Laufey signs an image of herself after performance at NPR's Tiny Desk on December 12, 2023
Tiny Desk

Laufey's Live Performance at NPR's Tiny Desk

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December 13, 2023

Laufey's performance at NPR's Tiny Desk showcased her unique blend of classical and jazz-pop, featuring heartfelt songs like "From The Start" and "California and Me," each infused with personal stories and classical influences.


December 13, NPR's Tiny Desk released a new episode featuring Laufey Lin Jónsdóttir, known mononymously as Laufey. She delivered a performance that deeply resonated with both jazz enthusiasts and mainstream audiences. This event showcased the Icelandic-Chinese singer-songwriter blending her classical roots with modern jazz-pop, in an intimate setting, accompanied by a string quartet.

Laufey opened her set with "From The Start," a song that encapsulates the whimsy and pangs of unrequited love. She described the piece as a "bouncy, whimsical tune," where she connects "Chet Baker-like scats with charming and playful lyrics." This opening number set the tone for a concert that was as much about storytelling as it was about music.

The mood took a more introspective turn with "Let You Break My Heart Again" and "Promise," both from her 2021 repertoire. Before performing "Let You Break My Heart Again," she reminisced, "I actually recorded that song in Washington DC... during the pandemic."

For "Promise," Laufey shared its origin, saying, "It's about a long-distance situationship... it hurts to be something but it's worse to be nothing with this person." Her velvety vocals, rich with vulnerability, danced elegantly with the strings in the song's performance.

Laufey then shared that the album was heavily influenced by her receiving her first baby grand piano and the compositions of Liszt and Chopin. Her explanation of this influence provided insight into her creative process, blending classical inspirations with contemporary themes.

The set concluded with "California and Me," a piece about a breakup. "It's a song about someone leaving me in California for New York. My songs are very optimistic," she quickly added with a smile.

Watch the full concert of Laufey at Tiny Desk below.

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