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Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

Laufey, 24, is everybody’s Valentine

LAUFEY
Erendur Sveinsson
LAUFEY

Generation Z folk have had diverse attitudes toward Jazz music. Some might have heard an album from Frank Sinatra and muttered a simple “not interested” in return. If asked about a favorite Jazz artist, or song, other individuals may not have either of the two in mind. Either way, we are enclosed under an inescapable umbrella of new music replete with what many may not know is a new kind of jazz. A number of artists, including one distinct  figure, are responsible for causing such a rise.

Born Laufey Lín Jónsdóttir, on April 23, 1999, 24-year-old Laufey is a Chinese-Icelandic singer-songwriter whose multi-faceted musicality, and haunting vocals with the likeness of a Disney Princess, captivated many listeners. She describes her typical music style as modern jazz, varying from “bedroom pop” to “jazz pop.”  As of this year, Laufey carries 425 million streams across all music platforms, and is known as the most streamed jazz artist on Spotify.

In 2014, Laufey first performed as a cello soloist with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and was a finalist on Iceland Got Talent and a semi-finalist The Voice Iceland, respectively.  By 2021, the singer-songwriter had simultaneously released her debut album, Typical Of Me, and graduated from Berklee College Of Music.  Her last two albums followed, titled Everything I Know About Love (2022) and Bewitched (2023). Her most recent album eventually gave Laufey a 2024 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.  Laufey’s inspirational sources for her music include Chet Baker, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Taylor Swift.

According to an article from TODAY, entitled “How Laufey, 23, Is Bringing Jazz To Gen Z: ‘We’re All Looking For An Escape,’” written by Madeline Merinuk, Laufey began developing her first single “Street By Street” at her campus throughout the winter of 2020. One month after its release in April 2020, the single had reached 100,000 streams.

Young people in the 2020s have the right to remain attached at the hip with a select amount of genres. And yet, Laufey still aims to introduce previously ignored genres to such an audience.

In an interview with JAZZIZ, staff publisher Michael Fagien referred to Laufey as a “first introduction to jazz” from the perspectives of Generation Z youth. The singer-songwriter then elaborated on how she noted that Generation Z youth may unconsciously like jazz. Only, she says, they “just don’t know it yet.”

In terms of how she had brought such an introduction, Laufey explained that she wanted to present her music as more than simply jazz.

“It’s more like music for a rainy day. Music that sounds like it’s from an old movie,” she says. “I think this is a generation of dreamers and romanticizers. A big part of our years of growing up had been spent under lockdown during the pandemic. So I think we have this innate sense of like wanderlust and stuff.”

And as many of us are aware, it never hurts to daydream the happiest and simplest of things!

Still not convinced about the positive aspects of Laufey’s artistry? We will briefly re-visit the 2022 album, “Everything I Know About Love,” and unpack two out of my several favorite songs: “Everything I Know About Love” and the viral classic, “Valentine.” “Everything I Know About Love” is an illustrative recollection of the singer-songwriter moving to Los Angeles and forgetting past difficult aspects of her life. Her series of musical imagery beams with a hopeless romantic’s curiosities, self-referential conflict, and “packing up” your childhood.   Even though my heaviest favorite song is Laufey’s rendition of the 1954 jazz standard, “Misty,” I hope that the following analyses, as well as my appreciation, will change someone’s point of view.

“Everything I Know About Love”

What more is there for us to say about “love” itself? The ninth track, “Everything I Know About Love,” is a musical emulation of many things which most of us would have been told as children about falling in love. Someday our prince will come,andwe’ll find what brings happy “ever-afterings.” And yet, most of us have not or will possibly never experience such things oriented to romantic love.

“I’m definetly making fun of myself with the lyrics, as I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic,” says Laufey in a 2022 interview with Consequence. “It has a punchy piano part and lots of strings and harmonies.”

Laufey’s ninth track, out of thirteen on her album, will make you feel impatient to be loved. As the the song plays on, you will see how the singer-songwriter sympathizes with those who identify as the confused, frustrated, and hopeless romantics. The more you reflect on the meaning of the lyrics, the quicker you will find a giddy, untouched side of yourself.

“I don’t know that much at all. I trip, I fall,” the chorus reads. “And everytime I try, it’s all too much. That’s everything I know about love.”

Romance films like Love, Actually, or When Harry Met Sally, may have rights to illustrate what to expect when finding love, or other excitable aspects of finding love. But the song tells us it is normal to struggle with it – that the singer-songwriter, too, had similar experiences oriented to many encounters of someone who starts a “pu-pump” in your heart, but sans any reciprocation.

“Valentine”

The ballad illustrates how it feels to fall in love for the first time, as well as the uncertianty that comes in finding how to react. Although Laufey considered various musical styles as her sources of inspiration, she was inspired more by the style of the “jazz age.” Think Julie London’s “I’m In The Mood For Love,”or Chet Baker’s rendition of Richard Rodgers’ and Lorenz Harts’ 1937 standard “My Funny Valentine,”

“I wrote it on Valentine’s Day two years ago and posted it on TikTok for fun. The response was way beyond what I expected, and after going viral I decided to finish the song and record it!” The singer-songwriter tells Consequence.

“Valentine,”which is the third song of the 2022 album, evokes similar thoughts  as those I mentioned in my analysis of the song “Everything I Know About Love .” One year from today, you may find yourself listening to the track on repeat, and pretend you are Audrey Hepburn from the 1961 film Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Other times, you may have your point of view changed on who, or what to expect in romantic love.

I will always be grateful for Laufey’s beautiful artisty, as well as the messages behind her music relating to the realities of finding romance, coping with drifitng away from your childhood, and a new re-awakening of jazz. The 2022 album, “Everything I Know About Love” will leave you in a deep state of soul-searching. Not only will its wholesomely composed music make you feel the urge to wake up at 7:00 a.m, grab a latte at your local cafe, and stare into space pretending you are spending time in Paris. It will also serve as a figruative best friend, eager to help you find yourself in a new way.

Where To Next?

After you listen along to this musical theatre-like love cycle of an album, you may find yourself wondering how else you can get familiar with Laufey.  You can listen to her latest album “Bewitched” on Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever else you get your music streaming. In addition, you can also listen to the singer-songwriter’s latest covers of the Holiday classics, “Winter Wonderland,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “Better Than Snow,” and “Christmas Dreaming” on all streaming platforms.

Eager to get a taste in person? Five months have passed since the kick-off of Laufey’s international tour, “The Bewitched Tour,” where she made special appearances at venues such as New York City’s Town Hall and Chicago’s Thalia Hall. Future Tour Dates will be continuing on from February 10, 2024 to June 29, 2024 with locations including London, Paris, and the Montreal International Jazz Festival kicking off in Montreal, Quebec. For more information on tickets, visit laufeymusic.com/tour.

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About the Contributor
Heike Chaney, Staff Writer, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Transfer Student, Interdisciplinary Studies (Theatre & Communications) Based in Hartford, VT Fall 2023-Present SLAP Coordinator & DANCELAND Club Member I can do a shockingly good Judy Garland impression, and I have been in over 22 Theatre productions since the sixth grade! ;) Favorite Roles: Adela Van Norman (THE IT GIRL); Martha Cratchitt (A CHRISTMAS CAROL); Chutney Wyndham (LEGALLY BLONDE).