Today we had the chance to sit down with Academy Award winner and Söngvakeppnin semi-finalist Markéta Irglová before this weekend’s semi-final. Together we talked about her and her family’s love of Eurovision, her pathway to becoming a musician, and her reasoning for participating in Söngvakeppnin this year. Learn more about her and her song “Mögulegt” below!
Hi there Markéta – thank you so much for agreeing to interview with us today! Why don’t you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
I am a Czech born singer and pianist living in Iceland with my husband and our children.
And I know that you have a long performance history, when did your career with music first start? Have you always been surrounded by music or did you sort of discover your talent and passion for music on your own?
I was classically trained in piano playing from an early age, at a local music school. I met an Irish musician Glen Hansard when I was thirteen and he taught me how to improvise, and eventually compose my own music. When I was 17 I starred in an Irish independent movie alongside him, called Once, and a couple years later we won an Oscar together for best original song titled Falling Slowly.
And I know that song very well – as I actually sang that song for a theater audition in high school. But if you were asked to explain your music to someone, what words, phrases, or descriptions might you use?
I try to write my songs in such a way, that they can serve as vehicles to transport the listener onto a journey within or beyond. A journey that´s personal and at the same time universal. One from pain to healing, from despairing to believing, from feeling alone to feeling connected. I try to work a lot with love, hope, and the power of creation and manifestion each of us yields.
What are some of your favorite things about being a musician? On the flip side, are there things that you don’t enjoy of consider fun?
I love being creative, playful, free and considering it my work. When your work consists of doing what you love and what fulfills you the most, you can consider yourself truly blessed and fortunate. I choose to honor that blessing and good fortune by trying to send a bit of light into the world. There is nothing I
dont like about the life of a musician.
Is there anything our readers might be surprised to learn about you? Something they couldn’t just find on the internet or social media?
Probably nothing to be honest. My life has been pretty transparent that way, and my adventures well documented. In the days of social media, very few things remain a mystery.
Now I’m very curious about your participation in Söngvakeppnin this year because as you mentioned you are an Academy Award winner! What made you decide to submit and entry to the Icelandic national final this year?
I have been watching it every year since I moved to Iceland. We enjoy it as a family, and look forward to it each year. My children have been asking me when I would participate with one of my songs, and well, it sounded like a nice idea. I have done very little here in Iceland, since most of my time and energy had gone into raising my three children the past 8 years, but now that my youngest one is 3, my husband and I are preparing a new full length record due in June and something like Söngvakeppnin is helping me a lot in getting the word out there and creating a bit of a buzz. Plus it is a new experience which I embrace and feel honored to have been chosen as one of Iceland´s 10 contestants.
And of course you entered your song “Mögulegt / Possible”, a song that you wrote on your own for the competition. What did the songwriting process look like for your entry? Was it always intended for Söngvakeppnin?
I was going to enter the competition with a different song, and had asked a couple people to help me with the translation of lyrics into Icelandic but that didnt really work out and when I wrote Possible, I decided to translate the lyrics myself with the help of my husband who is Icelandic. That process was so enjoyable and yielded such good results that I decided to enter the competition with it. It is not a typical Eurovision song, but it does carry a message i wanted to send out into the world with the help of this wonderful platform.
Well I hope that we also get to hear the other song one day to know what could have been. On the topic of lyrics, every song has a deeper meaning or story behind its lyrics, could you explain the message of your song to our readers?
The song is about going beyond our limitations. Beyond what we believe to be possible. Expanding our perspective and seeing life from a more elevated vantage point, noticing that the sun is always there beyond the clouds, and that even when we are struggling, besides that which we are thinking and believing about ourselves or a situation in any given moment, we are actually OK. Right now, right here, we are OK.
With Söngvakeppnin we of course get two versions of your entry, one in Icelandic and on in English. Is there a version you prefer more, especially when thinking about the competition or Eurovision?
Not really, I worked very hard to let both versions reflect my intentions equally. The lyrics communicate the same message. But it is important to me that people understand what I am singing about, which is the reason I wouldn’t choose to sing the song in Icelandic if I ever made it through to Eurovision. I find that one never connects to a song as much without being able to understand the lyrics.
Speaking of Eurovision – do you consider yourself to be a fan of the contest? Do you have any Eurovision traditions we should know about?
My tradition is just to gather as a family and have fun. We usually make flags for each country, which helps me teach my children about the world in a creaPve way. We always make a nice dinner and have snacks and sodas ready for the show. Eurovision is something I very much enjoy and look forward to, but
I wouldnt be very good say answering Eurovision trivia as many people seem to be. I tend to be very much in the moment with these things. But when something truly touches my heart, I remember it for years to come.
That’s so cute and I’m sure you’d be better thank you think! Now as we wrap up, for those who want to connect with you ahead of or after the national final where can they find you and your music?
I am on all the streaming platforms, Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp and so on. I have my solo records and I have my music with Glen from the movie Once. I am on Instagram and Facebook under my own name.
Finally, is there a final message you’d like to share with our readers?
Just to express my gratitude which I feel wholeheartedly. For this opportunity, for the honor, and the pleasure.
Well Markéta, I want to thank you again for your time and best of luck in Söngvakeppnin!