Laufey Brings Back Jazz

Aninyah Fitzhugh

Jazz was never dead, it just needed to be refreshed.

In this new generation, jazz music is often dismissed and not appreciated in mainstream media. 

But with rising artists such as Samara Joy and Laufey Lin, jazz has slowly creeped it’s way back into spotlight

Laufey Lin, an Icelandic musician, has greatly influenced how we categorize jazz music and she has made jazz music more accessible to Generation Z.  

In August of 2022 Laufey released, “Everything I Know About Love”.

The release of this jazz ballad pushed Laufey to reach a larger audience and her refreshing interpretation of jazz throughout her songs attracted the younger generation.

Laufey recently gained popularity after her Bossa Nova inspired song, “From the Start” went viral on TikTok, re-introducing magical jazz melodies and techniques to mainstream music. 

Laufey has noted multiple times that she pulls inspiration from multiple different genres such as, jazz, pop, bossa nova and classical. 

However use of these genres within her music makes it challenging to determine what specific genre of music Laufey actually makes. 

Notably some traditional jazz enthusiasts have argued that Laufey’s music does not fit the strict criteria of jazz music. 

This debate of Laufey not being categorized as jazz is fueled by the fact that typical jazz artists do not often use original lyrics in their songs, rather they often cover jazz standards and add their own unique touch to those standards.  

Unlike the traditional jazz musician,the majority of Laufey’s songs are produced with her own lyrics. 

In addition to those original songs Laufey also covers multiple jazz standards as well. 

The narrow classification of jazz  fails to acknowledge that jazz is constantly changing and no jazz artist or song will be the same. 

It is evident that Laufey pulls inspiration from well known jazz musicians as displayed in her music. 

For example, her hit single “From the Start” was crafted with the intention of utilizing Bossa Nova rhythms and melodies throughout the song to help create a strong baseline. 

In addition to the use of the Bossa Nova theme throughout the song, Laufey also utilized similar scat vowels as the well known jazz musician, Chet Baker, during the scat section of From the Start.

In the jazz genre there are key elements that are displayed inorder to classify a song as jazz. 

These key elements being, blues, syncopation, swing and creative freedom. 

If this is the case, without a doubt Laufey integrates all of these key elements incredibly well throughout her music. 

When it comes down to it jazz is about telling a story through improvisation, emotion and rhythm. 

Laufeys music incorporates these principles along with coupling her own original pop feel in her songs. 

Now what makes Laufey’s music so attractive to the younger generation, is the fact that she does write her own songs. 

Majority of classic jazz standards are written from a man’s viewpoint, but Laufey music is “written from a young, confused female perspective,” as Laufey shared in an article from the DAILY. 

So in a sense it adds relatability to her music because  it’s her way of giving a voice to young women.

Laufey is one of few upcoming artists that is taking the initiative to reshape and introduce jazz to the new generation. 

As Laufey shared in an interview with the daily, there is an “abundance of ways to listen to all types of music, and it’s no longer about genre, it’s about feeling and mood. At the end of the day, young people want to listen to young people, they don’t want to listen to older people preach to them.”

As Laufey continues to enchant her audience with her unique collaboration between classic and modern style music, Laufey is a perfect reminder that jazz is not a relic of the past.

Instead a living and ever changing art form that has the potential to continue to evolve and influence generations to come. 

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