How Laufey bewitched The Met - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

“Welcome to the very last show on the Goddess tour!”

Singer-songwriter Laufey leapt onto the Met Philly stage underneath a backdrop full of “stars” glittering orange and gold, opening with “While You Were Sleeping” as industrial incandescent suns light up behind her. In a blue nightgown and slippers, the Grammy-winning Icelandic jazz phenomenon’s stop in Philadelphia was an absolute dream.

Pronounced LAY-vay, Laufey is an LA-based, Icelandic-Chinese singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist (not to mention a WXPN Artist To Watch). Fusing jazz, classical, and bossa nova, Laufey graduated with a presidential scholarship from Berklee College of Music and released her debut EP, Typical of Me, in 2021. Following the release of her first album, Bewitched, Laufey became Spotify’s most-streamed jazz artist in 2022. Through viral hits like “Valentine,” she was able to bring “classic” styles of music about twenty-something problems to Gen Z and beyond. Back at the Met, a sea of ribboned hair studded with salt-and-pepper heads cheered as a fan asked for an autograph.

Laufey | photo by Paige Walter for WXPN

“So many birthday girls,” Laufey remarked. “Olivia, can you come out?”

Olivia Hardy of opener and English pop duo Wasia Project walked onstage and Laufey gave her a rose-topped pen. Wasia Project, a brother-sister duo of William Gao and Olivia Hardy, released their debut EP, How Can I Pretend?, in May of 2022 and found fame when their single “Ur So Pretty” was included on the series Heartstopper’s season two soundtrack. Olivia’s vocals were positively haunting in their opening set, especially during “Remember When.” Their set ended on a high, with a standing ovation over the band’s ethereal sound. It’s an impressive introduction – after touring the UK, they’ve spent the past two months supporting Laufey, traveling to the States for the first time.

After a quick interlude for the audience to sing “Happy Birthday,” Will sat down to the piano and Olivia held her rose, swaying her hips as the trio presented “Falling Behind.” The duo’s sound is unmatched, with Olivia’s wispy voice complimenting Laufey’s classical training in the best way possible. Laufey thanked Wasia Project for their support during the show, shouting out William for his role in the Goddess music video.

Laufey | photo by Paige Walter for WXPN

It’s clear that Laufey is a multitalented instrumentalist, as the singer-songwriter alternated between playing the cello during “Beautiful Stranger,” sitting down at the piano for “California and Me” and “Promise,” and breaking out an electric guitar for several other numbers. But a sound as rich as this wouldn’t be possible without backup. Also onstage was her band and a string quartet, filling in any conceivable gaps and making the concert come to life.

“This next song is maybe my most honest song yet…”, Laufey remarked as she introduced the  title track to her tour. At the Met, “Goddess” brought tears to the audience’s eyes, powerful and gleaming and real. Followed by “Fragile,” played on electric guitar, the stage dripped in gold lighting – can we give it up for the lighting designers and stage crew who created a set that’s magical and on-theme, but doesn’t take away from the artists?

“Lovesick” and “From the Start” followed, featuring a violin accompaniment from Laufey’s identical twin Jùnia Lín. Their energy together is infectious, and the Met absolutely erupted for the sisters.

“Since this is the last show, I feel like I must sing just a little more,” said Laufey to a cheering crowd. Her encore included “Letter to My 13 Year Old Self,” a reflection on all of those middle school insecurities and how they can actually be hidden strengths. Though Laufey explained that she often felt alien due to her heritage, music taste, and introversion, these things made her who she is today. At the lines “One day, you’ll be up on stage / little girls will scream your name,” the equally-proud crowd burst into “LAY-VAYYYY”s.

Laufey | photo by Paige Walter for WXPN

Somewhere in each album, Laufey has included at least one cover of a jazz standard. In her latest album, Bewitched, she recorded both “Misty” and her set’s finale. Laufey paid homage to Jimmy Van Heusen in her final song with a joyfully ironic cover of “It Could Happen to You”.

“It’s been a lovely night. I can’t believe I get to do this every night,” Laufey remarked. “I’d like to hug every single one of you. I really don’t take it for granted… it’s been so much fun.”

And it was.

The Met Philly
  • While You Were Sleeping
  • Valentine
  • Second Best
  • Dreamer
  • Falling Behind
  • Beautiful Stranger
  • I Wish You Love (Keely Smith cover)
  • Promise
  • Like the Movies / Misty
  • Nocturne
  • Let You Break My Heart Again
  • California and Me
  • Goddess
  • Fragile
  • Bewitched
  • Bored
  • Lovesick
  • From the Start (with Junia Lín)
  • Letter to My 13-Year-Old Self
  • It Could Happen to You (Jimmy Van Heusen cover)
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