A Conversation with Emilíana Torrini

Emilíana Torrini, an Icelandic singer now based in London, known for her indie pop/alternative sound talks to us about her career and inspirations.


So you were born in Iceland, your father is Italian, and you have spent a lot of time in London. How would you say these different cultures influence your work?

Yes and I have large roots in Germany. The landscape changes in your head you stop being one thing and become more somehow. It is harder to settle.

What is your process for writing songs? Do you have a favorite place and/or time to write?

Giving myself a lot of time to live life, until I am bursting to write a song. I stay at Dan’s house and we work into the night. I talk at him mostly, the poor man. We always have everything plugged and ready to record and then we hit record and just make things up and have a good time. I love writing in the studio or somewhere new, not familiar. Mood for me is essential. I am head of lighting in the places we are. It has a lot to say with intimacy in the music. I can not write in sterile studios, it has to be messy with instruments everywhere and a few lead traps.

Do you have place where you write down all of your songs? If so, what would we find if we looked through it?

No I am pretty chaotic. I have way too many note books and some of them only have one lyric scattered through the whole of it with scribbles and ugly drawings.

You did some touring this fall promoting your album Tookah. What was the favorite place you played and what was your best show, would you say?

I do not remember really although I enjoyed playing Le Trianon in Paris. It is an old theatre and it looks as if you are playing inside a really nice cake.

Listen: “Tookah” – Emilíana Torrini:

Can you explain the meaning behind your album’s name Tookah? Where did the word come from, and what does it mean?

It is just made up as I needed a word that explained the beginning of you, your core, traveling far away from it and the time and mad adventure to find it again.

It came when improvising the song Tookah and I liked the sound of it and gave me an image of something ancient so that became the meaning for me.

Your son was born in 2010, what is it like being a mother and a singer? Does he inspire your work?

My son is my great adventure. He is a massive inspiration. He inspires me to change my directions not just in music.


Like Emilíana Torrini on Facebook / Visit her website

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Celia is currently attending college and hopes to study English in the future. She loves bad jokes, traveling and York Peppermint Patties.