Laufey Lín Bing Jónsdóttir (Icelandic: [ˈlœyːvei ˈliːn ˈjounsˌtouhtɪr̥]; Chinese: 林冰; pinyin: Lín Bīng; born 23 April 1999), known mononymously as Laufey (/ˈlv/ LAY-vay), is an Icelandic singer-songwriter and record producer. She achieved prominence in the early 2020s for her success as a jazz-inspired pop artist, with critics noting that her jazz-inflected songs have received considerable success for a genre that has largely declined commercially.

Laufey
Laufey in 2021
Background information
Birth nameLaufey Lín Bing Jónsdóttir / 林冰[1][2]
Born (1999-04-23) 23 April 1999 (age 24)
Reykjavík, Iceland
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer-songwriter
  • record producer
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • piano
  • guitar
  • cello
Years active2020–present
Labels
Websitelaufeymusic.com
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese林冰
Simplified Chinese林冰

Having performed as a cello soloist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra at age 15, Laufey was a finalist in the 2014 edition of Ísland Got Talent [is] (Iceland's Got Talent), and a semi-finalist on The Voice Iceland the following year. She released her debut EP, Typical of Me (2021), and graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her debut album, Everything I Know About Love (2022), charted in Iceland and the United States. Its follow-up, Bewitched (2023), won Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards (2024) and performed its single, "From the Start", which found moderate chart success in Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Early life and education edit

Laufey Lín Bing Jónsdóttir was born on 23 April 1999 in Reykjavík, Iceland's capital. Her father is Icelandic and her mother is Chinese,[3] hailing from Guangzhou.[4] Her mother is a classical violinist and her grandfather, Lin Yaoji [zh], was a violin educator at the Central Conservatory of Music in China, which Laufey credits as partly inspiring her love of music.[5][6] She has an identical twin sister named Júnía Lín Jónsdóttir, who is a violinist and serves as her creative director.[7][8] She lived in Washington, D.C., for two years and then moved back to Reykjavík in 2008, where she studied at the Álftamýrarskóli.[9] Laufey started learning the piano at the age of four and the cello at the age of eight. She graduated from the Reykjavík College of Music, where she also studied singing, in 2018.[10] She spent her childhood moving between Reykjavík and Washington, D.C., as well as visiting Beijing.[11]

At age 15, Laufey performed as a cello soloist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.[12] While in Iceland, Laufey participated in the 2014 edition of Ísland Got Talent—the Icelandic version of Got Talent—where she ended as a finalist. The following year she also appeared as a contestant on The Voice Iceland and reached the semi-finals. At the time, she was the youngest competitor in the series' history.[13]

Laufey graduated with a presidential scholarship from the Berklee College of Music in 2021. As of October 2023, she resides in Los Angeles.[4][14]

Career edit

 
Laufey during an interview with IHeartRadio in 2023

On 6 April 2020, Laufey released her debut single, "Street by Street", where it charted at number one on Icelandic Radio.[15] She then launched her first EP, Typical of Me, the following year on 30 April 2021. It includes "Street by Street" and six other songs, where many of these tracks were written in her college dorm room. Rolling Stone particularly praised her rendition of "I Wish You Love".[16] American Songwriter included the EP in its list of best albums of 2021.[17] Additionally, Typical of Me received attention from musicians such as Willow Smith and Billie Eilish.[7]

The same year, Laufey hosted a weekly music show on BBC Radio 3 during spring and summer (and once again during December for a Christmas special) called Happy Harmonies on which she highlighted uplifting music in a wide variety of genres.[18][19] In November, Laufey performed at the London Jazz Festival.[6] Around the same time, she collaborated with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, to release her song "Let You Break My Heart Again".[7] In December, she collaborated with singer Dodie to release another single, "Love To Keep Me Warm", their cover of "Winter Weather" by Ted Shapiro.[20][21]

2022 marked Laufey's United States network television debut when she appeared as the musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on 21 January; there, she played her song "Like the Movies" from Typical of Me.[22] After five months, her debut album, Everything I Know About Love, was released on 26 August 2022 via AWAL to critical acclaim.[23] On Billboard's Alternative New Artist Album chart, the album peaked at number one on its debut.[24]

In August 2023, it was announced that Laufey signed a global publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music (WCM).[24] The following month, her second album, Bewitched, was released on 8 September 2023.[25] A week before the release, she leaked the sheet music for fans to be able to pre-save the album.[26] It was met with critical acclaim and garnered Laufey's first-ever Grammy Award nomination and win, for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards,[27] where she performed with Billy Joel on his closing number, "Turn the Lights Back On."

Public image edit

Influences and music style edit

Although Laufey was influenced by classical music, classical artists such as Frédéric Chopin,[28] and played it from an early age, she turned to her father's records of female jazz musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday to develop her musical style.[4] She has cited Fitzgerald and Chet Baker as her biggest artistic influences, naming the former as her favorite musician. Laufey also cited Taylor Swift, Norah Jones, and Adele as inspirations for her musicianship; she said "[Taylor Swift] has done for pop and country what I hope to do for jazz. She has managed to unite people across the world which is one of my main goals as a musician."[29][30]

The exact genre of Laufey's music style has been subject for debate, she describes her genre by being jazz or jazz pop, while organizations such as National Public Radio,[31] the New York Times, and The Sydney Morning Herald,[32] have noted that the genre of her music includes elements of jazz, pop, bossa nova, and classical, describing the entirety as traditional pop or old-time pop due to the blend of styles in her songs into one.[33]

Critical acclaim edit

Many critics such as Maura Judkis, an editor at the Washington Post,[34] and editor Murray Stassen from Music Business Worldwide[35] noted that Laufey is "bringing back" jazz to Gen Z, as the genre has largely declined commercially, and has received less recognition than other genres when compared to its heyday. In a 2023 article, Music journalist Michael Dwyer of The Sydney Morning Herald described her as a "TikTok jazz ambassador".[32] Organizations such as Billboard and National Public Radio, opined that Laufey created a blueprint for the success of jazz in the music industry today, helping push the genre back into the mainstream scene.[30][36] The release of her second album, Bewitched, received praises from critics due to its composition and her take on jazz. The album received a score of 83 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic based on six critics' reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[37] Morgan Enos, writer at Grammys.com, wrote that Bewitched's success shows Laufey has left "jazz neophytes spellbound".[38]

Fashion edit

Laufey is characterized by her simple and casual fashion style,[39] mixing elements such as lace, pastel colors, and bright metallic elements into her clothing.[40] Vogue and the South China Morning Post have described her fashion style as an "extension to her music",[11] citing a blend of lukewarm colors and jazz-esque clothing incorporated to her clothing during appearances and stage performances.[8]

Discography edit

Laufey discography
Studio albums2
Live albums1
EPs4
Singles22

Studio albums edit

Title Details Peak chart positions
ISL
[41]
AUS
[42]
CAN
[43]
NZ
[44]
UK
[45]
UK
Indie

[46]
US
[47]
US
Indie

[48]
US
Jazz

[49]
Everything I Know About Love
  • Released: 26 August 2022
  • Label: AWAL
  • Format: LP, CD, digital download, streaming
15 [A] 3
Bewitched
  • Released: 8 September 2023
  • Label: AWAL
  • Format: LP, CD,[51] Cassette,[52] digital download, streaming
3 46 38 17 89 20 23 5 1

Live albums edit

Title Details
A Night at the Symphony (with Iceland Symphony Orchestra)
  • Released: 2 March 2023
  • Label: AWAL
  • Format: Digital download, streaming

Extended plays edit

Title Details Peak chart positions
US
Jazz

[49]
Typical of Me
  • Released: 30 April 2021
  • Label: Self-released, AWAL
  • Format: Digital download, streaming, vinyl
2
The Reykjavík Sessions
  • Released: 22 September 2022
  • Label: AWAL
  • Format: Digital download, streaming
A Very Laufey Holiday!
  • Released: 11 November 2022
  • Label: AWAL
  • Format: Digital download, streaming
Christmas with You
(with Norah Jones)
  • Released: 10 November 2023[53]
  • Label: Capitol, Blue Note
  • Formats: streaming

Singles edit

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
AUS
[54]
CAN
[55]
NZ
Hot

[56]
UK
[57]
UK
Indie

[58]
US
Bub.

[59]
US
Rock

[60]
"Street by Street" 2020 Typical of Me
"Someone New"
"Best Friend" 2021
"Let You Break My Heart Again"
(with Philharmonia Orchestra)
Non-album singles
"Love Flew Away"
(with Adam Melchor)
"Love to Keep Me Warm"
(with Dodie)
A Very Laufey Holiday!
"Valentine" 2022 Everything I Know About Love
"Everything I Know About Love"
"Fragile"
"Dear Soulmate"
"Falling Behind"
"Ain't Christmas"
(Alexander 23 with Laufey)
Non-album single
"The Christmas Waltz" A Very Laufey Holiday!
"Valentine" (Live at the Symphony) (with Iceland Symphony Orchestra) 2023 A Night at the Symphony
"From the Start" 85 8 92 39 1 Bewitched
"Promise"
"Bewitched"
"California and Me"
(with Philharmonia Orchestra)
"A Night to Remember"
(with Beabadoobee)[64]
3 84 17 25 TBA
"Christmas Dreaming" A Very Laufey Holiday!
"Winter Wonderland" 69 55 7 26 3 2 Spotify Singles Holiday
"Goddess" 2024 12 Bewitched: The Goddess Edition
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Other charted songs edit

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
NZ
Hot

[65]
"Dreamer" 2023 26 Bewitched
"Second Best" 28
"Haunted" 32
"Lovesick" 21

Notes edit

  1. ^ Everything I Know About Love did not enter the Billboard 200 but peaked at number 50 on the Top Album Sales chart.[50]

Awards and nominations edit

Award Year Work Category Result Ref.
Grammy Awards 2024 Bewitched Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album Won [66]
Icelandic Music Awards 2024 Herself Pop, Rock, Hip Hop, and Electronic Performer of the Year Won [67]
Pop, Rock, Hip Hop, and Electronic Vocal Performance of the Year Won
Icelandic Optimism Award 2024 Won [68]

References edit

  1. ^ Judkis, Maura (14 September 2023). "Chinese-Icelandic jazz singer Laufey wants Gen Z to fall in love". Washington Post. Retrieved 26 January 2024.
  2. ^ "24歲中國冰島混血女歌手林冰獲葛萊美獎" [24-year-old Chinese-Icelandic female singer Lin Bing [Laufey] wins Grammy Award] (in Chinese). World Journal. 5 February 2024. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  3. ^ Ugalde, Jacob (30 April 2021). "Interview: Laufey and the beauty of making it up as you go". From the Intercom. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Ugalde, Jacob (April 2021). "Interview: Laufey and the beauty of making it up as you go". fromtheintercom.com. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  5. ^ "林耀基中國音樂基金 - Lin Yao Ji Music Foundation of China". linyaoji.com. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  6. ^ a b Kent, Matthew (3 December 2021). "On the Rise: Laufey". thelineofbestfit.com. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Holbrook, Emma (13 August 2021). "TREMORS// Laufey is revitalising jazz for the 21st century". thefortyfive.com. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  8. ^ a b Halbert, Mosha Lündstrom (7 September 2023). "Laufey Is the Viral Icelandic Prodigy Bringing Jazz to Gen Z". Vogue. Archived from the original on 25 October 2023. Retrieved 8 November 2023. This gamine persona belies a business savvy aided by her partnership with her creative director: twin sister (and accomplished violinist) Junia Lin Jónsdóttir.
  9. ^ Ruskin, John (24 October 2023). "Nardwuar vs. Laufey". Nardwuar. Retrieved 21 December 2023.
  10. ^ "Á forsetastyrk til Berklee". www.mbl.is (in Icelandic). Retrieved 12 September 2023.
  11. ^ a b Mok, Laramie (19 September 2023). "Meet Laufey, the Icelandic-Chinese Gen Z musical talent: from her record-breaking debut album Bewitched to her love of Chanel and fashion, to her upcoming Hong Kong concerts at KITEC – interview". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
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  48. ^ "Independent Albums: Week of September 23, 2023". Billboard. Retrieved 2 November 2023.
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  50. ^ "Top Album Sales: Week of October 1, 2022". Billboard. Retrieved 26 February 2023.
  51. ^ "Bewitched - CD".
  52. ^ "Bewitched - Cassette".
  53. ^ "Laufey Collaborates with Norah Jones on Two Christmas Duets". Iceland Review. 10 November 2023. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  54. ^ "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 1 January 2024". The ARIA Report. No. 1765. Australian Recording Industry Association. 1 January 2024. p. 4.
  55. ^ Peaks in Canada:
  56. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 24 July 2023. Retrieved 22 July 2023.
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  59. ^
  60. ^ "Hot Rock & Alternative Songs: Week of November 4, 2023". Billboard. Retrieved 2 November 2023.
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  64. ^ "Beabadoobee and Laufey announce new song 'A Night To Remember'". Coup de Main Magazine. 12 October 2023. Retrieved 20 October 2023.
  65. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 18 September 2023. Retrieved 16 September 2023.
  66. ^ Minsker, Evan (10 November 2023). "Grammy Nominations 2024: See the Full List Here". Pitchfork. Retrieved 10 November 2023.
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  68. ^ Edvardsen, Astri (5 January 2024). "Icelandic Optimism Award to Jazzy and Hopeful Artist Laufey". High North News. Retrieved 2 March 2024.