Skaði Þórðardóttir emits a golden aura. She’s positive, open, and friendly—the type of girl you want to share secrets with at a sleepover. Her music is equally alluring. Layering goth drum loops with eerie synths and soothing vocal harmonies, Skaði creates music that’s both mysterious, and undeniably danceable pop.
Already a legend in the queer and alternative Reykjavík scene, Skaði is finally making the jump to the mainstream with her performance at this years Secret Solstice.
Skaði is transgender, and very open about how it affected her artistically. “In a way, when I was in the closet—or, I want to say, in the coffin—I wanted to bury it and just wait until I would wake up and not feel that way,” she says, with visceral emotion in her voice. “I thought there would be something in my words or tone that would out me.”
Transitioning, she emphasises, gave her the space and energy she needed to focus on art authentically. By becoming comfortable with herself, she could finally put herself out there as the solo artist Skaði. And that’s exactly what she did.
This first performance came at Drag-súgur’s January 2016 show. “I was so stressed,” says Skaði. “But thinking back now, it was one of the first times where I felt like, these are my people. This is where I belong. Like, finally!” She smiles. “No one gives a damn about my gender identity but everyone cares about it. That was Drag-súgur and Gaukurinn. Nobody gives a fuck, but everybody cares.”
This welcoming environment gave Skaði a place to grow, both artistically and personally. Since then, she’s musically blossomed, becoming one of Reykjavík’s most promising pop machines. “Musically, I have been told I am the illegitimate child of Peaches and Trent Reznor,” Skaði says, laughing, clearly flattered by the comparison. “But myself? I would say my music is colourfully goth. Onstage, I’m aggressive but caring. I aggressively care.” It’s a fitting description. Even off stage, Skaði radiates empathy.
She’s aware though of how significant her position is, both as a musician and a role model. “Being a pop artist that gets attention and is playing at Solstice shows I’m just like everyone else,” she adds. By that, she’s referring to her identity as a trans and bisexual woman. “I get the flu. I work in construction. I have Christmas dinner with my family.” She laughs. “But I won’t lie, I do love the attention, and, not to be arrogant, but I belong there.”
Playing live and performing is what’s most dear to her. “At a show, we’re celebrating being alive,” she says. “That’s what music is. It creates empathy for us. When we go to a music venue, you are moving, you are existing with other people. You start to feel, I belong.” In one breath, Skaði gets peaceful, almost as if remembering the moment she first felt like that. “I know that as long as we have humans, we will create music,” she finishes. “We will always celebrate our existence with each other.”