That Glowie Sound - The Reykjavik Grapevine

That Glowie Sound

That Glowie Sound

Published May 2, 2017

Steindór Grétar Jónsson
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Less than two years since the release of her debut single “No More,” Icelandic pop sensation Glowie is set to make a splash on the international stage. In March, she joined some of the biggest names in music by signing a major label deal with Columbia Records/RCA.

“I’m surprised by how calm I am about all this,” says Glowie, known outside of her work as Sara Pétursdóttir. “It’s been my dream for so long, and always a little out of reach. I hoped this might happen in the future, maybe someday. It took me a while to realise what’s been happening for the last few weeks.”

Glowie by Art Bicnick

Teen angst

Sara has dreamed of being a professional singer since she was ten years old. Now just turned twenty, Sara is contemplating opportunities beyond what she could have ever imagined. “A few years ago, when I was in the throes of ‘teen angst,’ I doubted this would ever happen,” she says. “I think most teenagers go through a ‘life sucks’ period.”

In 2015, after releasing her first single and winning the Singing Contest of Icelandic Junior Colleges, she started feeling more confident. “There are so many people involved,” she says. “This is not a one-woman job. I’ve had a team of people helping me to where I am now. Getting to this place has been the goal since 2015. We were always planning to expand from Iceland. When I released my first single we had some interest from abroad, but we decided to hang back and allow me to grow and practice, get more experience.”

“I want a sound that when people hear it they think: ‘Yeah, this is a Glowie song.’”

Glowie followed up her debut with “Party” and then “No Lie,” and is set to release an EP in June after strenuous recording sessions in London, with long-time collaborator Pálmi Ragnar Ásgeirsson still involved. “We’ve been experimenting with different producers and songwriters,” she says. “We’re close to the sound we want and are happy with. The genre is a mix of hip-hop, RnB and pop, because I like mixing styles into the Glowie sound. But I’m not a fan of copy/paste, or trying to sound like a specific established artist. I want a sound that when people hear it they think: ‘Yeah, this is a Glowie song.’”

Glowie by Art Bicnick

The long haul

The ball started rolling for Sara when she was chosen by the radio station Rás 2 to perform at the Eurosonic festival in the Netherlands. Following her appearance, the interest poured in from major labels. Some sent A&R staff to see her show at Sónar Reykjavík in February. “All in all there were eleven labels interested,” says Sara. “They started making offers, so there was a lot of pressure. I had to make the right decision and cover my bases. Do things sensibly. I picked Columbia because they were passionate about the project and had a long-term vision. Not just dropping a few singles and see what happens—they’re in it for the long haul.”

“Now that I can do whatever I want, it feels a little challenging… but it’s incredibly fun. A dream come true.”

Now faced with introducing herself on the international stage, Sara says she feels at ease putting in the necessary work in London. “It’s such a different environment from working in Iceland,” Sara concludes. “Now there’s money to do what I want—create videos, and make everything top notch. I’ve come to realise these past few weeks how I was used to operating in Iceland where everything has limits. There are only certain options, in terms of locations to shoot a video, budgets and so forth. Now that I can do whatever I want, it feels a little challenging. There’s so much to choose from, but it’s incredibly fun. A dream come true.”

Follow Glowie on Facebook here.


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