It’s time to premiere another interview ahead of the first semi-final of Söngvakeppnin, and today we’re proud to introduce you to the band Celebs!

Celebs is a three member band made up of Hrafnkell Hugi Vernharðsson (Keli), Katla Vigdís Vernharðsdóttir, and Valgeir Skorri Vernharðss. The band released their first singles “Kannski Hann” and “Rökkrið Rænir Æðruleysi” back in 2020, and would also released their album Tálvon hinna efnilegu later that year. After some moderate success locally, the band is ready to take the next step into the national and international market through their participation in the Icelandic national selection.

I have the extreme pleasure to welcome Icelandic band Celebs to ESCUnited for an interview – how are you all doing today? 

We are doing mighty fine these days! There’s a lot going on and it feels like we’re always running from one mission to the next, but it’s been a blast because we have such a wonderful crew of people helping us get everything ready for our act.

How did the three of you meet one another and create the band? Also how did you land on Celebs as the official band name?

It’s a funny story actually, our parents introduced us. I guess they just had an inkling we’d work well together and they were right. We didn’t actually form the band though until years later, funny how these things work out. As for the name, it’s kind of a fake it til you make it situation. It’s still a work in progress haha.

Now this is your first time participating in the Icelandic national final Söngvakeppnin – has this been something you’ve always wanted to do or is this more of a recent dream for you all?

I think being a musician in Iceland you always have an idea somewhere in the back of your head that you might want to try out for Söngvakeppnin. It’s the biggest musical platform in the country so in some ways it’s a no-brainer. It was only recently though that all the pieces fell into place and it felt like this was the right time to go for it.

When you’re not performing or creating music, how do each of you spend your free time?

Keli: I spend most of my free time on music, but besides that I enjoy exercising and writing, I also got a chessboard for Christmas so I’ve recently been brushing up on my chess skills.

Katla: I watch Desperate Housewives and bike around town.

Valgeir: I like to take photos and take the bus.

It’s time for my favorite question of the year – if you were going to record a Eurovision cover album and had to pick 5-6 songs to be on the track list, which songs would you pick to cover and why?

We’d pick In My Dreams by Wig Wam, Divine by Sebastien Tellier, Congratulations by Silvía Night, Euphoria by Loreen, LÍfið er Lag by Módel and Wild Dances by Ruslana because they are the obvious choices.

Some iconic songs on that list, I love it! And most Eurovision fans probably haven’t made it out to Iceland yet, so in your opinion what is one thing or fact about Iceland that you think our readers should know about your country?

Bottled water is a scam in Iceland! We have some of the best water in the world straight from the tap. Save money and reduce plastic use by drinking from the tap and using reusable bottles. To be fair though the warm water in some places can smell like rotten eggs due to the volcanic sulfur residue. But that is just the warm water, the cold water is very nice.

Your song is titled “Doomsday Dancing” and essentially tells a story of dancing the night away, or more literally until the end of the world. I’m curious to ask each of you – what would be your doomsday dance move out on the floor?

Keli: I’m notoriously bad at learning proper dance moves, but I move with passion and feeling. I would probably gyrate my hips and flail my arms while twisting my legs into circles.

Katla: I would close my eyes, shut out everything but the music and the moment and just see where my body wants to take me dance wise.

Valgeir: I would go on the floor and shake my ass! It would be loads of fun.

Can you describe what the songwriting process was like to make your Söngvakeppnin song? Was it written specifically with the national final in mind, or did you have other plans for it before the submission period opened?

The song was specifically written for Söngvakeppnin. We made a couple of scratch sessions workshopping different songs before we found the one we wanted to work on and polish into a great pop song. We realized early on in the process that this song needed to be written communally, no one of us could own a bigger part in it than the other. That can be tricky at times cause it sometimes feels like too many cooks in the kitchen and we butt heads sometimes, but we along with our producer Árni Hjörvar (The Vaccines) quickly found our groove and it all went really well from that point on. 

There are also two versions of your song, one in Icelandic and one in English, and RUV allows you to pick which version you’d perform in the final. Do you know which version you’d like to perform in the final or even at Eurovision if selected?

We know this might be a bit controversial but we plan on performing the English version on the big night. We’ve heard that a lot of people enjoy the exotic sound of our lovely native Icelandic tongue, but if we were to get the chance to represent Iceland in Liverpool…Eurovision is just such a big stage, performing for the whole of Europe, it’s very tempting to want as many people as possible to understand what is being sung in our song, and for that purpose English works better than Icelandic. But both lyrics were written at the same time, and a lot of thought was put into making sure that nothing is lost in translation.

In closing, do you have a final message you’d like to share with the readers of ESCUnited?

Take care of yourself, be on your own team, there are plenty of people willing to put you down, don’t be one of them.

Celebs are set to compete in the first semi-final of Söngvakeppnin on February 18th at 20:45 PM CET. Two entries will advance to the final on March 4th, where Iceland will select their 2023 Eurovision entrant for Liverpool. 

Are #YOU team Celebs for Iceland? Let us know on social media @ESCUnited, on our discord, or on our forum page!

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