Surreal that millions listened to my music

An Iceland based musician is the brain behind the opening theme of a brand new show that aired on the largest TV-network in Indonesia last Sunday, April 24th.

“I've been told that I'm good at writing film/TV music, so that's definitely something I would love to do more of.”
“I’ve been told that I’m good at writing film/TV music,” says Juvicsa, here with girlfriend and fellow musician Steinunn Ósk Axelsdóttir.

“I feel really proud that all these people listened to my music, it’s just great,” says Juvicsa Vela, an aspiring musician living in Iceland, when asked what it felt like knowing that last Sunday millions of people watched a brand new TV show featuring a song that she wrote.

The show, which is called Jonsson & Robinsson Journey after it’s main hosts Icelander Árni Þór Jónsson and Indonesian Robinson Telaumbanua is an adventure show that was aired on Kompas TV, the largest TV-network in Indonesia. The show is sponsored by the country’s tourism board along with big companies like Mitsubishi and Motorola with the aim of showing the “real” Indonesia.

Juvicsa was approached by one of its producers who is a mutual friend of hers and Árni. He was looking for a musician who could write an original intro song for the show. Something edgy, rocky. “They already knew what kind of music I write, so I met Árni and the producer and we went from there,” she says and admits that it was a bit unusual to write music for a TV show in Indonesia of all places.

“I feel really proud that all these people listened to my music, it’s just great.”

Does the song reflect what you’ve been doing in music?
“The song was made for the show, so I styled it to what the client wanted. It’s not connected to what I’m doing right now, but it’s what I’m going for,” says Juvicsa, who is currently working on her debut EP album, entitled “Eyes to Land” , which is scheduled to come out in May.

“I’ve been working on that for the past one and a half-year. It’s kinda my baby that I’m waiting to give birth to. (Laughs.) I’ve been working with a couple of producers in LA and here in Iceland. It’s been many a sleepless nights, with the time difference and stuff, to get it together.”

Arni Thor Jonsson has been visiting Indonesia for over 20 years, and is currently working there for an Icelandic company. Robinson Telaumbanua, his best friend, is an Indonesian who works as a tour guide and a hunter. Robinson also runs a production company and it was he who came up with the idea of taking Arni around Indonesia to less known destinations. The idea is simple; the experienced adventurer (Robinson) shows his big-city loving friend (Jonsson) another side of Indonesia, the “real Indonesia”. The whole show is in Indonesian and the friendship and polar-opposite characters of the two friends plays a big role on the show.
The stars of TV show Jonsson & Robinson Journey: Robinson Telaumbanua (left), works as a tour guide and a hunter in Indonesia, and also runs a production company there. He came up with the idea of taking his big city loving friend Árni Þór Jónsson, who also works in the country, around Indonesia to lesser known destinations. The whole show is in Indonesian and the friendship and polar-opposite characters of the two friends plays a big role on it.

Juvicsa is originally from Peru but moved with her family to Sweden at the age of twelve. Last summer she moved to Iceland with her girlfriend Steinunn Ósk Axelsdóttir who she met two and a half years ago at the Musician Institute, on Hollywood Boulevard, in California which they both graduated from. “It happened really fast,” says Steinunn Ósk and Juvicsa agrees. “Yeah, almost love at first sight, which is odd since I didn’t believe in that kind of stuff!”

So are the two of you working on similar kinds of music?
“No not really,” says Steinunn. “I am way more rock than Juv, who is more pop. I listen to Metallica or Mötley Crew, which I got from my brother Grétar Örn Axelsson who is also a musician and played the guitar in Juvicsa’s intro song. We kept it in the family!” (Laughs.)

When asked if it’s difficult for two musicians to live together Steinunn Ósk laughs. “Well it’s interesting, that’s for sure! It can be challenging at times, having two people who are so artistic, creative and passionate. But it can also be inspirational and great. We help each other out a lot and we motivate each other. And we want the same thing, not just for ourselves but for each other. There is no jealousy. Nothing but respect and support.”

She says it can be challenging though when it comes to space especially when you live in a tiny apartment. “For a while we only had one computer so we had to schedule computer time for one another. Sometimes you’d have to say: “It’s my time now!” We just made it work by respecting each other. If one of us is feeling super inspired and knows what she want to do, she’ll get the space. The other one must go do something else, clean or go for a walk.”

“We help each other out a lot and we motivate each other. And we want the same thing, not just for ourselves but for each other.”

Juvicsa agrees that it can be inspiring and motivating. “And because you get to see someone else go after their dreams, their plan A, it makes you work twice as hard to get to where you need to be. But then it can also be a little annoying to have to listen to them work on the same melody over and over and over again or do loud vocal warm ups! (Laughs.) Basically, you need a big house to have two musicians living together!”

The couple say that they’ve been working hard to save money so that they can move back to Los Angeles to continue working on their music. But why LA?

Steinunn Ósk and Juvicsa are planning on going to Los Angeles, where they want to continue to work on their music.

“The great thing about living in LA is that you can literally step out of your home and go to the store and you can meet people who are in the industry,” Juvicsa explains. “It’s an ideal place to network and meet people to work with. It’s a very surreal place if you actually think about it but once you’re in it, you understand it and it becomes part of your daily life. For example, it’s surreal to have had a teacher who’s now an Oscar nominee or a songwriting teacher who wrote an album that’s recently been on Top 5 Billboard charts or hanging out talking about music or songwriting with Prince’s former backup singer.”

“Yeah, there are endless opportunities there,” says Steinunn Ósk. “Besides, LA is our home now.”

Do you expect to get more work in TV after this show?
“I sure hope so,” says Juvicsa. “I’ve been told that I’m good at writing film/TV music, so that’s definitely something I would love to do more of.”

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