teach her friend a Cyndi Lauper song but she needs to move quickly; there is a ferocious storm predicted for North Iceland. Surely it’s only in Iceland that a musician is found in such circumstances.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Yes! In one sentence I am a pianist turned electronic musician turned philosophy and gender scholar turned singer/songwriter.
I started writing lyric-based songs in 2008 when I spent one semester in Budapest trying to finish a masters’ degree. I had trouble focusing my studies, trouble getting out of bed, trouble getting into bed, trouble in my mind, and all of this I finally realized I could write about in lengthy lyrics.
It was Joni Mitchell’s music and lyrics that got me going at that point. I was listening to ‘Song for Sharon,’ where she just rambles and complains about difficult things, and I had a revelation: well, if she’s allowed to do that, I am too!
Other lyrical influences at that point were Ani DiFranco, Bob Dylan, Eminem and Mirah. The songs came one after the other, in response to a dire need to materialize all of this trouble and help me through it.
I have been playing concerts in Reykjavík since and during the first or second one my friend Úlfhildur Eysteinsdóttir offered to record an album with me, which is now finally coming to life.
Where in Iceland are you from?
I'm from Reykjavík but I have lived all over the place, in the south, the West Fjords and in the east where I taught music in an elementary school.
How would you describe your music?
I would describe it as gray, dark strings of difficult thoughts transformed into colorful, soothing and sweet pieces of music. Or maybe indie folk?
You are crowd-funding your EP on Karolina Fund. What’s that all about?
In these four years that I’ve been playing my music there have been lots of people: friends, people in the audience and fellow musicians that have encouraged me to release an album and I think enabling them to participate in the making of the album is a really direct and material way to relate to my audience.
It reminds us that we create our society together and we can do beautiful things without big corporations and image makers coming anywhere near them.
If people are interested to check out my music they can listen to it on my crowd-funding website.
Why does Iceland keep producing such brilliant musicians?
I think there are brilliant musicians everywhere. The spotlight shines more on some places than others, though.
You are currently touring Iceland, but not in the usual way. What are you up to?
I am hitchhiking around the country, playing living-room concerts at my friends’ houses. Some of them are open for the public, like the one in Akureyri, the capital of the north, on Friday (August 30).
Do you know where you are playing one day after the next? Or is it just where you end up?
I have more or less mapped out the living rooms for the whole trip, but I’ve stayed longer or shorter in places according to mood, energy levels and how much I need to catch up with the friends I’m staying with.
Also the weather forecast has been pushing me on a bit recently: there’s a storm coming on tonight (August 30) here in the north and farmers have herded their sheep from the mountains weeks earlier than usual so that they won’t get stuck under piles of snow like happened last year.
Where are you looking forward to playing the most?
I always look forward to the next gig because they are all so spontaneous and exciting. Tonight I am playing with a friend who I usually hike with. I am just about to teach him some of my songs and maybe we will do Cyndi Lauper’s ‘True Colors’ together. He has a huge antique organ that will probably sound great and now I can hear him practicing his guitar a bit.
Can you keep us updated with your travels?
Yes! I’m blogging about the trip, posting photos, writing a bit and sending videos when I can, here blogmybrain.tumblr.com, and the concerts that are open are announced on my Facebook page.
Edward Hancox – email@example.com