Iceland: Íris Hólm speaks to esctoday.com

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In anticipation of the final of Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins 2010, Iceland's pre-selection to determine the country's representative at the Eurovision Song Contest, esctoday.com will be providing you with interviews of all six participants competing for the honour of representing Iceland in Oslo. The national final will be held this Saturday, February 6th and our series of interviews continues with &Iacuteris H&oacutelm. Find out what she had to say below.

First of all, congratulations on qualifying to the national final of Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your band Bermuda and how you got involved with the music business in the first place.

Thank you! It´s all like a big dream coming true. Well I started singing when I was around 9 years old, competed in my first singing competition at the age of 11, and competed in many more after that. In the year of 2005, I decided to try out for the Icelandic Idol. I got to the Top 30. The year after, I competed in X-Factor with my friend, in a duet called GÍS. Páll Óskar was our tutor, with Hera Björk as our vocal coach and actor Árni Pétur going through stage performance. We ended up in 4th place. I had a lot of opportunities after X-Factor. I got a call from Gunnar, the drummer of Bermuda, and he asked me if I wanted to join the band. I was thrilled. I got a list of songs, and practiced before the “audition”, and in no time the audition changed to rehearsal and I was hired on the spot. I was a featuring artist in 2009 with the singer and performer Haffi Haff, in his song Control. We travelled all the way to Malta last summer to sing the song in the live broadcast of Miss World Malta. Haffi is a good friend of Gerard James Borg, musician and lyricist. He wrote the lyrics to Haffi´s song Give Me Sexy. He invited him to Malta, and I got to go along. It wasparadise! Such a beautiful island and I really wanna go to Malta again.

You were one of the two qualifiers in the first semi final of Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins. Out of the five competing songs, there were three ballads and your song was the only ballad to qualify. How did that make you feel? Did it come as a surprise to you? What do you think you had that the other singers didn’t have?

I felt amazing. I didn´t expect it at all. All I thought about was to do my best, and after my performance it was no longer up to me. It was in the hands of the televoters. I think all the singers in the semi-finals have their strengths and I´m really thankful for being in the finals this year.

Your song 'The One' is quite a classy ballad with the protagonist mourning the loss of the love of her life to another woman. What does the song mean to you personally? Can you relate to its’ message?

I think no one want´s to see the person you love in the arms of another woman or a man. It is a feeling that I really think eats you inside. All I can do is trying to relate to people that are familiar with this experience, they will find the one and only someday. Let’s not forget that in the lyrics there is still hope. ,,Come back to me someday” gives a hint of hope and faith.

Your performance in the semi final was very emotional, with you being alone on stage, fully concentrating on your vocal performance. Will you leave it like that for the final or do you plan on changing something? Maybe another dress?

I will be alone on the stage. That’s the only thing that will be like in the semi. My dress is specially made for the finals, but people have to wait and see. My hair will be different. But I will hopefully bring the same emotions in the finals.

The Eurovision Song Contest is extremely popular in Iceland, especially after Yohanna’s sensational 2nd place at the 2009 edition. How much of a fan are you personally and what does the contest mean to you?

I think Eurovision is a big opportunity for singers and musicians. Not to mention the semi finals, like Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins, that give you a huge opportunity to let people know who you are and what you are able to do. I'm a huge fan myself and watch the competition every year. My family, and our friends have a barbeque every year when the big finals are, so it’s a big deal to me.

In an interview with Icelandic broadcaster RUV you were asked about your favourite Eurovision songs of all time and mentioned Andorra 2006 (Jenny- Sense tu) and Slovenia 2005 (Omar Naber- Stop). Generally speaking, are dramatic ballads your favourite kind of music? If so, what are the reasons for that?

I´ve always been a big fan of languages in general. I mentioned those two songs but I have so many favourites. I thought Tha 'ne erotas from Cyprus in 1999 was fun. I was 10 years old at that time, when Selma got 2nd place, and i danced to every tune again and again. I knew all the backing vocals to Tha ´ne erotas, and the lyrics to Marija Magdalena from Croatia. I listen to the songs that compete a lot, and I predict year after year. If my predictions are correct is a whole other story.

Let’s talk a bit about the national final to be held on Saturday. In your opinion, how big are your chances of winning and who do you see as your main competitor for victory?

I stand against really strong performers who have been popular in Iceland for a long time. I´m the only “new” face in the finals. I wanna believe I have a chance of winning, but if that doesn’t happen, I´m still extremely grateful for this opportunity and the support!

What would it mean to you to represent Iceland at the Eurovision Song Contest?

What can I say? It would mean the world to me! I recorded the Eurovision Song Contest on VHS in the year 1999, when Selma represented Iceland and I´ve been a fan of Eurovision since. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would mean to me. I would be forever thankful!

After Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins, what are your future (musical) plans and, in case you won’t win, will you be back at next year’s national pre-selection?

After Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins I will focus on singing with my band Bermuda. We are working on our own music and own material along rehearsing for concerts we will have downtown Reykjavík soon. If the right song comes along next year, we´ll never know. It´s been a lot of fun and I think that will be the main reason to join again. You just can´t get enough.

To come to the conclusion, what message would you like to give to the readers of esctoday.com?

For a Eurovision nerd like me, it´s really a dream to be in the finals in Iceland. I really wanna thank everyone, Icelanders and people from Europe for all the support! I hope I´ll see you in Oslo in May, if not, you ain´t seen nothing yet!

Esctoday.com would like to thank Íris Hólm for taking the time to this interview and wish her the best of luck for the Icelandic national final on Saturday.

Interview with Icelandic broadcaster RUV:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xyhcupa_10o

Íris'bid for Eurovision, The One:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz5TJ2GXOaM

Live performance of The Oneat the secondfirst final of Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dKkqgfH4ww

Cover version of I'm Not Ready To Make Nice by the Dixie Chicks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhOSxMbS10I

Cover version of Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFGk-uST-Og

Cover of Dear Mr. President by P!nk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEA9S_GXUpk

Cover version of Dum Tek Tek by Hadise (Turkish Eurovision entry of 2009):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_qbYCuOgZQ

Íris and Gústi- Don't Give Up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9j_R8ZvDUQ

Control by Haffi Haff featuring Íris:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X3dXM9hxXA

Bermuda- Live In The Moment:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7D1f1A2LiU

Bermuda- Need You:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK-Y4-oa3yU

Bermuda- Dreaming Of Bermuda:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nEKQeF2Dd0

Bermuda- November Day:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5KKWJjKshM

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