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Eurovision 2017: Spotlight on Svala (Iceland)


Iceland – After a shock result last year that saw Greta Salome fail to make the grand final, Iceland return with one of their most popular artists… Pop Star Svala. Svala will be performing in the first semi final on May 9th with her song “Paper” and here we will tell you some more about her

Song: “Paper”
Music By: Svala Björgvinsdóttir, Einar Egilsson, Lester Mendez and Lily Elise
Lyrics By: Svala Björgvinsdóttir, Einar Egilsson, Lester Mendez and Lily Elise

About Svala
40 year old Svala Björgvinsdóttir was born in Reykjavík and is the daughter of Björgvin Halldórsson who represented Iceland in the contest back in 1995 with ” Núna” which came 15th. Svala started her career performing back up vocals for her fathers album at just age 7 and at aged 9 got a #1 single when performing a duet with her father on the song “Fyrir Jól” which was a Christmas Single.
In 1999, Svala signed a record deal with EMI and their Priority Records label which was eventually bought out by Capitol Records. In 2001 her debut solo album “The Real Me” was released and enjoyed national success as well as success in Germany, Spain and Japan.
As well as a solo career Svala has been a member of several groups throughout her work life. At 16 she formed Scope before leaving to joining the group the Bubbleflies.
Her most successful group however is Steed Lord who she formed with her (then boyfriend, now husband) Einar Egilsson and his brother Edvard Egilsson. Steed Lord have found success not only in Iceland but also America.
In 2015 Svala was hired as one of the Mentors on the Icelandic version of The Voice and she also has her own fashion line “Kali” (the name she goes by when performing in Steed Lord).
Svala is also a trained ballet dancer and studied at the Icelandic National Theatre Ballet.

Svala was selected to represent Iceland by beating off 6 other acts in the National Final Söngvakeppnin. With the backing of the public (they gave her double the points) she was able to beat runner up Daði Freyr Pétursson.
Lester Mendez, one of the songs composers is an American Songwriter and producer and has written songs for Santana, Anastacia and most successfully, Shakira writing hits such as “Underneath Your Clothes”, “Objection (Tango)” and “La Tortura”.

Lyrics:
(Taken from 4Lyrics)

You’re under the water
Trying to pull me under
I reach for you
I reach for you

You can throw it all at me, I won’t give you up
I can handle all your pain, take it as it comes
I love you right, but you make me feel like

Paper, you cut right through
I’m stuck like glue to you
Paper, your darkness pulls
I lose control again

Drawing every bit of my truth
Colour me in with your blue
Paper, you cut right through
A thousand words for you

I know I wasn’t a part of you plan
I know you think that you’re being a man
Tell me to leave you alone
Tell me I would be so better off
But you don’t understand

I canʼt leave you, baby
I can’t leave you
But you make me feel like

Paper, you cut right through
I’m stuck like glue to you
Paper, your darkness pulls
I lose control again

Drawing every bit of my truth
Colour me in with your blue
Paper, you cut right through
A thousand words for you

Paper, you cut right through
I’m stuck like glue to you
Paper, your darkness pulls
I lose control again

Drawing every bit of my truth
Colour me in with your blue
Paper, you cut right through
A thousand words for you

Svala on Social Media:
Facebook: svalakali
Twitter: @svalakali
Instagram: @svalakali

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284 comments on “Eurovision 2017: Spotlight on Svala (Iceland)

  1. I like this song but I have so much respect for it now I know one of its writers wrote for Shakira who I am a big fan of. It’s in my top 15

  2. Svala seems a very competent performer. The song per se is definately my cup of tea.
    Therefore: #11 on my 2017 list.
    Good luck!

  3. I wouldn’t be surprised if Iceland missed the Grand Final for another year. Even if it’s quite early to predict, betting odds suggest they will finish #13 out of 18 in first semi…It will all depend on the running order. Good news is that Iceland will be performing during the second half.
    I quite like the song, however I can’t relate to the whole perfomance. I am missing some connection and warmth, partly due to the english lyrics that fail to convey the right imagery and lyrical depth. Work needs to be done in other aspects as well f.e lights, outfit etc.
    6,5/10
    #15/43
    #9/18
    Good luck!

    • I have reviewed SF1 and the finalists in the previous thread in case you are curious :p

  4. After some break Iceland is back on track. I really enjoy this mix of electro and 80s sounds plus the effective staging. I loved it since day one and I am sure Svala will do a good job May come. It is a strong YES from me.

    SF: 4th
    Overall: 6th
    Prediction: Likely qualifier – it will not do top10 in the final though.

  5. This is the intro video where Svala talks about what the song is about:

  6. Kazakhstan that has no official OGAE club are the first to give their votes:

    ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

  7. It’s a decent song with above average lyrics (by ESC standards) and a competent live performer. Alas, it still gives me Icebreaker vibes nevertheless. I don’t think that the extremely cold sound will work in ESC. Good luck!

    • Hmmm “Icebreker” was almost in the bottom for me last year, while ”Paper” is my number 2 this year, I personally don’t see simlarities at all, but all right..I don’t see anything similar in composition, the color of voice, styling, outfit..I dunno really..

      • The coldness. It won’t be popular in the south and the east imo but we’ll know soon. Personally, I like it too but I don’t always expect songs I like to do well …

  8. Mini Margaret is really not rocking my boat. It’s too cold and too obvious. Still she is a very strong performer and she is in my dream final.

  9. I love shakira’s underneath your clothes and la tortura:) Too bad the composer is not very successful this time…

    • The video of La Tortura and Alejandro Sanz 🖤🖤🖤

      • Spanish gossip machine always suggests that Shakira and Alejandro had a thing going and she still shines her light to him , although Gerard gave her his (very likeable body) and babies :-) !!

        • Alejandro kicks Gerard’s butt anytime ;)

          • Shakira singing Catalan song “Boig per tu” (Crazy for you), which is no doubt Gerard’s favourite Catalan song, indeed is like a Catalan national anthem song almost, I agree she would have done better with Alejandro, what’s funny is hearing her speak Catalan now, them together via the song :.)

            • and to add official video of her singing Catalan song “Boig per tu” was eliminated via social media, on various grounds :-(

  10. Happy World Happiness Day to everyone! (sending happy vibes via PC. :-) which seems appropriate here as Iceland are in top 5 happiest nations it seems! (Norway are 1st). As for the Icelandic song, it is currently one of those in my “could grow on me” list as I feel it has potential and I like Svala as an artist, there is just something missing to make it into my current favourites (which is a fairly small list at the moment :-( )

  11. SF2 review

    Austria: Not exactly my style but pleasant and fresh; good vocalist though his high notes are a bit shouty. They should polish it live otherwise it might get lost. OK.

    Denmark: Anja is a strong vocalist and confident live performer. The song on the other hand is a typical middle of the road radio-friendly song which I absolutely detest. NO+.

    Hungary: A great blend of ethno and western style performed by a strong vocalist. Add to this the non-English lyrics and you may have the strongest ethnic entry in the lineup. A Dal delivers once again quality and diversity. A solid YES.

    Ireland: A ballad with character but the bridge comas and destroys everything. Based on the studio version we might be dealing with a weak vocalist. Take out the choir which adds to the song and this might sound bear and weak May come. An OK- effort at the moment.

    FYR Macedonia: Pretty much like Cyprus but the song is a lot better. It is all up to the live now. Of course this is by far their best entry and I hope they take the advantage to work on it thus landing them their best result ever. An OK+ at the moment entry with a strong prospect to go higher.

    Malta: Malta as we normally know it. Cheesy and always in the amateurish spectrum of euro-pop ballads. A loud NO-.

    Netherlands: The Dutch are offering a trio vocal powerhouse. The song is not something to write about but it bares some strong elements. I must admit that the more I listen to it the less I am connected to it. An OK- entry at the moment with the possibility go up/down in May
    .
    Romania: Unequivocally they are good in what they do. Fun and unique but certainly not the cup of my tea. Like Moldova they receive a NO+ due to the fun element. I am not intending to offer a better evaluation though.

    Russia: I have issues judging this but let’s say I don’t like the song. There is a certain melancholy and melody in the song I enjoy thus saving it from the penultimate bottom of my list. It is a NO effort with the prospect to go a bit higher.

    Serbia: A solid pop effort performed by strong vocalist. Not my type of course and it lacks originality. A strong and adequate live performance might help it a bit though. A NO+ at the moment.

    Belarus: Easily among the best Belarussian entries. It also stands out by being exclusively ethnic mention. I am sucker of ethnic music in general but this one isn’t exactly the best example. The live is decent but the lady should tone down a bit; it comes across shouty and inexperienced. An OK effort at the moment.

    Bulgaria: Bulgaria delivers yet again. Easily among the best entries of SF2. A solid contemporary ballad with interesting sounds and production. It is up to the live rendition now but the last two times I have listened to it the connection felt less stronger. YES-

    Croatia: Honestly. Did this mess came from an internal selection? It is kitsch and banal in several respects; the Italian opera singing, the lyrics and the orchestration. A loud NO- and rock solid bottom material in my ranking.

    Estonia: This is the second entry I revised my views about since I first heard it. Though, I do not buy the whole concept the 80s elements add some nostalgia to the whole act thus making it more palatable. An OK- effort overall with little prospect of improvement though.

    Israel: I hate it with passion. A widely-recycled eurodance sound right in your face aiming to grab your attention by being pompous, putting forward a good looking guy and having lots of dance routine on stage – typical stuff. Israel spend little time in composing a nice song despite opting for an internal selection. One would have expect more from them. It a loud NO from me. Subject to the live rendition it might go up a bit.

    Lithuania: Another weirdo act from Lithuania. Add to this some bad vocals and an irrelevant song acting and you get a poor and annoying blend…it a NO- with passion.

    Norway: Flat and uninspiring song yet it manages to win me every time I am listening to it. It is of course very contemporary and offers something different. Like Estonia and

    Finland I have revised my views about it a bit and at the moment it is a OK- effort.

    San Marino: Honestly, how long did it take them to produce this song? Annoying, boring, repetitive and desperate eurodance number. It can’t be worse IMO. NO-

    Switzerland: Ugh…third time Switzerland choses a lame singer. Someone teach her some diction; it is Apollo, not Apppppollllllo. The song of course is poor and nothing to write about. Romanians – given their popularity of the band in Romania might give them a 12. It is a strong NO at the moment. She really needs to work…

    Ranking:

    1st HUN
    2nd BUL
    3rd FYRoM
    4th BLR
    5th AUT
    6th EST
    7th NED
    8th IRL
    9th NOR
    10th DEN
    11th SRB
    12th ROM
    13rd RUS
    14th ISR
    15th SWI
    16th LIT
    17th SNM
    18th MLT
    19th CRO

    Prediction:

    DEFO IN: DEN, HUN, ROM, SRB, ISR.

    Most likely IN: AUT, RUS, NED.

    Can go either way: FYRoM, BLR, EST, NOR.

    Dead: MLT, CRO, LIT, SNM, SWI.

    • Ι agree with almost everything you write for both semis, even though I am a bit more partial towards the party songs (Israel, Moldova, Romania).

    • We agree on 7 out of 10 qualifiers.
      In my list there would be Switzerland, Israel and Serbia in TOP10 (in stead of Belarus, Netherlands and Denmark).

      I am glad that at least someone has put Norway in TOP 10 (it is my overall number 12, and my nmber 5 in SF2).

      BTW; congratulation, nice work with reviews, both this one, and the one in previous thread. :-) I don’t agree on many things, but it was interesting to read. :-)

    • My prediction for both semis’ qualifiers right now:

      SEMI1Roma

      Australia (? – only because it’s Australia)
      Azerbaijan
      Belgium (? – depending on the live)
      Finland
      Portugal
      Sweden
      Armenia
      Iceland
      Moldova
      Poland

      SEMI2

      Austria
      Denmark
      Hungary (?)
      FYRoM (? – depending on the live)
      Romania
      Russia
      Bulgaria
      Estonia
      Israel
      Norway (?)

  12. A fine song. I don’t go wow about it, but it’s in my top 10 :-)

  13. Excellent melody, excellent orchestration, very convincing performance by Svala, and fairly good lyrics make this song my overall number 3 (and my number 1 in SF1), with 8/10.

    I have a problem with this song :-) same one that I had with Estonia.
    I love both songs, they are very much “my cup of tea”, and I was all the time questioning myself if I was being objective enough, when I put Iceland at 3/41, and Estonia at 5/41.

    In the end, I do hope I succeeded in being objective.

  14. Hey unlike the horrors of 2013-2015, Iceland is sending a good entry! It’s lacking in lyrics, in performance, style, but it’s a nice song. I don’t see it in the final though.


  15. so much to like and maybe not to like, here in Spain we can say that 1999 was a favourite as well as 1987 I think, in the end Iceland kind of got lost within the rest of Scandinavian shows ?

  16. It’s in my top ten and I love it a lot, but I’m nervous as to how it’ll do. Every year needs its shock non-qualifiers, and it really seems like this could be one of this year’s.

  17. Don’t the lyrics get a whole new dimension when Svala says she’s actually talking to herself and her fight against anxiety?It really touched me.
    On the song: I like the cold electro feel and Svala is a really competent singer who knows how to perform.I wish they’ll work with the lights for an effective live performance.It could qualify but being in the first semi,it’s gonna be a difficult task.

  18. Greta’s new video for “My Blues”

  19. First draft of my top 10:
    1) Italy (I literally can’t listen to this song without smiling. The creativity and thought behind it shocks me and it’s merits for a good place are high from the get go)

    2) Israel (This is the kind of songs I am here for, this si a blast from start to finish. It’s a less corny Golden Boy [Golden Boy needed to have that silliness to them in a much slower year], it feels refined and expensive, this will do REALLY well)

    3) Bulgaria (Best ballad, best production, all feels so expensive and that ethnic touch is the cherry on the pie, wish it was more)

    4) Belgium (Not perfect, but addictive, much creative thought here, but performance wise it seems she might somewhat lack Loic’s charisma. Deserves to continue Belgium’s good streak)

    5) France (Pre-revamp version was better, but there is still enough direction for me to keep this high up. If it suits Alma the better, then good. It has that modern pop French charm I grown to love recently)

    6) FYR Macedonia (This is expensive, this is aiming for the win, what a 180 from FYROM. It may steal France’s spot later on, I’m a bit worried if the synth’s magic can be replicated live in Kiev)

    7) Moldova (Moldova returned to what they knew they can do better than no one else, and no one better for it than SSP. These guys can craft an earworm and Sergey’s voice is amazing. With some of that Moldova quirkiness, this is set to do great)

    8) Portugal (I wasn’t in absoluve love with this one at first, but I get it now. They didn’t go a bad modern, they went for a good vintage. May not be what the world wanted them to do, but this is all about keeping it true to the country’s offerings. I hope it goes to the final)

    9) UK (Talk about a revamp! It turned that flat song from January into something sleek and expensive, and if her live back then was the thing that elevated her song, now she has a song to match)

    10) Azerbaijan (I love it to bits, but I can’t remember it after it’s done. Despite that flaw that it’s improving, this is amazingly crafted, Dihaj’s sound shines through and props for finally using an Azeri composer this time!)

  20. The highlight of 2017 in my book! Of course together with Portugal! :)

    Svala is FANTASTIC, I like everything about her and her ESC entry for 2017!

    “Paper” is my favorite Icelandic entry EVER, and I equally like Icelandic version of it!

    I love her voice, singing technique, her moves on the stage while performs, her quirkiness, her outfits (cannot wait to see her outfit in Kyiv), they are so simple, yet so strange and I like how she doesn’t care for current fashion at all.. :D

    I like the composition, orchestration, lyrics, melody, structure..

    I hope I won’t be disappointed with performance in Kyiv!

    Iceland is my number 2 generally, and my number 2 in the 1st semifinal, just behind Portugal..thus I hope to see Iceland in the final and vote it there, since I ca;t vote in the 1st semi! :(

    Good luck dear Svala!

  21. Btw. ESC Nation’s scorewizz poll is open :-)

    http://tummiweb.com/scorewiz/poll

  22. I like this, Currently top 15 in my list, but however I feel that this is yet again a song from Iceland who got potential, but falls a bit flat. It has great elements, but those elements are quite poorly executed and leaves us with a finished yet unfinished entry in a way. Idk what im saying, but it feels like the song wants to go somewhere higher, but fails mid way if you get my drift :P

  23. People voting up and voting down the entries of the 1st semi.Interesting results: http://esctoday.com/143125/eurovision-2017-rate-the-semi-final-1-participations/

    • I found that earlier but i can’t post links.

      • I think the amount of likes is what important here since televoters can’t vote a song down.It looks rather plausible with the exception of Cyprus doing so well.Quite surprised there.

  24. It’s like a more professional version of Agnete’s “Icebreaker” from last year. I’m not crazy over it even if I don’t hate it either. It’s better than 2015, in sort of the same league as 2016, but weaker than both 2013 and 2014 imo. It feels like a borderline qualifier for now, which is kinda strange, given that Iceland was an almost certain qualifier for a lot of years, but has now dropped it the latest years.

    Good luck!

  25. Iceland 17 is a decent effort. I never really quite fell fot it completely though. Svala is an excellent live singer and she owns the stage. It sounds much better in Icelandic, especially the chorus. It has been losing ground on my list – 24th. Good luck!

    P.S. – Armenia, the Netherlands, Norway are gaining gound.

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