Blog: Hafdis Huld

The Icelandic singer tells us why she dares to dream small. Her album, inspired by that sentiment, is out now

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I can honestly say that I finally feel content, and that is such a good feeling. It doesn’t mean that I have everything on my wish list or that life is perfect – it just means that I’ve finally allowed myself to be happy with what I have. What is perfect anyway? As a musician, having 24/7 access to people through social media on our phones is great if I want to promote new music or advertise a gig. But it scares me that there is a whole generation of young people now growing up under constant pressure from the apps that they carry with them wherever they go. Being a teenager in the 1990s was hard enough, but at least then we didn’t have the constant comparison with every teenager in the world with a phone, and if we took pictures to remember a moment they were actually taken in that moment, not a posed selfie that we got right after 20 attempts and with an added beauty filter (I still haven’t mastered the art of a good selfie. I guess I just have to accept that I narrowly missed the selfie generation).

But it is not just teenagers who are affected by the constant pressure of social media – adults compete too, just in different categories. That became very noticeable to me when I was on maternity leave after having my daughter five years ago. Maybe it was because I had more time at home or because I was researching baby stuff online but it was hard to miss all the posts about how to lose the baby weight, how to cook the perfect meal and what kind of make-up I should be using to look less tired. This made me sad. I had just created a human being and felt that if I wanted to eat cake in my pyjamas and admire my tiny human for a bit I had definitely earned the right to do so.

When I started writing songs for my fourth solo album I didn’t have a theme in mind. I just started writing my stories and poems that later turned into songs. It wasn’t until most of the album was written that I realised that there was a strong theme running through it, and finding a title for the album was easy – Dare to Dream Small. We are always being told to dream big, reach for the stars and be the best most impressive version of ourselves. I am very happy for my Facebook friend who just ran 10k and then came home and hosted a dinner party for 10 in her freshly remodelled kitchen, if that is what makes her content. But I am just as happy for me, who played in the snow and then baked a chocolate cake with my daughter in my very old and not Instagram-worthy kitchen.

Becoming a mother taught me to prioritise and gave me the courage to stand by my decisions. Some people have been shocked by my choices, like when I cancelled a high-profile gig because my little one wasn’t well. But that criticism just made me think of so many interviews I have seen with people who are coming to the end of their life journey. Every time someone was asked what they regretted most, they said not spending more time with family. I don’t remember anyone feeling sad over not spending more time at work. Don’t get me wrong – I love my job and music is a big part of me. But I love my family a lot more.

I guess I am trying to say choose your own dreams. They don’t have to seem big or impressive to anybody else – they just need to make you feel content. And equally I try to keep in mind that something that seems insignificant to me could easily be somebody else’s big dream come true. Life is not a competition but if it were shouldn’t we all just be aiming to win in our own category on our own terms?

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Interact: Responses to Blog: Hafdis Huld

  • mulch
    24 Nov 2017 14:26
    Yes, well said. A timely message as Christmas approaches. And what a beautiful voice and lovely song.

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