The Modern Revival of Jazz Music By Laufey

Jazz is being actively reenvisioned by Icelandic-Chinese singer Laufey who aims to introduce a modern jazz era for the younger generation. Jazz music often caters to the interests of older individuals and is labelled as potentially uncool; Laufey is breaking these norms through her combination of pop and jazz music that offers relatability to female listeners.

Who is Laufey?

Laufey, born Laufey Lín Jónsdóttir April 23, 1999 is an Icelandic Chinese singer songwriter now based in LA.

Growing up, Laufey’s musical family greatly influenced her; she began playing her first instrument, the piano, at four and, as of now, is a multi-instrumentalist playing piano, cello, guitar and other instruments. Her parents played with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, possessing strong musical backgrounds and lineages.

Laufey spent her childhood moving between Washington, D.C. and Iceland, spending most of her youth in Iceland, connecting more with her Icelandic heritage.

Laufey found her true passion in music when attending Tónlistarskólinn í Reykjavík, where she focused on vocal jazz lessons and cello. After finishing high school in Iceland, she attended Berklee College of Music in Boston starting in 2018, staying in Boston to begin her professional career. Moving to the States allowed her to grow and gain the necessary life experience to write relatable music like her recent album “Everything I Know About Love.”

Laufey’s Inspirations and Influences

Laufey takes inspiration from classical and jazz music introduced to her by her parents. In her youth, she liked artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, who she describes as “the sonic middle between the old and the new.” Fitzgerald and Holiday do not conform to the strict rules of classical music, which influenced her to look outside of the bounds of classical music similarly.

Thus, she had to learn to break free from the previous mindset established by classical music and its theory. Musicians like Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Rogers continuously influence her style of jazz.

She would find inspiration in many other avenues. For one, singer-songwriter pop artists like Taylor Swift and Norah Jones were influences of pop on Laufey’s style. Laufey would also take inspiration from other jazz artists with lower voices, as she had a distinctly lower voice. Lastly, she would be influenced by different styles, such as the bossa nova style and cinematic scores that influenced her song Fragile.

How Laufey Reenvisioned Jazz Music

With her music, Laufey Intends to connect jazz and classical music to pop, using traditional elements of jazz as a foundation. She wants to reach a younger generation with her music, to introduce a modern version of jazz for Gen Z. With jazz known as old-fashioned and uncool, she attempts to change these notions.

She realized that for jazz and classical music to survive, there would have to be advancements for the style to become more relatable for younger listeners.

This is what Laufey highlights as a strong suit in her music. Unlike older jazz music written from the perspective of older male jazz musicians, Laufey writes from the perspective of a young and confused woman walking through life. Laufey aims to make her music more relatable to the experiences of women of this generation.

Laufey’s music is also known for its ability to evoke feelings from an older generation, perfect for Gen Z wishing to escape the current age. Laufey takes advantage of Gen Z’s obsession with the nostalgia factor to make music reminiscent of the past.


Replying to @iovstruck 😘

♬ Beautiful Stranger – Laufey

Using Social Media to Promote Herself and Her Music

Laufey’s music career began to take off during the pandemic when she wrote her first album, “Typical of Me.”

After the college closed, she would use her free time to promote herself on social media, posting videos and going live to play her music on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

Being an independent artist, this was not a planned marketing strategy but simply the intent of Laufey to do something productive with her time and to cure her boredom. Her success can be partly credited to the following she garnered promoting herself on social media.

Similarly, in this article, I discuss how indie rock artist Mons Vi used Tik Tok to build a strong following and blow up his music.

Laufey is the most prominent artist in modernizing the jazz genre. She has found great success recently, boasting over 3.2 million monthly Spotify listeners and performing at Jimmy Kimmel, all just at 24 years old.

By making jazz music more relatable to Gen Z and implementing elements of pop in her music, Laufey successfully captures the younger generation’s attention. Artists like Puma Blue similarly reenvision the jazz style.


For more information on artist Laufey visit these articles: Grapevine, Today and Vogue Scandanivia.

Huhta, R. (2021). Laufey Is Revitalizing Jazz For The Modern Era. The Reykjavik Grapevine.

Gaitens, J. (2022). Track by Track: ‘Everything I Know About Love’ by Laufey. The Reykjavik Grapevine.

Ledbetter, E. (2022). The Icelandic Roundup: Singer/Songwriter Laufey. The Reykjavik Grapevine.

Laufey, 23, is bringing jazz to Gen Z: “We’re all looking for an escape.” (2022, November 9).

How singer-songwriter Laufey is bringing jazz to the TikTok generation. (2022, November 8). Vogue Scandinavia.

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