Úlfar: “My performance is going to be an intimate storytelling from the bottom of my heart.”

This Saturday, 25th of February we will be having a chance to hear the remaining five acts which are competing at Söngvakeppnin 2023One of the artists who is competing in the second semi-final of the show is professional make-up artist at the City Theater of Iceland and trained singer, Úlfar Viktor Björnsson who goes just by Úlfar. He will be performing “Betri Maður”/“Impossible”.

Hello Úlfar, first of all I would like to congratulate you for being among the artists who compete at Söngvakeppnin 2023! What made you decide to take part at Söngvakeppnin?
Thank you so much! At first my producer contacted me via Instagram and sent me a preview of the song and I really liked it. I was hesitating at first because Söngvakeppnin is by far the biggest platform I’ve had, and it was scary to think about, but I thought “why not? If not now, when?” I’m so thankful I went with my gut and accepted to participate in this because so far it has been so much fun getting to know all of the other contestants and the best of all was to meet my producer which has been my rock throughout all of this.

Can you tell us a bit about your musical beginnings? When did you start singing and what were the songs you enjoyed performing the most?
I started very young to sing, went to singing courses as a child and took part in plays such as Alice in Wonderland for example. I love singing emotional ballads that I can connect to. I find that when I can relate to the lyrics of the song and when the song itself moves me in some type of way, that’s a song I want to sing.

How did “Betri Maður”/”Impossible” came to life and what does it mean for you?
These lyrics are very dear to my heart. It’s about how drastic of an impact it can have when one cannot express their emotions towards their loved one. Because you were so emotionally damaged, you were unable to give back and love someone that really cared for you. It’s about that moment when you wake up and realize that you’ve lost the only think that really mattered to you. You realize that you took a person that loved you the most for granted and ended up not only hurting that person but also yourself.

What can we expect from your performance? Can you share with us any details of it?
It’s going to be an intimate storytelling from the bottom of my heart. There will also be some very meaningful metaphors on stage and a beautiful dramatic acrobatic movements.

In case you qualify to the final of Söngvakeppnin will you perform the English or Icelandic version of the song and which one would you rather choose to perform at Eurovision in the case you win Söngvakeppnin 2023?
If I qualify to the finals I will have to sing the song in the language that it would be performed in Eurovision. I really want to qualify to the finals because I love the English version of this song and would love to sing it in the finals. But we will see! 🙂

Do you watch Eurovision regularly, if so would you like to share a memory which you have of it or a favourite song from the contest?
I watch Eurovision every single year and have done since I was tiny. My favourite song from the contest is Invincible by Carola Häggkvist from 2006. It’s a banger and puts you into such a good mood! But it really is hard to pick just a one favourite song from Eurovision, they are so many legendary ones. It’s undeniable that Loreen does have the best song ever with Euphoria.

If I’m not mistaken in 2019 you have been working in a whale watching company in Reykjavik, how was that experience?
Yes, I did work in Eldingback then which is a whale watching company. Whales are definitely one of my favourite wildlife animals and it was a great experience getting to work so close to those beautiful creatures.

Everyone thinks that life of the LGBTQ+ community in the western and northern European countries is easy and nice but based on your personal experience from 2018 the situation should be constantly improving everywhere. How is the situation for the community in Iceland today and is there something what could be improved?

Yeah, there are always a room for improvement when it comes to protecting minorities. We can always do better in such cases. Even in Iceland, which is very often advertised as a LGBTQ+ paradise, we experience backlash in those issues. This only happens when we stop paying attention to our surroundings. I think it’s vital that primary schools and parents educate their children about the importance of tolerance and respect towards all.

Was there any artist who was your role model when you started singing?

Yes, I really looked up to Birgitta Haukdal and Jónsi when I was little. In the later years my biggest role models in music is definitely John Mayer, Sam Smith and Lewis Capaldi.

What do you do when you aren’t singing? Any hobbies?

I love going to the gym and do an outdoor run. But I’m also a store manager and a professional make-up artist in the City Theater of Iceland. I’m fortunate enough to be able to have my hobbies as a job.

What are your plans after Söngvakeppnin 2023?
I’m really craving to go abroad to some sunny place as the winter here in Iceland has been absolutely terrible weather-wise to say the least. But first I’m going to relax, maybe get a massage and eat something really greasy and gross.

Thank you so much for your time Úlfar. We wish you the best of luck at Söngvakeppnin 2023. Do you want to share something else or you maybe have a message for readers of escbubble?
Thank you for all your support, I really really appreciate it <3

You can listen to “Betri Maður” by Úlfar below:

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