Meet the outspoken Icelandic pop babe addressing body positivity in her sun-soaked tracks.

Icelandic singer Glowie side view
Icelandic singer Glowie side view

There aren’t many 21-year-olds with the introspection of Icelandic artist Glowie – real name Sara Pétursdóttir – but then again, she’s always been one for doing her own thing.

Hailed from Reykjavík, she’s nailed the hit-making formula: self-assured pop bops with a head-nodding R&B baseline. But it’s when you actually delve into the lyrics and clock the layers, that you realise her music is so much more.

Bullying, body positivity and beauty expectations are just some of the topics she deftly covers, with bangers that have so far included “Body” and “No Lie.”

With the visuals for “Cruel” out today, we chatted to the up-and-comer about her Icelandic roots, living with ADHD and why body positivity is so important…

How did you get into music?
I grew up around a lot of music and I got really passionate about singing around 9 years old and then everything else just kind of happened after that. I worked with some people in Iceland and right away after releasing my first single I got interest from record labels and two years later I signed with Columbia Records in the UK and RCA in the US, and now here I am. 

I heard you come from a musical family – can you tell me a little about this? 
My dad used to be in a few bands as a lead singer and my mom is very musical too – she played piano as a kid and sang backing vocals with my dad’s band. So me and my siblings all did something in music when we were younger, but me and my oldest brother are the only ones who are going for it full-time.

What kind of music did you grow up listening to? 
I grew up listening to Mary Mary, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Destiny’s Child, Outkast, Alicia Keys, J.Lo and Craig David.

How do you think being from Iceland has influenced your music and style? 
Everything is so free and crazy in Icelandic music and style, I guess that’s what I’m taking with me from there, taking risks and doing things that are unexpected.

Why did you decide to call yourself Glowie? 
It was very random. My real name is Sara but I just thought there are a lot of singers out there called Sara so I just thought it might be cool to have something different and unique.

How would you describe the genre of your music? 
Well it’s pop, but it has a dark R&B twist to it. I like to mix different styles together and don’t like putting a label on it.

You’ve addressed body positivity and beauty in your songs – why is this so important for you? 
All these ideas coming from TV and magazines about what beauty is are so wrong. I just want to remind people that this is not real life, and that it doesn’t matter what size and shape you are, you are beautiful the way you are. Unfortunately as humans, we compare ourselves to one another a lot and that’s just not healthy in any way, this is not a competition, this is real life and you’ll be much happier if you spend it embracing your own beauty instead of spending it constantly changing yourself to what is “in fashion.”

Icelandic singer Glowie at home
Icelandic singer Glowie maroon jumper
Icelandic singer Glowie at home
Icelandic singer Glowie maroon jumper

You’re very open about your mental health – is your music an outlet? 
Yes definitely. To me it’s very important to be open about how I feel even when I’m not feeling great, we shouldn’t feel ashamed about the emotions we have. Music is definitely something I use to express myself, it’s my way of communicating with people. 

I read you’ve got ADHD – how does this affect your music?
I can tell you that it is not easy having ADHD, it can be very difficult. I think it has both positive and negative sides to it. When it comes to my job, I’m very active and that keeps me moving forward but that also makes me very impatient. I find it very hard to focus on one thing for a long time, so when I perform I get kind of lost in my own world, in my head and lose focus on what I’m doing. But then again I’m so active that I don’t even have time to overthink or think at all I just go for it. 

Where does most of the inspiration for your songs come from? 
People, my past experiences and my state of mind.

How do you feel about releasing music that is so personal to you? Do you ever feel too vulnerable? 
I think that’s kind of what I’m all about, music is always personal to me, I’m always vulnerable when I perform.

How do you want people to come away from your music feeling? 
I want them to feel comfort, encouragement, confidence and strength.
Tell me about “Cruel” – what is it about? What did you want to evoke in the visuals? 
It’s about feeling frustrated and confused about the cruelty in the world. It’s about letting yourself go, feeling the way you feel and not giving a shit what the people around you think, because you gotta have your moment of letting your emotions out, it’s important. 

When did you move to London – how are you finding it? 
I moved to London 10 months ago, it’s definitely very different from my home Reykjavík, but it didn’t take me long to feel at home even though it’s very busy and crowded, I kind of like how active it is and varied. 

What’s next for you? What are you excited about?
I’m excited for the summer, I’m excited to perform and work on some new music.

Maybelle Morgan

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