With the first heat of Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins done and dusted, it’s time for 5 new candidates to make their introductions. As with the first heat, another big name is taking part in the second heat, namely Regina Ósk who was one half of the duo Eurobandið, representing Iceland in 2008.
From first heat Jónsi & Greta Salóme Stefánsdóttir qualified for the final with the song Mundu Eftir Mér. They were followed by Blár Ópal and their Stattu Upp.
Song 1: Ellert Jóhannsson – Ég Kem Með (Count Me In) (Composer: Ellert H. Jóhannsson, Lyrics: Mikael Tamar Elíasson)
Ellert Jóhansson has composed and will be performing the first potential finalist, Ég Kem Með. Jóhansson became interested in music from an early age, but his passion became serious when he was given a drum kit as a present upon his holy communion. As there was little demand for drummers at the time, he turned his attention to bass guitar and vocals, performing with numerous bands. In 2001 he founded the group Von (Hope) with others, with Jóhansson acting as main vocalist and composing much of their material. The band have
released two albums. Both Jóhansson and Von are no strangers to Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins, having taken part in 2007 with the song Ég Hef Fengið Nóg (I’ve Had Enough). Jóhansson quit as vocalist with Von in 2009 and has since made his living as a songwriter besides working as a seaman.
Song 2: Simbi & Hrútspungarnir – Hey (Hi) (Composer & Lyrics: Magnús Hávarðarson)
Hávarðarson both lyricist and composer behind this weeks’ second entry actually works full time in IT and data solutions. His burning passion for music was lit in his younger years when he studied the electric guitar. Since then he has played with various bands. He was one of the members of the group KAN, who broke through onto the mainstream music scene in the 80’s. As fate would have it, the former vocalist of the same band, Herbert Guðmundsson, will also be competing in the national finals this year. In recent years Hávarðarson has devoted more and more of his time to writing and composing material covering all genres, from kiddies’ music to hard rock! He recently took part in a national song contest, which resulted in the release of a CD featuring some of his work in 2010. He has previously tried entering the Icelandic finals on a number of occasions, but never managed to get further than the initial selection round. Simbi & Hrútspungarnir are going to perform the song Hey with Sveinbjörn Hjálmarsson (otherwise known as Simbi) on vocals. Following relocation to the Western fjords, Hjálmarsson and his family quickly became involved in the local cultural scene, with him wasting no time in joining both a male choir and an amateur dramatics group as well as using his talents in various other creative projects in the area. Hjálmarsson has since studied vocals at the local music academy at ÍsafjÖrður for a year, which he hopes to continue with after the national selection.
Song 3: Rósa Birgitta Ísfeld – Stund Með Þér (A Moment With You) (Composer: Sveinn Rúnar Sigurðsson, Lyrics: Þórunn Erna Clausen)
Stund Með Þér is written by the same team behind Íris Hólm‘s entry this year, Leyndarmál. Sveinn Rúnar Sigurðsson has previously composed the entries Heaven (2004) and Valentine Lost (2007). Many of celand’s most popular artists have performed his work, and Sigurðsson was first seen at Söngvakeppni n 2003. He has studied both piano and organ. He has no fewer than 3 songs competing in this year’s national final.
Þórunn Erna Clausen shared her experiences with viewers on last Saturday’s show, following her emotional journey to Düsseldorf. As composer of last year’s Icelandic entry, Coming Home she went to Germany together with the band Sjónni’s Friends, a tribute act to her late husband Sigurjón Brinck. Clausen has also considerable stage experience to her name, playing in productions such as Oliver and Le Sing on Broadway. She has also won awards previously for her work with film and TV. This will be her second outing at Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins, and the second song of hers in this year’s final, having composed Íris Hólm’s entry together with Sveinn Rúnar Sigurðsson.
Despite her young age, Rósa Birgitta Ísfeld has been an active vocalist for 15 years. Her career has taken many twists and turns since then. Ísfeld is currently lead vocalist with the bad Sometime, founded in 2006. As if that wasn’t enough to satisfy her creative urges, she also sings vocals with the group Feldberg. Working with both groups has taken the singer all over the world, her last trip taking her to japan with Feldberg. Their single Dreamin’ won Song of the Year in Iceland in 2009 and their album Don’t Be A Stranger was nominated for Album of the Year. The busy artist is currently working on new album material with both groups as well as studying. Ísfeld is something of a vocal all-rounder having reviously performed all kinds of musical genres.
Song 4: Regína Ósk Óskarsdóttir – Hjartað Brennur (Fire in My Heart) (Composer: María Björk Sverrisdóttir, Marcus Frenell, Fredrik Randquist, Anna Andersson Lyrics: Kristján Hreinsson & Anna Andersson)
Regína Ósk ÓskarsdóttirThe next entry, Hjartað Brennur is without doubt the one with greatest expectations, as the people behind it were responsible for last year’s fan favourite Nótt performed by Jóhanna, and they have chosen none other than Regina Ósk Óskarsdóttir to perform their entry. Talk about a double whammy! Sverrisdóttir has studied both vocals and jazz in her native Reykjavík and the USA. She made her artist debut in 1998 with the launch of her solo album, Haze. The album recieved a lot of attention and rave reviews, and her reputation as a competent songwriter was established, with Sverrisdóttir composing the majority of tracks on the album. She turned her hand to other projects, mainly the founding of her own singing academy in 1993. She has also made a ame for herself through the project Söngvaborg which she runs together with none other than Sigga Beinteinsdóttir. Sverrisdóttir made her debut at Söngvakeppni last year with the highly regarded Nótt. She has enlisted the help of Frenell once again together with fellow swede Frederik Randquist to try and emulate some of last year’s success.
Regina Ósk óskarsdóttir should be a familiar face to most fans. Óskarsdóttir has been involved in a long line of projects in
Iceland, most noteably the hugely succesfull Christmas musical tour Frostrósir. Often the bridesmaid and seemingly never the bride, she has also sung for Iceland prior to the 2008 contest, appearing for the first time as backing singer for Two Tricky with Angel in 2001. She was also given the honour to provide backing vocals to Birgitta Haukdal and her entry Open Your Heart in 2003 and Selma with If I Had Your Love in 2005. It was however in 2008 that she made it all the way to Belgrade in 2008 as one half of the duo Eurobandið, representing Iceland with This Is My Life and bringing their run of bad luck to an end, qualifying for the final for the first time in 4 years. She came close to representing Iceland in 2006, coming second to Sylvia Night in the national finals with her entry Þér Við Hlið (By Your Side).
Song 5: Guðrún Árný Karlsdóttir – Minningar (Memories) (Composer & Lyrics: Valgeir Skagfjörð)
Valgeir Skagfjörð is a well known cultural figure in his native Iceland. He is a trained music teacher, has performed for many years in numerous bands, is also a trained actor as well as a qualified art eacher from the Icelandic Acandemy of Art. As if this wasn’t enough, Skagfjörð has several other strings to his bow, having been heavily involved in theatre, both writing, directing and translating plays. And as if his schedule couldn’t get any busier, Skagfjörð is, in addition to all of the above, an MP at the Icelandic parliament! His name has been involved with Söngvakeppni on a number of previous occasions, last taking part in 2009 with is daughter Ólöf Jara performing his entry Hugur Minn Fylgir Þér (My Thoughts Are With You).
Guðrún Árný Karlsdóttir, a fresh faced thrity year old from Reykjavík has been given the task of performing Minningar. She began studying the piano aged just seven and went on to study the subject for 15 years. She then branched out into vocals, having won a number of karaoke competitions during her teens. She worked as a backing singer alongside her studies and even went on to perform in shows on Broadway four years ago. As a singer, Karlsdóttir has been extremely busy since graduating from her studies. She has released a solo album entitled Eilíft Augnablik (Everlasting Moment), for wich she composed and wrote the majority of the material. She has also appeared regularly as part of the Frostrósir ensemble, most recently last Christmas, 2011. She graduated in 2007 from the Icelandic Academy of Arts with a degree in music and teaching. Karlsdóttir currently works as a music teacher as well as working as a private piano tutor. The versatile singer has taken part in the national finals no fewer than three times previously, in 2001, 2003 and 2006. Her most well known entry is Andvaka (Awake).
EuroVisionary would like to thank Kristján Sveinsson for helping us with this article.