To enter Danish pop princess Oh Land’s world of dreamy soundscapes and uptempo electronica beats is to meet a more approachable La Roux, a less frenetic Nelly Furtado…a more coherent Bjork.
With fans like Elton John in her corner, producers like Pharrell working with her, and a nomination for Logo’s NewNowNext award for the Brink of Fame in her pocket, Oh Land is set to rule the States. She spoke to Fenuxe from her Brooklyn home about her longtime relationship with gay fans, her epic live shows, and getting bitten by “the crazy music bug.”
Fenuxe: So this is for our Beauty issue and you’re…well, beautiful!
Oh Land: [laughs] Thank you!
Fenuxe: Did you ever want to model?
Oh Land: No I’ve never aspired to model or do anything of interest like that. I always get surprised when people say I’m beautiful. I guess in Denmark I look very…kind of plainish [laughs]. So I guess I’m just more exotic over here. But yeah, I’ve never thought of that. There are people who would be much better at that than me.
Fenuxe: So what can listeners expect to hear when they put on an Oh Land album?
Oh Land: They can expect an album that can make them dance as much as it can make them think, or hopefully get a moment of peace. It’s very cinematic in a way – there’s a lot of string arrangements and dreamy choirs, but then there’s also beats and some kind of optimism in the album. So I just hope it will make people relax and dance and do whatever they wanna do and feel at home for the moment in the music.
Fenuxe: You did ballet for ten years then had to quit after a serious back injury. Did the end of your ballet career lead you to pursue music?
Oh Land: It was a very natural thing for me to, whenever I got sad or happy I expressed it with singing or dancing because that was what we did in my home. But I guess I was a little bit scared to pursue that dream because music almost meant too much to me. Because If I failed, it would break my heart [laughs].
So I started to dance and that became my passion for those ten years. And then when I got this injury, it took me a lot of time to get over. But the thing that kind of made me go on and be passionate about something again was music. I just started writing all these songs, in a way like writing a diary about all these thoughts and everything that I was going through in that period. Then, it just slowly took over and I played it to some people who encouraged me to put it up on MySpace. That was when I got signed to a small indie label in Denmark called Fake Diamond Records. And then it just all started. I just got…bitten…[laughs] by the crazy music bug.
Fenuxe: Congratulations on the NewNowNext nomination. When did you realize you had a gay following?
Oh Land: Pretty early on actually. My first show ever since I got signed to Sony was the opening of the Pride Festival in New York. I’ve always been in that environment from my early years at the theater, and there’s a big gay community in ballet and in opera and acting. So that was just a part of my upbringing. My music has been really embraced. I love playing in those places, I think it’s amazing.
Fenuxe: You were named most stylish New Yorker in Time Out New York Magazine. How important is fashion to you?
Oh Land: Not more important than music [laughs]. You know, music is everything that matters to me. Fashion should always be fun. No matter how I look, even when I look like I have no idea what I’m wearing, I still have picked exactly what I want to wear. So I think it’s a fun way to play with what you want to express. Since I grew up in a very theatrical environment, clothes have always been an essential part of how to tell a story because I’ve seen all the costumes. So I guess that’s kind of stuck with me.
Fenuxe: And you’re coming to Atlanta March 14th. What can people expect at your show?
Oh Land: Everything’s played live and I play with a drummer and a synth player and they are both genius musicians. So it’s a really fun show musically. I’m also playing a bunch of instruments. And everything we play is synced to projectors that project visuals of balloons. So it’s definitely a very visual show.
Fenuxe: Well we’re looking forward to seeing the show, Oh Land. We appreciate your time.
Oh Land: Thank you so much, I’m really looking forward to playing Atlanta!