“I’m doing really good,” Guðrún Ýr Eyfjörð Jóhannesdóttir says brightly, smiling as she sits back into a couch at Stofan, delicately sipping an americano. The artist, known under the moniker GDRN, dropped her self-titled sophomore effort just days ago and is currently in preparation for her first big solo debut concert, which will be on April 6th at Háskólabíó.
“This is the first concert I am planning and doing myself and also my first album release show. There will be strings, a full band, everything that is on the album,” she exclaims. “I feel like a kid having her first birthday party, sitting there like, is anyone going to come?” She laughs. “But ticket sales are good and I’m excited.”
The artist burst onto the scene in 2018 with her debut effort ‘Hvað ef,’ which swept through Iceland, turning the RnB singer into the most popular musical artist in the country almost overnight. It also bagged her the Album Of The Year award at the 2019 Grapevine Music Awards.
“I actually started ‘GDRN’ the same month that ‘Hvað ef’ came out,” Guðrún explains. While Guðrún worked with production duo Ra:tio for her debut, for this release, she teamed with Magnús Jóhann and Árnar Ingi—a.k.a. Young Nazareth. “We found this soundscape together, which was a funky pop jazz one. It has a Motown 70s feel to it, which is a lot different than ‘Hvað ef.’ We meant to release the album in May 2019 but we kept making new and better songs and pushing it off. So ‘GDRN’ has been a long time in the making. I wasn’t rushing it, which I think is why I’m really proud of this album.”
GDRN, poetry & imagery
Making the album over such a long period gave Guðrún distance from individual songs—meaning many have become somewhat nostalgic for her. “One song, I wrote it while I was just meeting my boyfriend. It’s about being so into someone, you know?” she laughs. “Now we’ve been together for one and a half years. There are also songs like ‘Hugarró’ that we made maybe four times, over and over again. I remember working on it and thinking that we were never going to finish this album.”
Lyrically, Guðrún emphasises, the album reveals a new side to her. “On ‘Hvað ef,’ I was talking about feelings and telling a story, but on this album, I’m talking a lot more about nature, the sea, and the moon,” she says. “It’s more poetic; I used a lot of imagery.”
Overall, ‘GDRN’ marks a sophisticated new chapter for the still-young artist, showing she’s got way more up her sleeve. “When you listen to the album the first time, you’ll think, wow, these are good pop songs!” she says, grinning. “But when you listen again you’ll see there are so many tiny details and work in every song. Everything is coherent.” She pauses. “All of the puzzle pieces have come together on ‘GDRN.’”
Check out ‘GDRN’ on streaming platforms.
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