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Laufey: Reviving the Jazz Genre By Danna Taboada

If you ever find yourself head over heels for someone, or if you find yourself daydreaming a life full of love, then there may be one artist in particular you may listen to. That’s Laufey, a 24-year-old Icelandic-Chinese singer-songwriter and record-producer who captivated the hearts of many with her jazz-inspired discography. Singing the ups and downs of love and her own personal experiences, Laufey has achieved great success, garnering over 13 million Spotify monthly listeners and winning Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album at the 2024 Grammys for her second album, Bewitched. Throughout her career so far, Laufey has been able to put the spotlight back onto classical and jazz music, genres that unfortunately have been declining in popularity. But how? 

Laufey was brought up in a family filled with music. Her mother is a talented violinist and her dad was a fan of the Jazz genre, particularly the music of Chet Baker, indicating what two genres Laufey would later go on to become inspired by. She, along with her twin sister, Junia, were thus introduced to the wondrous world of music at an early age with Laufey taking focus on the cello 

and Junia on the violin. Laufey would go on to become the youngest competitor on Iceland’sThe Voice with her low yet mesmerizing voice. 

Laufey’s unique. She’s an artist like no other. She is the one behind the cellos and pianos in many of her songs. She’s the one who includes modern-day terms like “Blah, Blah, Blah” and curse words in songs from a genre that dates back to the 1920s, as mentioned from an interview with her and Vogue. She’s the one who collaborates with orchestras like the Philharmonia Orchestra to cover songs from her discography, giving them a new and engaging feeling. She’s the one who takes inspiration from famous Jazz artists such as Ella Fitzgerald. Personally, what I believe helped her partly achieve all her great success was her voice. It’s low, not as high as most other female artists these days. Yet it’s so beautiful, as if an angel came to sing you to sleep. Thus, many people, like myself, feel much comfortable singing to her songs, knowing we don’t have to strain our voices to sing to her songs. 

Additionally, Laufey talks about the pains of love and life in her songs, a topic that is much seen in the jazz genre. She talks about being left on her own by her lover in “California & Me”,

watching everyone else fall in love but her in “Falling Behind”, and being her true love’s second option in “Second Best.” These are things almost everyone has faced, is going to face, or is facing currently in their lives. And with the help of apps such as TikTok, Laufey has become their way to express all these emotions. A way to sip coffee in a bookstore and daydream a love life with someone who passed you by at a train station. 

And the best thing is, Laufey’s just getting started. Bewitched, as mentioned before, was her second album. Laufey is currently touring once again and has recently just sold out the Hollywood Bowl, a place that can fill up to 17,500 people. She’s set to release her new single, “Goddess” on March 8th. Laufey’s just getting started.

Danna Taboada (she/her) is a sixteen-year-old writer from New York. She loves listening to music of any genre, dancing, spending time with her family and friends, reading, and writing. She plans on majoring in Creative Writing in the future.

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