Introducing new jury member: Reykjavíkurdætur’s Steinunn Jónsdóttir

Steinunn Jónsdóttir is a member of the all-female Icelandic hip hop formation Reykjavíkurdætur. Even though she has thrived in the music world since she was very young, growing up she studied classical singing and played the viola, she did not start to write her own music until she was in her early twenties. And then it was in the genre of hiphop and reggae that she found her tone. Since then she has gained success in her home country Iceland as an lyricist and performer with the chart topping band Amabadama whilst concurring Europe with the Daughters. With Reykjavíkurdætur she won one of the public choice awards given out as part of the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards 2019.

What is your view on the European Music scene?
I would say it’s very open and inspired at the moment. Artists don’t need to go through much troubles to reach far, and it’s possible to go a long way just by using the power of social media. I’ve heard stories from people not so much older than me who, in the 90s, had to go overseas and search through piles of records to maybe stumble upon something new to like. Now we are just fed stuff with silver spoons over the internet. So for musicians it’s never been easier to gain listeners from all over the continent. I think it’s also easier for the artists to have control over themselves, their music and image and I think that gives us so much more diversity. What are you looking for in new European artists? I think passion is the most important thing, and honest love for making and/or performing music. I like when people just own what they are doing, what ever it is!

Who is really inspiring to you?
At the moment I’m obsessed with Rosalia! She is just perfect and watching her take over the world makes me very excited. I love how her music is very Spanish folk and universal pop at the same time. But yess, Also so many others! I’m very easily inspired. I even cry over good auditions in reality tv shows.

What do artists need if they want to make it big?
I think it must be to find what makes you special and embrace it, even if you are working inside a tight box always find a way to put your own twist on things! Be original and be courageous. Learn how to take critique from people that know what they are saying and call the bullshit from those who don’t. Never never never let other people opinion on you define you. That can be hard though but the better you know yourself the easier it will be!

What should emerging artists know about the music industry?
My mentor, producers Gnúsi Yones, once told me about this amazing saying: „Music is a mission, not a competition“ It’s such an important reminder, especially when you get caught up in the politics and industrial side of it all. I think it’s maybe extra important if you are a WOMAN trying to thrive in this world. Because we, girls, are brought up thinking there is very limited space reserved for us and therefore we must always be competing against each other for that tiny space. We are told again and again that there is only one crown and to earn it you have to be better then the rest. Therefor we tend to look for the flaw in others and point them out to lessen them thinking that will maybe make our chances better but it’s just bullshit. It leaves us with nothing but bad vibes. We must all stop doing this, and just embrace other people talents and awesomeness. There is room for us all.