By Frank Bell
Today we introduce you to singer songwriter Jelena Ćirić. Born in Serbia, raised in Canada, and now living in Iceland, Jelena makes the kind of music you’d expect to hear coming out of Iceland. It’s quiet, and thoughtful, sparse and delicate, but still with plenty of drama and feeling. Take her debut single, Lines, which we liked the moment we heard it, but when she released the video, it seemed to take on even more meaning. It follows Jelena walking around Reykjavík seeing herself living various different lives. We’ve all wondered at some point, how our lives might be different if we’d made different decisions, and this video portrays that perfectly:
The press release compares her to Regina Spektor and Joni Mitchell, which are mighty big words, but having had a listen to the new EP, out now, we think she could certainly have a long and successful career ahead of her. There’s already plans for a second EP coming in the New Year…
I wanted a fresh start, somewhere I could go to focus on making music. Iceland has been a great place for that.
We grabbed 5 minutes with her to ask her a few questions…
Jelena, welcome to FAME Magazine! Please introduce yourself to our readers:
Hi FAME readers! I write songs, love words, and move across the world a lot – Serbian-born, Canadian-raised, and now live in Reykjavík, Iceland (after some time in Spain and Mexico).
Sum up your debut EP in just five words:
Breathing room for intimate moments.
We love the new video, how do you feel it represents the lyrics of the song?
The storylines of the song and the video are not the same, but they are parallel. They’re both about imagining how your life could’ve turned out differently, wondering if there’s some key that will reveal what it’s all about.
You grew up in Canada, but have been based in Iceland for years – what made you move there and how do you think it’s shaped your sound?
I wanted a fresh start, somewhere I could go to focus on making music. Iceland has been a great place for that. Icelandic musicians are really gung-ho: they have an idea and they act on it. That attitude is rubbing off on me.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Joni Mitchell, John Darnielle, Stephin Merritt – all killer songwriters.
What was the first gig you ever went to?
Regina Spektor in Toronto, while I was still in high school. Thank god for all-ages shows.
What was the last live show you saw before COVID?
I opened for Hania Rani in Reykjavík last February – she was hypnotizing.
What’s your favourite record of all time?
It’s a tie between A Seat at the Table (Solange) and How Sad, How Lovely (Connie Converse). (But I will probably say something different next month.)
Finally, what are the plans beyond the EP release?
Recording some live sessions in Reykjavík in December, connecting with listeners, making music videos, and once COVID is over starting a tradition of hugging every single audience member at every show for the rest of time.
Jelena Ćirić’s new EP Shelters One is out now via Paradís Sessions