Emiliana Torrini Biography

16 May 1977, Reykjavík, Iceland. Torrini developed a natural talent for singing at an early age, singing soprano in her school choir at the age of seven. She progressed to opera school at the age of 15, perfecting her range to an extremely high standard. Success came in 1994; at just 17 years of age Torrini won a national singing competition in Iceland, performing ‘I Will Survive’. Soon afterwards she joined a band called Spoon, which released its self-titled debut album in 1994. The music had an avant garde nature and was difficult to fit into a particular genre, only realising success in Europe. Torrini launched her solo career the following year with the covers set Crouçie D’Où Là. Originally recorded for her father’s 50th birthday, the album became an unexpected chart success in the singer’s native country. The follow-up, Merman, featured a number of original compositions and was another chart success.

Torrini’s voice had attracted the attention of fellow nationals Gus Gus, and she appeared on the tracks ‘Is Jesus Your Pal?’, and ‘Why?’ on their 1997 release Polydistortion, launching her to a new dance-orientated audience. More vocal work with UK DJ Paul Oakenfold and the acclaimed leftfield dance act Thievery Corporation built on her reputation for versatility. In 1999 Torrini released her worldwide debut Love In The Time Of Science. This Roland Orzabal-produced collection demonstrated her knowledge of electronica to great effect, with its sinewy starkness and creative elegance earning comparisons to Björk and Portishead. Tours supporting Tricky and Moby saw Torrini accepted by the hipper music crowd. She shot to greater heights after performing ‘Gollum’s Song’ on the soundtrack of The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, in 2002, and the following year enjoyed worldwide success as a writer when Kylie Minogue took her song ‘Slow’ to the top of several national charts.

Torrini then moved to indie stalwarts Rough Trade Records, and in 2005 her follow-up, Fisherman’s Woman, was released to glowing reviews. Eschewing electronics in favour of acoustic-based songs, with this album Torrini managed to take her music to a wider mainstream audience without losing credibility.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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