Last January, Lay Low & a friend were watching the same movie as me, I'm Not There about Bob Dylan, in Reykjavik's Rainbow Cinema.
Lay Low: Icelandic Music’s Brightest Hope
In school she sang in a choir but didn’t dare sing solo until she was in her twenties.
Last year a young Icelandic singer who calls herself Lay Low was chosen the most popular artist in Icelandic music. She is popular, very personal and a great musician. She plays enjoyable songs, many of which are her own.
In 2006 her CD Please don’t hate me was released.
Lay Low’s real name is the very Icelandic sounding Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir – not exactly a catchy stage name. Her father is from Sri Lanka and his family name is Ganeshalingam, so that did not really help either. After some deliberation she and her friend came up with this slick and descriptive stage name, as she plays the acoustic guitar and sings quiet songs.
Lay Low is 25 years old and you could say that music is her life in more ways than one. She plays music at night, and sells it during the day in Skífan, a music store in downtown Reykjavík, where she works as a sales clerk.
Sometimes she is asked for her own CD. “Some people are embarrassed, but many ask me for my autograph. I don’t mind, I like it. It comes with being successful.”
Lay Low first learned to play the recorder, then the piano, next the bass and finally the acoustic guitar. In school she sang in a choir but didn’t dare sing solo until she was in her twenties. “I was sure I could not sing!”
Her most recent project is creating and performing the music in the play Driving Lessons by Paul Vogel. Some are her own compositions, and
she also plays some songs by Dolly Parton. She mentions that she experienced stage fright at the beginning, which gradually wore off. The music from the play, staged by the Akureyri Theatre Company, has received considerable radio play.
So does she have a particular role model? “No, not really. The musicians I really like are so good that there is no chance that I could be like them.
Shouldn’t you just try to be yourself? Of course I resemble many people and that’s OK. At the moment I am listening to Jolie Holland a bit. My record player was just fixed so I am also listeningto many old albums and really enjoying it.”
Does she mind being famous? “Everybody is famous in Iceland. It is enough to be on television once and then somebody knows you.
Nobody ever bothers me, but strangers often want to talk to me and I am happy with that.”
Lay Low is both a solo artist and a member of the band Benny Crespo’s Gang. “It is a totally different type of music, which I enjoy.”
So what does the future hold? “I want to be happy and content, in whichever way I can and wherever I end up.”
I & I Issues and Images of Iceland 2008 (Number 1)
Lay Low "Please don't hate me" Live
Lay Low @ MySpace: www.myspace.com/baralovisa