MEET Maria Olafs, representing ICELAND would like to thank Maria and Valgeir Magnússon for this interview and photographs (Interview by Douwe Reveler)

Published on by Gary Speirs




*  María, many congratulations on your victory in Iceland ! How are you and what have you been doing since winning the Icelandic ticket to Austria ? How are the preparations going for Vienna ?

Hi, I am good. I have been practicing with Selma Bjorns and Hera Bjork getting ready for the big stage in Vienna . The Preparations are going very well. The act is ready and now we are just making it perfect for Europe to see. 
* Before talking about your Eurovision song in more detail can you tell us about your career so far ? 

I started very young in the theaters and got my part when I was 10 years old and got my first part in the National Theater of Iceland when I was 14 years old. I started singing when I was a little girl and have been singing since then. But Unbroken is my first single.
* Who are your main musical influences ? Did you enjoy a musical education ? Do you come from a musical family and if so can you tell us more about them ? At what age did you start singing ?

My influences are Carry Underwood, Whitney Huston, Birgitta Haukdal, Beyonce and Celine Dion. My sister is a singer and took part in Idol Iceland 2003 and Songvakeppnin 2006. My brother is a drummer and guitar player but my parents just like listen to good music. I started singing with my first scream when I was born.
* You are also known as an actress. Can you tell us more about that aspect of your career ? 

I love acting and have been acting since I was 10 years old. My last role was Ronja the Robbers Daughter. I want to learn more in acting and go to an art school learning acting and singing in the future.
* Can you describe the place where you were born and are you still living there ?

I was born in Blonduos which is a small town in the North part of Iceland . I don´t live there any more but my family owns a farm close to that village. Now I live in the suburbs of Reykjavik .
* How did you become involved with the Söngvakeppnin 2015 and what was your initial reaction when you heard the song ? 

I have known the writers of the song Stop Wait Go group since 2010 and they wrote the song with me in  mind. When I heard the song I connected with it and understood the feeling the song is about.

* Was it written specifically for you and for the Eurovision Song Contest ?

Yes the song the song was written for me and the Eurovision Song Contest.
* In the semi final of the Söngvakeppnin you sang the song in Icelandic ('Lítil skref') but you will sing it in English in
Vienna as 'Unbroken'. What do you think about the free language rule in the Eurovision Song Contest ? Was the song originally written in Icelandic or in English ? Did you ever consider singing in Icelandic in the actual Eurovision ?

I like hearing people singing in their own language but I don´t thing people should be banned to sing in the language they want to sing in. So I am for the free language rule. The song was originally written in English and translated to Icelandic for Songvakeppnin. No we never did for we want people to understand what I am singing about.
* Of the other songs in the Söngvakeppnin did you have a favourite and what made this song so special ?

My favorite of the other songs was song be a friend of mine Fridirik Dor, Once Again. Fridrik Dor will be singing backings for me in Vienna .

* Can you tell us more about the meaning of the song and can you identify with it ?

This song is about getting out of the darkness and into the light in you life. When you are stuck it is usually just you self who is blocking you from coming into the light.
* What is it about 'Unbroken' that you hope will make people from
Oslo to Moscow to Athen want to vote for it ?

I want them to connect with the message. I want them to be courageous and take a step forward int their life and become Unbroken.

* You will have the support of two ladies well known to Eurovision audiences, namely Selma and  Hera Björk. Can you tell us more about their involvement and what advice they have given you ?

Selma is the choreographer and Hera Björk is my vocal coach and backing voice.  Both of them are telling be to be myself and enjoy my self. People want honesty and a real smile.
* Can you tell us about the video clip ? Where was it filmed ? (SEE VIDEO CLIP ABOVE)

The Video clip was filmed in an old cement factory where it was -9 C° and we where freezing. The video is about stepping out of the darkness and into the light to become Unbroken.
* Do you plan a different stage performance in
Vienna to the one in Reykjavík ?  Will you have backing vocalists with you ?

I will have bacon vocalists, yes, but we will be changing the act. Just you wait and see.
* Two dancers form an important part of your act. Can you tell us more about what they are portraying ?

In the video clip, the dancers are describing the feeling of becoming free and stepping into the light.
* Have you followed the Eurovision Song Contest over the years ? 

Yes I have watched Eurovision since I was 6 years old and Selma was fighting for the 1st place. She became my hero.
* Do you have a favourite Icelandic entry and a favourite winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest ? What makes these songs special to you ?

All out of luck with Selma is my favorite for I was so exited watching her fight for the first place.
* A promotional tour during the build up to the contest has become popular in recent years. Do you plan any international promotion of 'Unbroken' and if so where to ?

We just came home from Russia , but that will be our only stop this year.

Maria meets Guy Christian from Australia in Moscow

* Do you have time for hobbies (apart from singing) and what do you enjoy doing ?

I enjoy being with me family and friends.
* If you were not a singer / actress, what other career might you have chosen ?

These are my only dreams and I am going to fallow them.
Iceland is known for its incredible natural beauty. Can you tell us more about what makes your country so special ? Perhaps something that is not so well known ? 

The highlands are beautiful where you can see all the colors in the spectrum just be turning 360°.
* Do you enjoy cooking ? Can you tell us your favourite Icelandic food ?

Yes I love cooking and my favorite Icelandic food is a leg of lamb done Icelandic traditional way. The sheep in Iceland walk free in the highlands the whole summer so the live on while herbs and grass. That is why Icelandic lamb tastes wild.
* Before going on stage do you perform any ritual ?

I just get away, close my eyes and go into my own zone.
* The contest this year will be held in
Vienna . Have you visited this city before and what are you most looking forward to ?

Yes I just went there in April to check out the place. I am looking forward to seeing the palace which I did not have time to see the last time I was there.
* Have you listened to any of the other competing songs in this years competition and if so do you have a favourite ?

Australia is my favorite at the moment. And when I saw him singing live in Moscow he blew my mind.
* Conchita won the contest last year. What did you think about 'Rise Like a Phoenix’ ?

I loved that song and especially the performance.
* Obviously at this time you are focusing on the Eurovision adventure but what plans do you have after the contest ?

I will be singing a lot this summer but I am still working on what will be happening next winter.
* Do you have a message for the readers of ?

Stay honest and happy :)

Maria, Sechuk wishes you every success with your preparations for Vienna and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us! Gangi þér vel..!