The press kit by RÚV YOHANNA - „Is It True?“
Is It True? will represent Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals 2009 in Moscow on May 12th. The song is composed by Óskar Páll Sveinsson, Chris Neil and Tinatin Japaridze and will be performed by eighteen year old singer Yohanna. The song was selected to represent Iceland in Moscow by televoting in the Icelandic National Song Contest Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins on February 14th 2009. Is It True? received 19,076 votes while the song in second place received 10,696 votes. Is It True? will be performed in English at the Eurovision Song Contest 2009. There was never any doubt that Yohanna (Jóhanna Guðrún Jónsdóttir) would become a singer. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 16th 1990, she was a gifted child and started singing even before she could talk. Yohanna and her parents moved to Reykjavík in Iceland when she was just two years old and she continued to show great interest in music. The family moved to Hafnarfjörður when Yohanna turned eight and that’s where she had her first real opportunity to put her talent onshow. She was one of seven hundred children participating in a song contest when singing teacher María Björk spotted her potential. María offered Yohanna a place at her children’s singing school, and it was there that she learned the basics of performing modern pop songs. Everyone was amazed not only by her perfect pitch, range, and maturity, but also by the control she displayed when performing. Besides this, she showed an innate ability to quickly memorize, learn and adapt songs to suit her own individual vocal style. Yohanna recorded her first album at the age of nine, and it was released on her tenth birthday in the year 2000. The debut album was a huge success and was followed up by a second album in 2001, confirming her status as a true child prodigy. Her third album, consisting of popular Christmas carols, was released in late 2003. This proved to be her last album for a number of years as it was a joint decision between her manager and parents to give Yohanna some space to grow up and work on her musical skills away from the spotlight. In order to develop both her voice and her own personal musical style, Yohanna’s teenage years were spent working in and out of the studio with musical instructors, songwriters and producers. Educationally speaking, this was a busy period for a young lady who also tried her best to attend school regularly and have some fun with her friends along the way. Yohanna was nevertheless away from home for considerable periods, rehearsing in New York or Los Angeles and meeting with music business people all over the world. After turning down a recording contract with a major label, Yohanna spent some time in Denmark working on her vocal techniques. During this time she also recorded her first adult album ‘Butterflies and Elvis’ with British songwriter Lee Horrocks and sound engineer Thomas Yezzi. Asked to say what he thought of Yohanna, Yezzi commented ‘She is a young, white Icelandic girl with the soul of a fifty year old black woman. She’s really amazing.’ The album was well received upon its release in early 2008. Yohanna’s years as a child recording star were now well and truly behind her and she put all her heart and soul into her newly honed sound. When songwriter and producer Óskar Páll Sveinsson asked Yohanna to interpret the song ‘Is It True?’ for the 2009 Icelandic National Eurovision Preselection Song Contest, he was looking for Yohanna’s particular R’n’B sound and style and indeed it soon proved to be the right decision. At the age of eighteen, Yohanna has come full circle and now she herself teaches children to sing at the school where she started her own career some ten years ago. Moreover she is still concentrating on developing her own vocal technique yet further by attending classes at the Reykjavík Academy of Singing and Vocal Arts. Yohanna has successfully blossomed into a soulful, hardworking and highly motivated young vocalist who has now taken full control of her own destiny. Óskar Páll Sveinsson was born in Sauðárkrókur northern Iceland and showed interest in music at an early age when he learnt to play the clarinet and piano. Óskar Páll played in local bands in his teens and started working as a sound engineer at RÚV’s Channel 2 in the mid eighties. He subsequently became a recording studio engineer in 1990 at the age of 23. Working as a chief producer, engineer and programmer at Sýrland Studios in Iceland for almost 5 years, he produced a number of Icelandic best selling albums. When moving to London 1995 it only took him two weeks to get a job in the London studio circuit assisting producer Trevor Horn. To his surprise Óskar Páll found himself immediately busy working with Genesis and other big names in the music industry. After changing agencies he started working with Simon Fuller the manager of Spice Girls and S Club 7 who was responsible for launching the Pop Idol contest. Óskar Páll successfully produced S Club 7 no. 1 smash hit ‘Never Had a Dream’ and some tracks for their follow-up album. He co- wrote and produced the single ‘Turn Around’ by Steps as well as Pop Idol Will Young’s no. 1 record breaking single ‘Anything is Possible’ and has written and produced several other successful songs. He has worked with Robbie Williams, Mike and the Mechanics, Marc Almond, Seal, Depeche Mode, Secret Garden and Ian McCulloch. Óskar Páll was signed as a songwriter to Sony Publishing U.K. and he currently runs his own studio in the countryside in Iceland. Legendary record producer Christopher Neil is known in the U.K. and the U.S.A. as the producer’s producer. Over the years he has recorded hit records for an amazing list of global talent that include A-ha, Celine Dion, Cher, Rod Stewart, Sheena Easton, Moody Blues, Bonnie Tyler, Marillion, Johnny Logan and Mike and the Mechanics. It was with this last band that he started writing songs as well as producing the records, which put him firmly on the map as a composer. Recently he has written for LeAnne Rimes, British T.V. show Britannia High (with Gary Barlow) and is currently writing with Mike Rutherford of Genesis. Born in Soviet Georgia and raised in Moscow, songwriter and artist Tinatin Japaridze is on her way to scaling the heights of two careers: as a writer and a musician. Heralded by Billboard Magazine as one of the “fresh faces to keep an eye out for in 2008,” she became a finalist in the worldwide John Lennon Song Contest and her song ‘Wild’ was hailed as a 2007 year-end Billboard Top 10 Critics’ Pick. Also a United Nations Radio Correspondent for American and Russian media, Tinatin is currently working on two literary projects encompassing of both fiction and non-fiction genres. A Russian citizen and a permanent resident of the United States, she has collaborated with some of the industry’s top producers and songwriters on both sides of the Atlantic. Her song ‘Thinking of Someone Else’ written with Christopher Neil and Ben Robbins reached #13 in the pop club charts in UK’s Music Week. Her song ‘We the Peoples’, based on the United Nations Charter, was recently reviewed by Billboard senior correspondent Chuck Taylor, who called it “a penultimate, contemporary anthem honouring the mission of the United Nations, perhaps more relevant than ever, given the flux of worldwide politics… a resonant affirmation that politics actually have the potential to unite.”
EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2009 ICELANDIC ENTRY
Yohanna performer
Óskar Páll Sveinsson composer
Christopher Neil co-writer
Tinatin Japaridze co-writer
YohannaMusic official:
The press kit by RÚV YOHANNA - „Is It True?“
Is It True? will represent Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest semi- finals 2009 in Moscow on May 12th. The song is composed by Óskar Páll Sveinsson, Chris Neil and Tinatin Japaridze and will be performed by eighteen year old singer Yohanna. The song was selected to represent Iceland in Moscow by televoting in the Icelandic National Song Contest Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins on February 14th 2009. Is It True? received 19,076 votes while the song in second place received 10,696 votes. Is It True? will be performed in English at the Eurovision Song Contest 2009. There was never any doubt that Yohanna (Jóhanna Guðrún Jónsdóttir) would become a singer. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 16th 1990, she was a gifted child and started singing even before she could talk. Yohanna and her parents moved to Reykjavík in Iceland when she was just two years old and she continued to show great interest in music. The family moved to Hafnarfjörður when Yohanna turned eight and that’s where she had her first real opportunity to put her talent onshow. She was one of seven hundred children participating in a song contest when singing teacher María Björk spotted her potential. María offered Yohanna a place at her children’s singing school, and it was there that she learned the basics of performing modern pop songs. Everyone was amazed not only by her perfect pitch, range, and maturity, but also by the control she displayed when performing. Besides this, she showed an innate ability to quickly memorize, learn and adapt songs to suit her own individual vocal style. Yohanna recorded her first album at the age of nine, and it was released on her tenth birthday in the year 2000. The debut album was a huge success and was followed up by a second album in 2001, confirming her status as a true child prodigy. Her third album, consisting of popular Christmas carols, was released in late 2003. This proved to be her last album for a number of years as it was a joint decision between her manager and parents to give Yohanna some space to grow up and work on her musical skills away from the spotlight. In order to develop both her voice and her own personal musical style, Yohanna’s teenage years were spent working in and out of the studio with musical instructors, songwriters and producers. Educationally speaking, this was a busy period for a young lady who also tried her best to attend school regularly and have some fun with her friends along the way. Yohanna was nevertheless away from home for considerable periods, rehearsing in New York or Los Angeles and meeting with music business people all over the world. After turning down a recording contract with a major label, Yohanna spent some time in Denmark working on her vocal techniques. During this time she also recorded her first adult album ‘Butterflies and Elvis’ with British songwriter Lee Horrocks and sound engineer Thomas Yezzi. Asked to say what he thought of Yohanna, Yezzi commented ‘She is a young, white Icelandic girl with the soul of a fifty year old black woman. She’s really amazing.’ The album was well received upon its release in early 2008. Yohanna’s years as a child recording star were now well and truly behind her and she put all her heart and soul into her newly honed sound. When songwriter and producer Óskar Páll Sveinsson asked Yohanna to interpret the song ‘Is It True?’ for the 2009 Icelandic National Eurovision Preselection Song Contest, he was looking for Yohanna’s particular R’n’B sound and style and indeed it soon proved to be the right decision. At the age of eighteen, Yohanna has come full circle and now she herself teaches children to sing at the school where she started her own career some ten years ago. Moreover she is still concentrating on developing her own vocal technique yet further by attending classes at the Reykjavík Academy of Singing and Vocal Arts. Yohanna has successfully blossomed into a soulful, hardworking and highly motivated young vocalist who has now taken full control of her own destiny. Óskar Páll Sveinsson was born in Sauðárkrókur northern Iceland and showed interest in music at an early age when he learnt to play the clarinet and piano. Óskar Páll played in local bands in his teens and started working as a sound engineer at RÚV’s Channel 2 in the mid eighties. He subsequently became a recording studio engineer in 1990 at the age of 23. Working as a chief producer, engineer and programmer at Sýrland Studios in Iceland for almost 5 years, he produced a number of Icelandic best selling albums. When moving to London 1995 it only took him two weeks to get a job in the London studio circuit assisting producer Trevor Horn. To his surprise Óskar Páll found himself immediately busy working with Genesis and other big names in the music industry. After changing agencies he started working with Simon Fuller the manager of Spice Girls and S Club 7 who was responsible for launching the Pop Idol contest. Óskar Páll successfully produced S Club 7 no. 1 smash hit ‘Never Had a Dream’ and some tracks for their follow- up album. He co-wrote and produced the single ‘Turn Around’ by Steps as well as Pop Idol Will Young’s no. 1 record breaking single ‘Anything is Possible’ and has written and produced several other successful songs. He has worked with Robbie Williams, Mike and the Mechanics, Marc Almond, Seal, Depeche Mode, Secret Garden and Ian McCulloch. Óskar Páll was signed as a songwriter to Sony Publishing U.K. and he currently runs his own studio in the countryside in Iceland. Legendary record producer Christopher Neil is known in the U.K. and the U.S.A. as the producer’s producer. Over the years he has recorded hit records for an amazing list of global talent that include A-ha, Celine Dion, Cher, Rod Stewart, Sheena Easton, Moody Blues, Bonnie Tyler, Marillion, Johnny Logan and Mike and the Mechanics. It was with this last band that he started writing songs as well as producing the records, which put him firmly on the map as a composer. Recently he has written for LeAnne Rimes, British T.V. show Britannia High (with Gary Barlow) and is currently writing with Mike Rutherford of Genesis. Born in Soviet Georgia and raised in Moscow, songwriter and artist Tinatin Japaridze is on her way to scaling the heights of two careers: as a writer and a musician. Heralded by Billboard Magazine as one of the “fresh faces to keep an eye out for in 2008,” she became a finalist in the worldwide John Lennon Song Contest and her song ‘Wild’ was hailed as a 2007 year- end Billboard Top 10 Critics’ Pick. Also a United Nations Radio Correspondent for American and Russian media, Tinatin is currently working on two literary projects encompassing of both fiction and non-fiction genres. A Russian citizen and a permanent resident of the United States, she has collaborated with some of the industry’s top producers and songwriters on both sides of the Atlantic. Her song ‘Thinking of Someone Else’ written with Christopher Neil and Ben Robbins reached #13 in the pop club charts in UK’s Music Week. Her song ‘We the Peoples’, based on the United Nations Charter, was recently reviewed by Billboard senior correspondent Chuck Taylor, who called it “a penultimate, contemporary anthem honouring the mission of the United Nations, perhaps more relevant than ever, given the flux of worldwide politics… a resonant affirmation that politics actually have the potential to unite.”
EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2009 ICELANDIC ENTRY
Yohanna performer
Óskar Páll Sveinsson composer
Christopher Neil co-writer
Tinatin Japaridze co-writer
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