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Laufey - Leading the Jazz revolution for Gen Z, live at UO D.C

It’s 8:30 on a Friday morning. The line outside of Urban Outfitters in Georgetown snakes around the block and down the street, with sections of the sidewalk roped off and security guards observing the crowd. It’s April 26, and while it’s a normal day for most of the locals walking around, all of the people in line know exactly why today is special. It’s the release day of Bewitched: The Goddess Edition, the deluxe edition of Laufey’s Grammy-winning debut album. 


In honour of the release, the Icelandic-Chinese singer-songwriter announced an exclusive acoustic performance at Urban Outfitters, and DC “Lauvers,” what Laufey’s fans call themselves, really showed up. The set is scheduled to start at 12 pm, and Laufey is right on time. When she walks onto the makeshift stage, she is greeted with enthusiastic cheers.


Smiling and waving, Laufey thanks the audience profusely for coming to the last-minute performance. As she picks up her guitar, she says that this event is extremely special to her, because this Urban Outfitters is the same one she frequented growing up between Iceland and Washington, D.C. 


Laufey kicks off the acoustic set with Trouble, one of the new tracks from Bewitched: The Goddess Edition. As she plucks her guitar and starts to sing, the room instantly quiets. This phenomenon is reserved mainly for release day events; nobody knows the words to the songs yet, so the audience simply listens quietly and enjoys the performance. 


Effortless, delicate, and graceful, Laufey floats her way through the slow ballad. Her crisp vocals, along with her beautiful vibrato, are the star of the show, with Trouble allowing her to specifically show off her lower register. While she performs, Laufey tends to stare off into the distance in an almost wistful way, tragically appropriate for her style of music and her storytelling. 


After the audience applauds enthusiastically after the song ends, Laufey starts plucking her guitar randomly, joking that she hasn’t decided what song to play next yet. Then she starts playing the famous opening riff to her most-streamed song, From the Start, garnering cheers from the small crowd.


This is the one song that everybody sings along to, but the audience remains relatively quiet, allowing Laufey to remain the main focus. As she sings, she can’t help but break into a wide smile every now and again. Though this acoustic version of From the Start is slower and simpler, it is equally as engaging as it would be with a full band, maybe even more. 


For the next song, Laufey puts her guitar away and sits at the piano next to the stage. Starting with a few dreamy, slow notes, Promise is a hauntingly tragic but also beautiful song about loving someone wrong for you. Laufey sings, “It hurts to be something, it's worse to be nothing with you,” a lyric resonating deeply with Gen Z listeners.Promise is the type of song that truly makes you think and examine your past experiences, and watching Laufey play it with just her and her piano is the rawest, most vulnerable way the song can be performed, and it is an extremely touching experience.


“This is the last song,” Laufey says as she steps back onto the stage and picks her guitar back up. When the audience sighs, she laughs and says softly, “Noooo, now I feel bad!” 


She thanks everyone for coming and says again how special this event is to her before she starts her last song, ‘Bored,‘ another new track from the deluxe edition. Laufey sings, “Maybe you’re just way too plain to be interesting, baby, keep talking but nobody’s listening; Don’t mean to walk out the door, but baby, I’m bored.” This track is so relatable, and yet it is so jazz and even swing-influenced that it provides a beautiful kind of contrast: feelings young people can relate to paired with older-style music. The last song ends, and the audience erupts into applause. Laufey thanks the audience again before walking off-stage and disappearing.


Laufey’s presence is truly ethereal and mesmerising, especially when performing solo. Her classic sound, beautifully soft and dreamy vocals, and evident multi-instrumental talent sets her apart from virtually every other musician her age, especially her ability to command a stage all alone, with just her and her instruments. At 25, she is already selling out large venues around the world, and it is obvious that Laufey has more than enough talent, determination, and experience to continue making her impact in the jazz and classical rebirth for young music lovers. 


Listen to Bewitched: The Goddess Edition here.


 




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