Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir: A Solo Exploration Of Solitude And Botany

Nanna In Full Bloom A Solo Exploration Of Solitude And Botany

Nanna In Full Bloom: A Solo Exploration Of Solitude And Botany

Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir (born 6 May 1989) is an Icelandic musician. Nanna originally performed solo, performing by the name Songbird. She is the lead vocalist and guitarist, along with  of the Icelandic indie folk band

Nanna was raised in , a town in southwestern Iceland She has two sisters, one is a make up artist and the other a teacher.] As a child, Nanna attended . Before Of Monsters and Men had become established, Nanna had a solo musical project called Songbird. She wrote and performed music on open mic nights around Reykjavik and was a video store clerk

Of Monsters and Men

Since expanding her Songbird phase, Nanna recruited five musicians, that eventually became in 2010 – , Ragnar (now, ex-member), and  After a week of working together, they won the annual music competition

They soon released their debut studio album  in late 2011. The album charted in multiple regions and the band gained popularity worldwide After the Seattle radio station broadcast a performance from Ragnar’s living room, the band went viral The album reached No.1 in Australia, Iceland and Ireland and No.1 on the U.S. Rock and Alternative charts. The band was tapped to write a song for the film  and then a single  that was used in   18 months after its release The song “I of the Storm” was included in the USA television series “Falling Water”.

They released three called ” and ” and music videos for each. The videos received several million views on YouTube, the one for “Little Talks” having the most views (316 Million views as of September 2021)

The band went on to release the album  in 2015, along with three music videos and thirteen lyric videos. Their latest album, , was released in May 2019. They performed the songs “Alligator”, “Wild Roses”, and “Wars” on  and and released music videos for each.

Solo career

On 13 January 2023,] she released the single “Godzilla” under the name Nanna, followed by a second single “Crybaby” on 22 February and the announcement of a solo album entitled How to Start a Garden, released on 5 May 2023. On 5 April, she released a third single, “Disaster Master”. Nanna wrote most of How to Start a Garden in a cabin outside of  About the project, Riff Magazine stated, “she captures a magnificent soundscape—rich, warm and subtle—that feels solemn and full.

In July 2023, Nanna performed at the which Rhode Island Magazine wrote, “offered a more slowed-take on the dreamy Icelandic vibe.

On her solo debut, Nanna considers the gargantuan task of starting over

Things have come full circle for  . She started her musical career as a solo artist, recording under the name Songbird, before it quickly morphed into the band,  And you know how that went: Their first single, “Little Talks,” became a worldwide hit. Since then, the band’s released three successful albums, most recently 2019’s Fever Dream.

Nanna’s life was upended by the pandemic. With no tour to go on, she retreated to a cabin outside of Reykjavík, one she lovingly calls the witch hut, and took some time for reflection. It led to what she started doing in the first place: a solo album, fittingly called How to Start a Garden. In this session, Nanna talks about how that musical garden’s seeds were planted and how they grew and flourished.

 

Things have come full circle for  . She started her musical career as a solo artist, recording under the name Songbird, before it quickly morphed into the band,  And you know how that went: Their first single, “Little Talks,” became a worldwide hit. Since then, the band’s released three successful albums, most recently 2019’s Fever Dream.

Nanna’s life was upended by the pandemic. With no tour to go on, she retreated to a cabin outside of Reykjavík, one she lovingly calls the witch hut, and took some time for reflection. It led to what she started doing in the first place: a solo album, fittingly called How to Start a Garden. In this session, Nanna talks about how that musical garden’s seeds were planted and how they grew and flourished.

reach for my phone outside an old industrial building in Reykjavík’s . Once the main hub for the city’s fishing operations, it is now a gentrified landfill with two streets running parallel, separated by a row of refurbished fish-freezing plants. Afraid the furious North Atlantic winds might blow the phone out of my hands; I dial a number and tell the voice on the other end I’m outside our rendezvous point. Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir swings open a steel door, a smile on her face, and invites me in. She tells me the space used to be the warehouse of outdoor apparel brand Don Cano. My reaction likely betrayed my utter lack of knowledge about 90s fashion brands, but apparently everyone and their grandmother had a Don Cano piece — even former president

Ascending a dark stairwell leading to the second floor, Nanna’s studio space is flooded by sunlight streaming through the wall-to-wall windows. I admire her instruments, which lay strewn across the room as wind kept blowing outside, noisily battering the windows.

Breaking out with Of Monsters and Men

My first memory of Nanna is from 2010, when I was 14 years old and participating in , Iceland’s annual battle of the bands. As luck would have it, we played the same night of the semi-finals. Then in her early 20s, Nanna was unaware of the impact her participation in the contest would have on her career. A previously unknown band, Of Monsters and Men won the competition and ultimately blew up the following year with the release of their debut single “Little Talks.”

Before meeting with Nanna, I was content calling her solo project a new direction for the artist. On the surface, there’s a completely different sound, texture, song structure and brand being mediated through this ‘new’ outing. After my conversations with Nanna, however, I have changed my mind. Although stylistically different from her band’s offerings, this new chapter in Nanna’s career doesn’t seem to be a new direction or a start of something different. As she explains, it’s a continuation of her earlier songwriting efforts; an extension of herself. “It was really a bit of a dilemma. I found it very difficult to call it a solo project,” she confesses.

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