How to have the best Sunday in L.A., according to Laufey

Icelandic Chinese vocalist and songwriter Laufey (pronounced lāy-vāy) has an appreciation for life’s many wonders. It’s apparent in her music, which fuses the sounds of jazz and classical giants past with romantic storytelling, punctuated by a deep vibrato and modern-day references. And it’s apparent in her enthusiasm for her current hometown of Los Angeles. Though the 25-year-old alto has been around the world — growing up in Reykjavik, attending cello band camp in Beijing and bopping around Boston as a Berklee College of Music student — she was still struck by L.A. when her burgeoning music career brought her to West Hollywood in the summer of 2021

Sunday Funday text with colorful illustrations of an L.A. Dodgers hat, hiking boot, mixed drink, donut and burger.

In Sunday Funday, L.A. people give us a play-by-play of their ideal Sunday around town. Find ideas and inspiration on where to go, what to eat and how to enjoy life on the weekends.

“I was just running around enjoying the sunny weather,” she said. “I was really so enamored by L.A. and couldn’t believe it was real. I still to this day feel like that.”

The TikTok-savvy songstress has since settled in, even referencing L.A.’s “weeping” mountains, and Sunset Boulevard in a collaboration with the Icelandic Philharmonic called “California and Me.” Her career reached new heights in February when her first album, “Bewitched,” won a Grammy in the best traditional pop vocal categories. (The “Goddess Edition” of that aforementioned album is out today.)

In the midst of her whirlwind recording industry success, Laufey’s appreciation for the city’s little joys hasn’t waned. Now situated in central L.A., her perfect day involves picking up Icelandic catch from her local fishmonger, relaxing with a good book by the beach, practicing Frederic Chopin’s children’s tunes as a form of meditation and spending more time on her phone than she cares to admit.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for length and clarity.

8 a.m.: Rise and sip

I’m an early riser. Even on a Sunday. I love the day. I love running around and doing things and I don’t want to miss even an hour of it. So I usually wake up at around 8, maybe 9 on a Sunday. And I’ll immediately get coffee. There’s so many fun coffee shops. I love Maru, so I go to Maru a lot. I also really like Damo in K-town, they have really good matcha. [I’ll] sit and read, sit and journal, sit and call my parents. They’re in Iceland, so morning is the best time to call them.

11 a.m.: A taste of home

Then I like to go to the farmers market. I love the farmers markets in L.A. I think it’s one of the best things about L.A. And the produce is so fresh. I love the one in Larchmont because it’s just small and sweet. Larchmont Village is like my favorite place. And I love the one at Melrose Place as well. It’s a little fancier, it feels more like an event, almost. So I also like the Hollywood one, the Studio City one. I like changing it up and getting a different vibe from each neighborhood.

Jyan Issac Bread bakery has a rye bread — like a Danish rye bread — that I always have. Because it reminds me of the bread that I had in Iceland growing up. I toast it and I put butter on it.

I think the fruit and veg vendors at Larchmont are probably my favorite. And then they always have Icelandic fish, Nordic catch, at every single farmers market it seems. At least at Melrose, Hollywood and Larchmont they have Nordic catch: salmon, cod, everything. So I like to pick up fish there every Sunday as a little taste of home. Seeing that in L.A. is always so fun — these fishies were in Iceland recently. [Laughs]

1 p.m.: Little European treats

After that I like to grab a lunch, brunch. My eating is all over the place on a Sunday because I’ll basically just get little treats. Like whenever I have a coffee I’ll probably have a pastry. Or a matcha, I’ll have a pastry.

[For] lunch, Loupiotte Kitchen in Los Feliz is my favorite. It’s so cute and it feels almost like being in Paris. But it’s so fun because the weather’s really nice all year round. And the people — there’s always cute kids there. It feels very familial.

I like sitting outside. They have really good eggs. They make this egg scramble with crème fraîche that’s very French and very yummy. They have really good toasts as well. Avocado toast. They have a summer toast that has a ton of different veggies on it. They also have good pastries. And I like having a little orange juice as well.

I’ll usually be with a friend and just yap. I’ll end up talking until 3 p.m. or something. I’ve got to get it out of my system.

3 p.m.: Tuna and books pit stop

I love the Brentwood Country Mart. I stop there on the way to the beach. There’s a really nice bookstore there called Diesel that is one of my favorites in L.A..

I go to the Farm Shop, I get another coffee. I get coffee like three times a day. I like picking up there. Specifically they have a tuna salad that is so yummy, and you can put it on bread. So I’ll sometimes pick up bread, just like a loaf of bread at Farm Shop and get one of their tuna things — I’m literally making myself hungry right now — and spread it on at the beach.

3:30 p.m.: Long walks on the beach

I’ve been going to the beach. I’ll drive either to Malibu or just out to Santa Monica. And I’ll just walk on the beach.

I grew up near the ocean in Iceland. So the smell of salt, the smell of fish and ocean really reminds me of home. That’s why I love going to the beach so much. There’s something that just makes me feel like it’s all connected. It’s all the same ocean in a way. So I like that. I like looking at the birds, the scary seagulls. I just like to sit on the bench and look out, read, eat my bread and tuna.

I am reading “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. And I’ve also been reading “The Shards” by Bret Easton Ellis. “Midnight Library” I just started, because it’s my book club read for the month. “The Shards” I’m really excited to read because I’ve heard there’s a connection between “The Shards” and “The Secret History,” which is a book by Donna Tartt, which is my favorite book ever. I’ve heard that there’s some common threads there, so I’m excited to discover those. But I always loved some kind of dark academic thing, which “The Shards” definitely is.

6 p.m.: Cooking with Nat King Cole

After that, I’ll return back and usually cook whatever I have from the farmers market that day. It’s more often than not fish, salmon. I love picking out any veggies that I haven’t used before, and then I just challenge myself to get home and figure out a recipe, or find a recipe. But anything super colorful I’m really drawn to, so if it’s like a really purple cauliflower, I’ll be like: “I’ve gotta figure that out tonight.”

My mother, she cooks a lot. And she’s taught me a lot of recipes. She’ll teach me by FaceTiming me. I’ll FaceTime her while I’m cooking. It’s so fun, it’s like a live cooking tutorial. All my recipes are hers.

I really like just cooking for myself, honestly. I do like cooking for others but pretty much only my twin sister because I’m scared that I’m going to disgust the people I cook for. My people-pleasing can’t handle hosting too many people at once. I play music. I love playing Nat King Cole. He lived in my neighborhood, so I feel extra connected to Nat King Cole.

8 p.m.: Chopin for the soul

I’ll practice cello, piano, guitar. [On] Sundays especially I like playing classical pieces. I don’t push myself too hard to write something new or original, I just pull out sheet music to pieces I played when I was younger, classical pieces, and it just always roots me. I think it’s the best way to end the week.

[I play] these little Chopin pieces. A lot of children’s music. Classical music that kids learn first, because it’s just very simple and meditative. And it’s not hard. And it’s oftentimes really beautiful melodies that are good for the soul.

9 p.m.: TikTok time

Realistically I’ll probably stay on my phone in bed or read or watch a TV show or something until like midnight.

I’ve been seeing a lot of these TikToks of this little Chinese boy making food. Like street food kind of? He’s making these really elaborate dishes outdoors on a plate and it’s so cute. He’s so good. He’s like a 3-year-old or something. And he’s so professional when he does it. And he always hands it to his grandpa or like the old person in the village.

There’s this older Japanese couple that posts their outfits together every day. Aki and Koichi. And they’re so chic. So I’ve been following that every day. And they do live in L.A. They’re so cool.

[I scroll on TikTikTok for] longer than I care to admit. [My screen time is] not great. But, you know, a lot of my job requires being on the phone. So I see it as work.

Midnight: A strict bedtime

I have a very regulated circadian rhythm that runs from midnight to 8 a.m., and if i don’t follow it, things get thrown off, I may not fall asleep. So I try to follow it very strictly.

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