Sóley

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Sóley
Soley2.jpg
Sóley performing in Reykjavík
Background information
Birth name Sóley Stefánsdóttir
Born 1986 (age 31)
Origin Hafnarfjörður, Iceland
Genres Indie folk, Indie pop
Instruments Vocal, Guitar, Keyboards, Percussions
Years active 2006 - present
Labels Morr Music
Associated acts Seabear, Sin Fang
Website http://soleysoley.is/

Sóley Stefánsdóttir, better known simply as Sóley, is an Icelandic multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter.

Career[edit]

Sóley studied classical and jazz style piano as a child and later went to the Icelandic Art Academy to study composition[1] to become a proficient pianist and guitarist.[2] Although hailing from Iceland, she sings primarily in English both in her solo and group work. She became part of the seven-piece Icelandic indie-folk band, Seabear, in 2006. Signed to the record label, Morr Music, the band have so far released two albums and an EP, on which Sóley predominantly provides piano and backing vocals.

Under the same label, Sóley released her first solo EP in 2010, titled Theater Island. The following year, she went on to release We Sink, her first full-length album.[3] Critical response was largely positive, with praise often aimed at the "delightful and beautiful" piano play[4] and the delicate vocal delivery. The songwriting was also celebrated for its "dream-like" quality and "dark surrealism".[5] Sóley herself described her lyrics as "Dreamy, surrealistic and in their own world", expressing her hope that listeners will decipher their own meaning from the words.[6] In 2013, a track from the album, Fight Them Soft, was used in the soundtrack to an episode of the E4 comedy-drama Misfits.

A piano album composed and performed entirely by Sóley, entitled Krómantík, was released on 18 July 2014 along with sheet music and illustrations to accompany each of the pieces.[7] About the album, Sóley elaborated, “I always wanted to do a piano album, ever since I was in the art academy,” she explains. “Some of the pieces on Krómantík were written while studying – and the first track ‘Stiklur’, for example, was originally part of a bigger composition for piano that I wrote. However, in the end I didn’t use that many pieces from school, just because I liked doing new songs, and so a lot of them were written for a bigger art project I worked on during the summer after I finished We Sink.” She further described the mood of the album, stating, "In the night or when it’s cold and rainy outside, sit in a chair in your living room and listen. If you feel like it, move a little. Imagine a little out-of-tune piano in one corner, then imagine old hands. Those old hands have a story to tell. Those hands are almost unreal but it’s hard to tell only by listening. Those hands will play until Krómantík fades into silence and your closed eyes slowly start seeing something much deeper and darker.” [8]

Her second LP, Ask the Deep, was released on May 8, 2015. To promote the new material, she made appearances at various festivals, including ATP Iceland, Rauðasandur Festival and Iceland Airwaves in 2014.[9] Sóley then embarked on another extensive European tour and released a new EP, Don't Ever Listen. The 5 tracks were initially recorded as early demos for her second album and though dismissed by the singer at first because she wanted the album to have less guitar presence, she was convinced to compile and release them by her boyfriend.[10] There are also plans for a further two EPs that will each focus on a different instrument - accordion and organ respectively - that together with the piano based Krómantík will form something of a trilogy.[11]

Sóley's third LP, Endless Summer, was released in May 2017, and a European tour was announced in support of the new material.[12] Throughout the same year, she is also taking part in a collaborative project with fellow Icelandic artists, Sin Fang and Örvar Smárason (from the band Múm), which sees the trio release a new song each month, making twelve in total.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Sóley performing in 2012

Sóley was born in Hafnarfjörður, a small town outside of Reykjavík.[14] She finds her writing inspiration mostly from poets[15] and comes from a musical family, with her father being a trombone player and music teacher. Her younger brother, Eiríkur, and younger sister both play instruments too.[16]

She now lives in the capital with her husband, Héðinn Finnson. She took a brief break from recording and touring when she gave birth to her first daughter in March 2014. Sóley has been vegan since her daughter was born.[17]

Discography[edit]

Seabear[edit]

Studio albums
Extended plays
  • While the Fire Dies (2010, Sound of a Handshake)

Solo[edit]

Studio Albums
Extended plays

References[edit]

  1. ^ "An Interview with Soley". Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Sóley : Home : Sóley from Iceland is a member of the indie-collective Seabear". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
  3. ^ "e Sink". Archived from the original on March 19, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Dreamy Landscape: Sóley – We Sink". Icelandreview.com. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  5. ^ Sóley. "Sóley: Lo-Fi Quaintness And Dark Surrealism". Npr.org. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  6. ^ "Soley - "Smashed Birds" Music Video (w/ Soley Interview) - music art film review - REDEFINE magazine". Redefinemag.com. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  7. ^ "Krómantík". Archived from the original on June 29, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Morr Music". Morrmusic.com. 2014-07-18. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  9. ^ "sóley - playing two festivals this summer Rauðasandur..." Facebook.com. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  10. ^ "Premiere: Stream Sóley's 'Don't Ever Listen' EP". Nylon. Retrieved 2015-11-01. 
  11. ^ "Sóley". Morr Music. Retrieved 2015-11-01. 
  12. ^ "Spring Tour 2017". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2017-05-08. 
  13. ^ "Sin Fang, Sóley & Örvar Smárason: Random Haiku Generator". Morr Music via YouTube.com. Retrieved 2017-05-08. 
  14. ^ "SÓLEY: I'll drown when I see you, interview in Reykjavik". Reykjavikboulevard.com. 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  15. ^ 19 Jun 2015 (2012-06-01). "interview: Sóley". Nbhap.com. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  16. ^ "The Rumpus Interview With Sóley Stefánsdóttir". Therumpus.net. 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  17. ^ "sóley - YES, I am alive! And the reason why i haven't..." Facebook.com. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  18. ^ "We Sink by Soley on Apple Music". Itunes.apple.com. 2011-09-02. Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  19. ^ "Ask the Deep by Soley on Apple Music". Itunes.apple.com. 2015-05-08. Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  20. ^ "Endless Summer by Soley on Apple Music". ITunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2017-05-08. 
  21. ^ "Theater Island by Soley on Apple Music". Itunes.apple.com. 2010-03-26. Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  22. ^ "Krómantík by Soley on Apple Music". Itunes.apple.com. 2014-07-18. Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  23. ^ "Don't Ever Listen - EP by Soley on Apple Music". Itunes.apple.com. 2015-10-30. Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  24. ^ "Sóley Bandcamp Page". Retrieved 2017-10-06.