Gen Z music sensation Laufey makes jazz accessible to younger audience

Laufey (seen here with designer Prabal Gurung) at the recent Met Gala. Photo: AFP

Grammy-winning singer Laufey is headed our way for a concert on Aug 27. Kuala Lumpur is one of the jazz sensation's Asian stops, which also includes Hong Kong, Taipei, Manila and Singapore.

Laufey (pronounced lay-vay) made her debut at the height of the pandemic, April 2020, with her single Street By Street. Two years later, the Icelandic-Chinese singer released her debut album, Everything I Know About Love, to critical acclaim and secured her first No.1 on the Billboard's Alternative New Artist Album chart.

Not cursed by the sophomore slump, Laufey's second album Bewitched – released September last year – garnered the singer her first Grammy Award, for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album in February, making her the youngest singer to win in that category. Other luminaries who have won in that category include Tony Bennett, Joni Mitchell and Michael Buble.

Raised between Reykjavik in Iceland and Washington, DC in the United States with annual visits to Beijing, China, the the 24-year-old grew up playing cello as well as piano. She became hooked on the jazz standards of Ella Fitzgerald after sifting through her father’s record collection.

She has been lauded for making the jazz genre accessible to a younger audience.

She told Guardian in a recent interview: “The music I make has older inspirations but the lyrics are very modern.

"I don’t see myself as somebody who should have existed in a different decade. I’m very much a 21st-century girl and love living in this time, since there’s no better time to be a woman."

Laufey added that it is a good time to be a musician in this digital age as fans are more open to all kinds of genres.

“We have an abundance of ways to listen to all types of music, and it’s no longer about genre, it’s about feeling and mood.

"At the end of the day, young people want to listen to young people, they don’t want to listen to older people preach to them,” she said.

Ever since she blew up on TikTok during the pandemic, her fans have not only embraced her music but also her sense of style, which has been dubbed as "Laufeycore".

She described her fashion as "a mix of French and Scandinavian style" and is happy to see her fans adopt the style when they attend her shows.

"I think (Laufeycore is) similar to my music, so timeless with maybe a little bit of an edge, which is actually maybe a little girly

"It's a lot of classic pieces, vintage jeans, cardigans, a lot of ribbons. For shoes, it's loafers, Mary Janes and ballet flats," she told Teen Vogue.

Laufey will be staging her Bewitched: The Goddess Tour on Aug 27 at Plenary Hall, KL Convention Centre at 8.30pm. Tickets are sold out.

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