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Iceland's Svala was virtually born into the recording industry. Her father is Bo Halldorsson, a successful singer and producer in her homeland, who she claims is as well-known as the country's president. As a child, Svala did commerical jingles to earn extra cash and was first heard on album at seven when she was featured on her father's Christmas album. Two years later she sang a Christmas duet with him on another album and it remains one of the most popular holiday tunes in Iceland to this day. Svala lists her influences as Patsy Cline, Fleetwood Mac, the Carpenters, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Ritchie, and Madonna, among R&B stars like Mary J. Blige, Joe, and Sisqo. Svala was initially in an Icelandic electronic band called Scope that released an Iceland-only album in the mid-'90s and opened concerts for the Prodigy and Saint Etienne. Their version of jazz singer Jean Carne's "Was That All It Was?" was a hit in Iceland. Svala also recorded with a Motown cover band called Bubbleflies. The Real Me was recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia by Mr. Mig (Vitamin C, LeAnn Rimes). In early 2001 Svala enjoyed a friendly introduction to the U.S., accompanying fellow Priority Records star Shag to an Outkast concert in Los Angeles. 2001 saw Svala perform at the NARM convention. Her first video, for "The Real Me," was directed by Nigel Dick (Ricky Martin, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys).