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Bewitched in a Jazz Revival: How Laufey Introduces Jazz to a Younger Audience

Laufey amasses over 500 million streams across all platforms, known for her modern twist to genres such as jazz, bossa nova, and classical music.

“I wish it would slow down

Even for a second

I’m so old now

Left my adolescence”

Singer-songwriter Laufey poetically encapsulates the feeling of a fleeting life through her song “Slow Down” in her 2022 album, “Everything I Know About Love.” The common theme scattered throughout this album circulates feeling lost, falling behind, and the intense emotions experienced as a young adult. In September 2023, Laufey followed up her previous EP, single album, and full album, with yet another full album entitled “Bewitched.” 14 tracks concoct “Bewitched,” with the most popular title, “From The Start” garnering over 120 million streams.

As a graduate from the Berklee College of Music, Laufey had always known her heart would gravitate towards the lulling sounds of an orchestra and surrounded by choir vocalists. From a very early age, jazz icons such as Ella Fitzgerald and Chet Baker would play non-stop in her childhood home. At the mere age of 4, Laufey began to study classical cello and piano, accumulating copious awards and first place medals in competitions. Then, at the ripe age of 15, Laufey debuted as a cellist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Inspired by her mother, a classical violinist, Laufey and her twin sister Junia, continued to master several instruments as well as an innate instrument: the voice. Laufey participated in Iceland’s Got Talent in 2014 and advanced to the finals, and then continued to be the youngest contestant in the competition when she advanced to the semifinals of The Voice Iceland in 2015. Subsequently, in April of 2020, Laufey released her debut single, “Street by Street,” which reached over 200,000 streams across all platforms at the time.

I admire how unique Laufey’s music is, and how she is reviving the jazz genre while adding her own flare.

— Sophie Herrmann (10)

Since the beginning of her career in 2020, Laufey has noticed the countless mispronunciations of her Chinese-Icelandic name and simplified the correct pronunciation as such: Lay-vay. While the pronunciation of this beloved artist’s name may cause some doubts, there is no doubt that Laufey’s music has shown an entirely new spotlight on America’s worst-selling genre: jazz. Jazz may be a core genre that Laufey explores, however it is not the only one; she is well-versed in genres such as classical music, bossa nova, and mixtures of bedroom pop. Sophie Herrmann (10) admires “how unique Laufey’s music is and how she is reviving the jazz genre while adding her own flare.” Now, you may be wondering; if jazz is America’s worst-selling genre, then how did Laufey gain recognition and seem to blow up overnight? While there is no doubt about the artistic intellect seen in her music, her impressive voice, and seemingly endless list of instruments she has mastered, Laufey publicly flourished through a well-known social media platform: TikTok. A plethora of factors contributed to her social networking – first, songs such as “Valentine” (2022) and “From the Start” began being continuously used throughout the app. Numerous variations of these songs became popular, such as sped-up versions or even covers. All at the same time, Laufey was and still is known as one who has her heart on her sleeve and is not afraid to showcase her personality. To her audience, her presence feels much closer and relatable, instead of a distant, entitled artist. This relatability transcends into her music that many find easy to resonate with. Therefore, America didn’t wake up one day and randomly decided to like jazz again! With time, marketing, and preparation, Laufey scooped up a fanbase who discovered that jazz can be a magical genre with powerful lyricism. Entranced by Laufey’s alluring vocals from the first note onward, many listeners praise Laufey due to her voice being reminiscent of the cello’s rich resonance.

As Laufey tours with her new album “Bewitched,” more and more listeners of younger generations are tuning in, mesmerized by multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Laufey’s captivating vocals and powerful lyricism. 

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About the Contributor
Noelle Wu, Editor
Noelle Wu has loved using journalism as a creative outlet for a while now. With the experience of her middle school and freshman years spent in Newspaper under her belt, she now approaches her sophomore year as an editor. As a competitive debater, Noelle prioritizes addressing contentious issues but is also very passionate about pop culture! In her spare time, Noelle enjoys curling up with a good book or spreading an unsolved murder case file on her dining room table.

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  • M

    Milla JansDec 14, 2023 at 8:05 AM

    Laufey’s music is beautiful, and you did a great job of portraying that throughout your article. I liked that you kept your writing engaging and interesting, and it is very well-written as well.

    Reply
  • M

    MeganDec 14, 2023 at 7:53 AM

    I love this article and I love Laufey! Thanks so much for writing this article, I especially like the tone throughout the article.

    Reply
  • L

    Lancy ShiDec 14, 2023 at 7:53 AM

    I am so glad more people are finding jazz through Laufey! This article is a great introduction to her. My favorite from her is her live album with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra

    Reply