Exclusive: Iris Holm speaks to escflashmaltaWritten by Marc Calleja Bayliss
Scandinavia as a region has been quite predominant at the Eurovision Song Contest noting that the countries within this particular area have been taking part for quite some time and have racked up a number of victories but then again, one country which is considered to be a part of this group is yet to notch that top result and have been under-rated for a number of years despite the outstanding quality of their entries. This nation in question is Iceland, which despite boasting a very small population of less than half a million people has huge musical potential. Their proceedings for the national selection are set to comments this weekend and we have just been in touch with Íris Hólm, one of the entrants who have spoken to us about her participation as well as her career thus far.
I grew up with so much music around me. Both my parents have been in choirs and there are four generations of drummers in my mothers family. At a young age I started singing with my school choir and I played saxophone wih the school band for 6-7 years. I started singing with the school band pretty soon, and sang songs like “I will always love you” and “Colors of the wind”. When I was 12 years old I competed in a karaoke singing competition, with the song “ Immortally” by Celine Dion, and got 1st place. After that, there was no turning back.
In recent months during the latest edition of the British version of the ‘X Factor’, there has been talk that most of the artists that come out of such shows are manufactured and therefore will not have the possibility of lasting long in the music industry. You are one of those artists who first found fame through the Icelandic version of the popular television reality show receiving public support week after week before being eliminated at the later stage of the competition finishing in fourth place. You were not as a soloist having been part of the group ‘GÍS’ but how did you view the experience in itself and what is your view on the fact that artists have it?
To me the whole experience was a Rollercoaster. Week after week there was a lot of fun, a lot of pressure and a lot of work. Having this weekly support and sing for such big audience every Friday night does without a doubt not give the right image of the music industry. But, however you use this experience is totally up to you. I was only 17 when I competed in X Factor so I was really young. I had some backing voaclist projects after that and I took some time to land with my feet on the ground. But I got to know so many wonderful people, I would never do things differently!
In Iceland, the system is very much different when it comes to the national selection and this is because the main focus is on the songwriters during the initial phases who submit material performed by what is known as a demo artist, one which could and is normally changed should the entry get the green light. The entry that you will be presenting is penned by Þórunn Erna Clausen and composed by Sveinn Rúnar Sigurðsson who is most known for his former entries 'Valentine Lost' and 'Heaven' in 2007 and 2004 respectively. Has this experience been beneficial to you as an artist and what could you tell us about the song itself?
To have such talented people on my team, as Þórunn and Sveinn are, is nothing but wonderful. They both know what they are doing and I feel completely comfortable working with them and I have nothing to worry about.
The introduction of the semi-final system by the European Broadcasting Union might have not been received well in the beginning due to the poor results of some of the countries yet despite a poor start to the record, Iceland has recovered well and for the past four years have managed to make it out of the semi-final stage into the final. The genres have been extremely different from each other but with a second place achieved in 2009 thanks to Yohanna and '', it seems like the country found a niche. This is quite astounding of course but what do you think should be done to better the results in the final?
To me the beauty of Eurovision is that you NEVER know what will 100% work. What people vote for is based on the evening performance and that is what is so exciting. It doesn't matter what genre the song is, if people feel what you are feeling while you perform it and if they get lost in the song the genre can be of any kind.
In Iceland there has been an important notion of live backing vocals for a very long time and this is an extremely positive aspect especially when keeping in mind that during the Eurovision Song Contest, there are no pre-recorded voices. You managed to take up such a position when you joined Yohanna during her performance of the song ‘’ last year hoping to go to Dusseldorf, Germany as part of her team yet despite the early tag as a favourite to the competition, certain circumstances proved otherwise. What was it like being part of the team behind a former runner-up to the European competition and secondly, what were your thoughts on the winning entry?
Yohanna is dear friend of mine and I have so much respect for her. She is a professional in everything she does, and to be able to work with her and sing with her was just an honour. The winning entry was a friendly song, performed by friendly and warm group of close friends. I had a smile on my face everytime they performed 'Coming Home´ and just like I said, when you get lost in a song nothing else matters. ´´ deserved to perform the song in Düsseldorf.
Your music career will continue to take share in 2012 especially when considering that you will be kicking it off with a participation in the Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins. The next couple of days are surely going to be hectic but there is also the possibility that the next couple of months might be interesting should there be the eventuality of you being chosen as the next representative for the small country of Iceland. What does Íris Hólm have in store for the rest of the year in terms of music and have you thought about the possibility of winning the selection or would you like to move just one step at a time?
I can't change what happened yesterday, and I can't decide what happens tomorrow. It´s all about 'now' and I am just gonna do my best. Whatever happens is simply not in my hands. But I am forming a new band, old dream of mine. We have songs and material we have been composing and I look forward to getting it out there and let you hear and hopefully enjoy.
Would you like to say anything to your fans and our readers at www.escflashmalta.com?
I would just like to thank everyone that have shown me support! I know Malta is filled with kind and wonderful people, and after my visit in 2009 I dream of having the opportunity to come back! I really look forward to perform on Saturday evening and may the best song win!
Source: RÚV (Image)