Published September 5, 2018
Swirling in a sea of luscious, soulful harmonies and sleek, modern trap beats, breakthrough newcomer GDRN’s music is slightly anachronistic and highly addictive. “When we started doing this we had no idea what we were going to do, we just did something that we thought would be cool,” says Guðrún Ýr Eyfjörð Jóhannesdóttir, aka GDRN. “We didn’t define what this was supposed to be. It just was what it was.” The 22-year old musician brims with a relaxed, infectious smile and a generous laugh that fills the entire room.
The singer exploded quite suddenly into Reykjavík’s music scene after releasing her first single “Ein” in 2017. The project began when her college friends Teitur Helgi Skúlason and Bjarki Sigurðarson, who produce under the name Ra:tio, asked Guðrún if she could add her jazz trained voice to the cool hip hop beats they were making. They released the single about six months later and just days after releasing the single, she was signed by Alda Music. Almost a year later, on August 7th, she released her first album, ‘Hvað ef.’
“It was really cool,” she says. “It was really fast. I just jumped into the really deep swimming pool!” The album was co-written and produced with Ra:tio as well as Auðunn Lúthersson, aka Auður, who became a key collaborator. “He has these endless ideas and he’s so quick at picking things up because we kind of have the same jazz music education, so we have the same language,” she says. “We made one of the songs just one week before I was supposed to release my album. I really wanted it on the album and the label pushed back and I was just like, ‘I’m in charge here.’”
Guðrún was launched into the spotlight playing standout shows at the Iceland Airwaves and Secret Solstice festivals, which she thrives on. “I love performing,” she says. “I always get a bit of butterflies but that just means that you care, you want it to go well. I get so much out of getting on stage and singing and being in front of all the people.”
Currently studying music, Guðrún has been an active musician for nearly her entire life, beginning with classical violin at age four and switching to jazz piano and singing twelve years later. “I really have this burning passion for music and I always have,” she says. “My parents are both artists so they have always been really supportive of everything I do.”
This supportive creative environment has built her into an artist with both clear vision as well as flexibility and a true sense of play. It has also shaped her into a person who exudes a genuine, laid back confidence beyond her years.
“I never want to define everything really concretely but I always have a bit of an idea what I do and don’t want to do,” she says. “I decided when I started this that I have to stay true to myself. I’m not some kind of a really sexy, attitude-y cool girl. I’m just me. The lyrics are really honest and everything I do is just, me. That’s also why I feel so comfortable performing. People are not expecting anything else than just me.”