N°105 Páll Óskar HjálmtýssonNú Ninja Helga Mjöll
Páll Óskar Hjálmtýsson, also known as Paul Oscar, is considered to be the king of Icelandic pop. Beloved by all of Iceland, he came into fame after releasing his first solo album, Palli, named after his Icelandic nickname, in 1995. It went on to become the best-selling album in Iceland that year. He made a mark on the whole continent of Europe after his flamboyant Eurovision Song Contest performance in 1997. To this day he is a household name and adored in Iceland.
Hjálmtýsson was born in Reykjavik on March 16th, 1970. He showed his talent from a young age, and his mother would make him sing for the women in her sewing club and at other events when he was a child. He continued to sing throughout his childhood, and at the age of twelve, he played the lead in his first professional theatre production. Around this time, he had a lot on his plate, he was being bullied by his classmates, dealing with his parents fighting, all while also coming to terms with his sexuality. At 16 he came out as gay, and he has since become an icon in the LGBTQ+ community.
Hjálmtýsson is extremely open about who he is, and he was not afraid to showcase his flamboyant side, which he did at his Eurovision performance. He played his co-written song “Minn hinsti dans” (“My Final Dance”) with four latex-clad women dancing suggestively on a sofa with him. This was inspiring to gay people across Europe as it was not so accepted at the time to be so exuberant and open with your sexuality.
His work is dynamic. Along with his theatrical performances, he also sings traditional Icelandic ballads, DJs, acts, and is a songwriter. This, and the fact that he has adapted to the changes in music and culture over the past few decades, has kept him relevant and esteemed, earning himself the title of Iceland’s king of pop.
Deep Inside (1999)
Allt fyrir ástina (All in the Name of Love, 2007)
Silfursafnið (The Silver Collection, 2008)
You can listen to all of Hjálmtýsson’s music on Spotify linked here