Auðunn Lúthersson, who goes by the stage name Auður, wants what a lot of young musicians want: to sound fresh. “Right now, I just want to sound like 2017,” he says. “I want to sound like something that people haven’t heard before.”
And on that last point, Auðunn is succeeding. Though he’s played at Airwaves and Sónar, and is on the upcoming Secret Solstice lineup, there’s only one song by the RnB up-and-comer you’ll be able to find online. But despite the elusiveness, Auður has hype. His performances have received rave reviews, and he was awarded one of last year’s spots at the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy.
“I think that’s the first time that I’ve got so much attention,” he says of the response he received to his sets at Airwaves and Sónar. “And I also feel, not only am I getting a lot of recognition from others, but I also feel that I’m challenging myself a lot.”
Even if you’re not convinced about his “fresh” sound, Auðunn has the musical chops to back him up. He studied jazz guitar at Tónlistarskóli FÍH, and he’s produced some of the biggest names in Icelandic hip-hop, including Emmsjé Gauti’s 2015 hit “Strákarnir.”
Striking a chord
Auðunn credits his recent success to a newfound sincerity. “I’ve been in really proggy metal bands with these amazing, detailed lyrics about some poem that I read,” he explains. “But I think I finally struck a chord when I started to write lyrics about stuff I knew.”
The one song you’ll be able to find online is the smooth and sultry “South America,” which Auðunn says he wrote when he was apart from his girlfriend. “My girlfriend was travelling around South America and I was living alone in Iceland,” he says. “So I felt very depressed and lonely and horny and in love.”
“But also, you know, I just gradually started realizing that you don’t have to write about something else,” he goes on. “Everyone has such a unique personality that if they’re just themselves, in whatever they do, they’re way better.”
Making memorable music
Although his apparent elusiveness may be part of his appeal, Auðunn says it wasn’t his plan to be secretive about his music. “I’ve been biting my nails because I’m so excited about releasing new music,” he says. “But I’d rather do it well and release it with some label, or something, which is finally coming to a reality now.”
The music video that was released for his single “South America” provides a glimpse at what to expect from Auður’s live show. It is unabashedly sexy, with Auðunn crooning and dancing amid the stacks of a public library as lovers begin making out around him. Auðunn says he wants his set at Secret Solstice to be “memorable.”
“I want them to realize that they’re seeing me now, right before something hopefully big happens,” he says. “I want it to be the best show that they see at Secret Solstice. I really mean that.”
Auður will be playing Secret Solstice 2016 on Saturday, June 18 in Reykjavík.