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You Heard It Here First: Icelandic singer Glowie on the positive influence of pop

Every week Stylist is shining a light on a female artist you need to be listening to. This week we meet 22-year-old Icelandic wunderkind Glowie.

Sara Pétursdóttir, better known by her stage name Glowie, is a 22-year-old Icelandic singer with a very distinctive sound: an infectious blend of R&B and upbeat pop. When you listen to her music you can hear her sources of inspiration, drawing on the likes of Destiny’s Child and Alicia Keys as well as her idols Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift

But it’s not just her sound that sets her aside – she is part of a growing wave of socially conscious artists who are celebrating and empowering their female fanbases. Glowie is open about being bullied at school, and she’s used those moments to create heartfelt songs like Body and Cruel to help people going through similar experiences. 

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It is this specific style and sound that has garnered much-deserved attention for the 22-year-old, and it’s only a matter of time before Glowie makes her mark on the global music scene.

Stylist sat down with her to discuss her most formative firsts. 

The first record I ever bought…
Was either a Miley Cyrus album or a Taylor Swift one, they were my idols when I was little and I still listen to them now. But I also stole a lot of CDs from my siblings.

My first source of inspiration…
It comes from all over the place. I take inspiration from anything to be honest. I get a lot from the films I’m watching as well as from friends and family. I’ve always been a creative person. Ever since I was little, I always captured the things I saw and brought them to life in a drawing, painting or poem.

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The first gig I ever went to…
Was my dad and his band, but the first big concert was Frank Ocean in Iceland back in 2013.

The first time I realised music was my future…
Was when I was about nine years old and my dad put up a little recording studio at home. That’s when I really started to practise singing and I just fell in love with it. 

Dad and I spent a lot of time in the studio and he began to push me to become a better singer. He’s been my number one supporter; he would always be there when I was performing, even when I was playing small gigs at school. I was kind of shy as a kid so he was helping me break out of my shell.

I think one of the reasons why we have this strong bond is that we both have ADHD so we relate to each other on a level that no one else can really understand. He’s been through all of it with me, all the way to when I went to London to sign with the label.

The first time I realised I was good at my job…
Is a moment I’m not sure has come yet to be honest. I’ve always been so hard on myself so I don’t feel like I’m 100% satisfied with anything I do. I’m always trying to do better, which I think is important.

The first time I performed…
Was at a school event, I think I was 10 or 11 years old. I sang an Icelandic song about being different which was how I felt in school, so it was a big step for me to stand up on stage, in front of my classmates who were bullying me every day, and sing my heart out. I was super nervous but even then I knew that singing was my first love, the thing I’m most passionate about. It was a massive moment for me. 

Glowie is passionate about uplifting her female fans

The first time I got booked for a gig…
Was after I won a singing competition back in 2014. From that point on, I started to get people calling me to come and perform – mostly for weddings because the song I sang in the competition was a love song: Make You feel My Love by Bob Dylan.

The first time I realised I had fans…
Came just after my first single. I was living in Iceland at the time, back in 2015, and after it came out I started to get a serious following. I had a lot of fans and I noticed that a lot of them were teenage girls.

I was beginning to talk about the really important things to me – the experiences of being a woman and a feminist – on my Snapchat, and as I did I started to notice that a lot of girls were responding and engaging. From then on I acknowledged that I have a responsibility to so many of these young girls. There was definitely a recognition that I had to be careful with my words, but it was also a great moment because I realised the positive influence I could have. 

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The first job I made money from…
Was when I was a nanny back in Iceland. After that I went on to work in an ice cream shop. Those are the only other jobs I’ve ever had.

The first thing I do in the morning…
Is get something to eat because I am always starving when I wake up. That and listen to the radio, particularly Icelandic radio as I like to hear the language.

The first thing I do when I get home…
Is eat. I eat a lot.

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The first thing I’ll spend my money on….
Are clothes. I love to buy clothes, I’m always going to vintage shops in London. I will sometimes bring my boyfriend with me when I go so he’ll stop me getting carried away.

The first female artist Stylist readers should go and listen to after this interview…
Is Amber Mark.

Glowie’s single Unlovable is out now

Images: Reuben Bastienne

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