Photo: Stella Asia Consonni
The Nordic countries – Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland – have a combined population that is only about the size of Texas’. However, these chilly nations have a storied history of being a hotbed of popular music stardom. From super-producer/songwriter Max Martin to pop anomaly Björk, this modest cultural region continues to churn out the best of the best, and it seems that next in this long line of hitmakers is Glowie. The 21-year-old Icelandic singer released her breakout EP Where I Belong on June 14, and with it, introduced her distinct twist to the Nordic pop formula.
For a project containing only five songs and three short interludes, Where I Belong pens an intricate map through the peaks and valleys of self-empowerment. The title track opens the project, its slinky guitars and torpid electronic drums forming the terra firma for Glowie’s haunting vocal. In “Where I Belong,” the singer recounts the strange elixir of fear and excitement that accompanies newfound independence, chanting, “All on my own, right where I belong / Nobody’s home, now my love is gone.”
Body positivity plays a large role in Glowie’s music. The two singles that the artist dropped in the lead-up to her debut EP, “Cruel” and “Body,” both address different aspects of this issue.
“Cruel” recounts Glowie’s experiences facing judgment in high school for being too skinny. The singer breathes lyrics that sound as though she’s reading from her journal over velvety synth pads and underplayed percussion, addressing the feelings of shame and uncertainty that she felt surrounding her appearance during adolescence. However, if “Cruel” depicts the struggle of dealing with body image, “Body” depicts the triumph. The bass-driven banger is an empowerment anthem directed at Glowie herself; in the music video, dancers hand-picked by the Icelander for their diverse range of body types groove across a tennis court while the singer chants, “That’s a fuckin’ body.”
All in all, Where I Belong is a succinct but complex work of musical cartography that illustrates the vast topography of expectations we place upon ourselves. Follow Glowie’s journey in Where I Belong here: