From Iceland — Stepping Into The Sun: RAKEL Is Here With A Dreamy, Escapist Debut

Stepping Into The Sun: RAKEL Is Here With A Dreamy, Escapist Debut

Published April 9, 2021

Stepping Into The Sun: RAKEL Is Here With A Dreamy, Escapist Debut
Hannah Jane Cohen
Photo by
Art Bicnick

“The whole EP is about feeling a little bit unsure of what you’re doing in life,” Rakel Sigurðardóttir says softly. “Just in general. Your place, where you’re at—it’s about kind of escaping your reality in some way.” She pauses, looking around for a minute as if to collect her thoughts, before emphasising, once again, that it’s her first interview about the EP. “So maybe I’m not very good at this, putting these thoughts into words because I’ve never really said them out loud,” she explains, smiling as she takes a sip of coffee.

Called ‘Nothing Ever Changes’, the EP will be Rakel’s first. Under artist name RAKEL, the 28 year old only recently dropped her debut efforts, two singles entitled “Our Favourite Line” and “Keeping Me Awake” at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021. That said, she’s long been in the industry, but now, it’s time for her to take centre stage alone.

Apparently, some things do change.

The right time

Rakel started playing the violin at six, later moving into jazz singing in her teenage years, which she further pursued in school. In the midst of these studies, she began collaborating with indie-folk star Axel Flóvent, with whom she accompanied on many tours over the years.

“Your place, where you’re at—[the EP] is about kind of escaping your reality in some way.”

But despite her impressive resumé, Rakel never started working on her own stuff until early 2020, when she teamed up with producer Hafsteinn Þráinsson, better known as the indie master CeaseTone, and a close friend of Rakel’s.

“About a year ago, Haffi was like ‘Rakel, you need to do something with your stuff! Just bring it to the studio,’” she says with a delicate smile. “That’s how my solo project started rolling. Up until then, I was scared of doing my own thing.”

For Rakel, Hafsteinn’s involvement was serendipitous, giving her the confidence she needed to strike out on her own. “Haffi knows me really well and we connect through music,” she explains. “It was the perfect moment. The focus was right and it’s been a pleasant thing—making music together. I’m happy that I started doing it now at 27. It was the right time for me.”

Creating an outlet

Rakel’s first single, “Keeping Me Awake”, came out in October. The track is a dreamy, emotional melange of pop and electronic beats that crescendos into a cinematic masterpiece worthy of a big-budget blockbuster trailer. In it, Rakel’s voice wavers between soft vulnerability and full-on strength. Her control on her own instrument is immense as she croons to a lover, who is, as Rakel does to a listener, keeping one awake.

“It’s the first song I ever wrote where I was like, ‘Oh, this is something,’” Rakel explains. “It started as a tiny thing. I sampled something and made this loop and then, I just improvised over it and the song just came out whole. That’s actually never happened again since that day,” she laughs.

The EP is, along with her music as a whole, she emphasises, intensely personal. “I create that music that’s serious and a little bit sad. It’s an outlet for those kinds of feelings,” she explains.

But while the EP starts in wistfulness, of feelings of being unmoored, it ends with a bit more strength, Rakel promises. “There’s a kind of relief at the end of the EP, which is a little bit sad, but it’s also a solution,” she concludes. “It’s difficult but it happens.”

Photo by Art Bicnick

RAKEL’s debut EP ‘Nothing Ever Changes’ will be out on April 28th. Check out her current releases on all streaming platforms and follow her on Facebook here.

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