Listening to Laufey Lin is akin to being transported to a smoky, candlelit jazz bar circa the 1950s. Half Chinese, half Icelandic, the Boston-based starlet has amassed a fervent social media following thanks to her sublime mix of old jazz standards and self-penned material. Oozing old-world charm, she tackles a variety of classics – everything from Keeley Smith’s heartfelt ‘I Wish You Love’ to Henry Mancini’s timeless ‘Moon River’ – with her heavenly vibrato-rich voice and gently-plucked cello. Her own songs, meanwhile, are just as charming: minimalist singer-songwriter material blending with elements of classical, jazz and folk to make a distinctive whole.
Although relatively new to global audiences, Laufey (it’s pronounced ‘Loy-Vay’) is already a familiar name in her native Iceland. Studying classical piano and cello from the age of four, she made her solo debut as a cellist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra when she was just 15. Along with her love of classical music, she developed a passion for singing, taking a keen interest in the Great American Songbook. Then, in 2014, she competed and became a finalist on Iceland’s Got Talent. A year later, Laufey reached the semi-finals of The Voice Iceland, becoming theyoungest ever competitor in the series.
Five years on from those talent show experiences, she’s now juggling life in academia (she’s in her fifth semester at the prestigious Berklee College of Music) with a promising career as a solo artist. Her first single, ‘Street By Street’, has already reached over 200, 000 streams, and a full debut EP is set to drop this summer.
music fans will adore her for her nostalgia-soaked songwriting;
younger listeners, meanwhile, will surely cherish Laufey’s bracing
authenticity and virtuosity. Laufey Lin: a truly cross-generational
KEY TRACK: ‘Someone New’. Laufey’s latest single, this tear-stained break-up song finds her confessing, “I have to get off Instagram, I keep on going back, looking at our memories.”
Melody Gardot, Corinne Bailey Rae, Rex Orange County.