I feel for the first time that I can be whoever I want to be,” says Sara Pètursdóttir, with happiness in her voice. “Nobody is judging me or telling me to do anything different, I’m more confident in who I am.” Pètursdóttir, who releases fluorescent, nimble pop songs as Glowie, recently turned 22, but her birthday is by no means the only cause for celebration. Having moved to London from her hometown of Reykjavík last summer after signing to Columbia, Glowie is living her dream. “When I signed with my label I didn’t know what to expect,” she tells Music Week. “I was still pretty lost when I signed, I really had to spend some time going into sessions and getting to know producers and writers and finding my sound. We just wanted to do this really well.”
Glowie’s insight into life as nascent major label pop star is invigorating in its frankness, but that’s just the way she is. “I’m very open and honest,” she says. “Even though it was just two years ago, I was a very different person when I signed. It took time to develop myself as an artist, what I want to say, do and what I stand for. I’m still growing.”
Glowie seems caught in two minds over the question of how easy the process has been, pausing to collect her thoughts before saying: “I was warned by so many people, ‘This is so hard, you’re probably not going to make it.’ But I was ready, I was going to do it and go all the way, and I did.” Basking in the, erm, glow of recent single Cruel, which followed last year’s introductory single Body, she’s keen to turn her experiences into music that can make a difference. Having worked with Julia Michaels and Tayla Parx, Glowie isn’t writing her own songs – yet.
“A lot of people think I write my own music, but I don’t, actually,” she says. “Every message in every Glowie song comes from my heart, that’s so important. I work really closely with the producers and writers so that whatever is in my heart goes into the song.” Glowie writes poetry in between painting landscapes in her downtime, and says that will feed into songwriting one day. But, she reasons, who cares who writes what anyway? “I feel like a lot of people put shame on pop singers who don’t write their own music, and I am very much involved with mine. I will definitely do it in the future, I’m working towards it more and more,” she says.
The youngest in a musical family, Glowie has come a long way from home, where she was bombarded by music from all sides (Alicia Keys remains her favourite). She’s here to tell young women that anything is possible. “I was bullied as a kid and I used to be really cruel to myself and beat myself down if I didn’t do things perfectly,” she says. “It’s so important that I’m able to bring a message in a way that’s going to affect and help people.” With more releases planned (“I don’t like to put music in a box and say ‘EP, album’ or whatever, I just want to release music and call it music!”) Glowie’s message will come loud and clear. “Music really impacts our brains and the way we feel,” she finishes. “It’s a really strong tool."