At Airwaves ‘12, I took my first trip to the Salvation Army Chapel in downtown Reykjavík. Not expecting much in this austere building, and more just wanting to get out of the fierce wind, I was delighted to see Ingunn Huld play a beautiful set of acoustics songs to the sparsely populated room. Ingunn weaved the songs with personal stories, tales of love and chocolate cake, and delivered her set with an intriguing sweetness that I’m sure will see her go far.
Fast forward a year, and it looks like I’m going to be proved correct. I’m not one to say “I told you so,” but on this occasion “I told you so” seems entirely reasonable. Ingunn is making a go of her music career, and after more acclaimed concerts at this year’s Airwaves, making new music and launching her own website, I’ve no doubt that 2014 will be huge for her.
How would you describe your music?
Folk or indie folk or maybe even vocal improvisational indie folk.
Are you looking to pursue a career in music? If so, what’s the plan?
I guess I’ve not been too ambitious about it until now but I love writing and making music. My favorite kind of concerts are intimate ones in someone’s living room and it gives me a lot of joy performing, whether other people are listening or not. But the plan is to share the joy with more people. I already have so many songs written and ready so I’m figuring out how to give them wings.
I know that you studied jazz music, but your sound is more folk. Was this a conscious decision?
I really like jazz and learnt a bunch in this school. Musically it really opened my eyes up to a lot of things and for that I am very thankful. I really like improvising and most of my songs come out of that in some way, sometimes without me even trying to improvise so I guess that is the most evident link to jazz influence in my music. Writing folk music wasn’t a conscious decision, it just so happens that what I write is a bit folky.
What are your influences? I think I recall you saying that one of your songs was inspired by a trip to Ireland?
I’m inspired by the nature quite a bit. I love nature and in Iceland the scenery is constantly changing. And so is life. There are so many metaphors about life that you can find in nature. I’m also inspired by random thoughts, feelings, and struggles. I love poetry so very often the music I write is inspired by poetry and this reflects in my lyrics . I took a course once in traditional Icelandic poetry and I could easily become a poetry nerd. I also have a strong faith and that comes out within my lyrics too. But yes, one of my songs was inspired by my first trip to Ireland but I actually just “wrote” it when I was back in Iceland, I just started singing it in my car where lots of songs have been born.
Is it hard to become a musician in Iceland?
Yes and no. With Iceland being a small country it probably is more easy for people to network and get people’s attention. At the same time, because of the low population it’s extremely difficult to live on music. With such few people in the country it’s a bit of an utopic thought to think you could live off of selling your albums. But on the contrary there are so many people doing music that it’s amazing that almost every night you can go to downtown Reykjavík and choose something interesting for your ears to hear—and not just when Iceland Airwaves is on.
How did your Airwaves concerts go?
My concerts went well. They were supposed to be two but ended up by being three. It was such a lovely group of people who came listening so I had fun and it seemed like they also did.
Where can we hear your music?
I’m working on a web page now and on putting things up on SoundCloud at the moment, so right now I guess the only way to listen is to knock on my door and ask for a live concert over tea… or have me come play somewhere.
Originally published on Iceland Review online.