Sigurjón Brink (born 29 August 1974—17 January 2011) also known as Sjonni, was an Icelandic musician and singer.
Sigurjón (Sjonni) Brink started playing music at an early age. His father was a guitarist and singer in a band and Sjonni was never in any doubt that music was the way forward for him. He was known to all his friends and fans as Sjonni Brink and founded the grunge rock group In Bloom in 1994, releasing a single and eponymous album in 1996. At first he played drums and actively participated in writing and arranging the music, but when the band dissolved he switched to guitar, working in a popular Lennon & McCartney tribute duo. Soon afterwards he launched his own solo career.
Sjonni also found time for regular theatrical work and was one of the founding members of independent and internationally renowned Icelandic theatre group Vesturport that recently accepted the honorable European theatre awards in St. Petersburg. This is one of the highest recognition of the theatre world.
Sjonni met his future wife actress Thorunn Clausen when both of them took part in the music and drama show ‘Le Sing‘ in the autumn of 2002. The show was a huge success and is still running. After that, Sjonni had roles in the Icelandic productions of musicals ‘Cuckoos Cabaret’,‘Footloose’ and his last role Ritchie Valens in ‘The Buddy Holly Story’. Sjonni wrote music for the 2004 stage award winning play ‘Brim’ and acted in the 2009 award-winning German stage play ‘Woyzeck’, by Georg Büchner. The play was shown around the world, among other places Denmark and New York. Both are productions of the Vesturport theatre company.
Sjonni still found time to found the band The Flavors which released one album ‘Go Your Own Way‘ in 2004. His solo album ‘Sjonni Brink‘ was released in 2009 and includes original Icelandic songs such as “Your Smile Leads My Way”. His most recent single ‘Love Is You‘ was written by his bandmate Palmi Sigurhjartarson in tribute to the late John Lennon. He had also made a duo recording with Björgvin Halldorsson, one of Icelands most loved singers.
Sjonni had previously participated in Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins, the Icelandic pre-selection show for ESC, in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010. His song was originally named ‘Countryside’ but as the rules this year insisted the lyrics to be in Icelandic in the pre-selection he thought he didn’t have the time to record it in Icelandic. The night before the deadline, he and his wife decided that when there’s a will there’s a way and he went on to record the song. He asked his wife to write the Icelandic lyrics and to finish the English lyrics with him. They managed to make the demo recording in order to put the song forward for the contest at the very last minute.
Sjonni was scheduled to perform the compostion in the third semi-final show on January 29th 2011, but unexpectedly suffered from a brain hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm on January 17th and tragically died instantly at the age of only 36.
Six of Sjonni’s closest musical friends collaborated to sing the song for him in the ESC 2011. The are 6 of the most popular and well respected musicians in Iceland. Guitarist and singer Vignir Snaer Vigfusson who had produced the song along with Sjonni; drummer Benedikt Brynleifsson and piano player Palmi Sigurhjartarson also played their part in the end result as they were Sjonni‘s co-members in the recently formed band Rokk.
The other three friends who took on this project also have a long history together: Guitarist and singer Gunnar Olason has played gigs on and off with Sjonni for many years; bassplayer and singer Hreimur Örn Heimisson was a long-term friend, and singer Matthias Matthiasson has worked with Sjonni both on and off stage.
Gunnar, Vignir and Benedikt have all participated in Eurovision before; Gunnar as part of TwoTricky in Copenhagen 2001; Vignir played guitar with Birgitta in Latvia 2003 and co-wrote Selma‘s entry in 2005 and Benedikt was in Eirikur Hauksson‘s band in Helsinki 2007. Together they are Sjonni’s Friends.
‘Coming Home’ performed by Sjonni’s Friends was selected to represent Iceland by televoting in the Icelandic National Song Contest on February 12th by 25,449 televotes with the runner up receiving 18,506 votes. The total amount of votes cast was 96,651. This equates to almost a third of the population of Iceland. Sjonni’s wife Thorunn Clausen will stage and direct the act in Dusseldorf.