WHITE SWAN Oh Land

The grace and lust of Nanna Øland Fabricius, currently
in the middle of a U.S.
tour.

 

BY ANNAMARYA SCACCIA

Svelte Danish
singer/multi-instrumentalist and former ballet dancer Oh Land began her music
career only four years ago after a major back injury put her out of commission
from dancing. But in that short time of trading mediums of self-expression, Oh
Land released an album (2008’s self-produced Fauna), scored a spot at SXSW in 2009, attracted insane industry
and blogger buzz, made numerous “Artists to Watch in 2011” lists, and landed a
major label deal with Epic Records, which issued an EP last fall followed by a
self-titled full-length in March. Bolstered by a series of sexy videos and
equally provocative live appearances, the buzz steadily grew.

 

 


 

Talking with her, it’s not hard to understand why there’s such a magnetic pull
to the burgeoning Brooklyn transplant. Born
Nanna Øland Fabricius, the 25-year-old’s darling vocal accents, adroit
personality (after all, Oh Land is a play on her name and the world she enters when she creates), and electro-burnished
trippy dream-pop are bursting bubbles of rhythmic anarchy and organic sweetness
that are unavoidably infectious. Her songwriting is awash with these blends,
where the strict languid lines of classical music meet the unrestricted desires
of technology and the stimulation of visual arts to form moments of filmic
grace and lust.

 

“I listened to a lot of
classical music [growing up] because my mum was an opera singer and my dad was
a musician too, so that’s a huge part of my history of music,” she says, “but
then, at the same time, I have this love for electronics and computers and
everything that’s really modern and progressive. My music is very much a result
of those two things. I pull equally from each side.”

But Oh Land is by no means a novice of the industry. While her previous life
was spent devoted to ballet, she only chose it as a loose form of rebellion.
Classical music was an omnipresent force that consumed her family, yet she
didn’t want to follow in her parents’ footsteps so she picked dance as a way of
connection without imitation. She admits, though, to sneaking into the living
room to sing and play piano when no one was around. Now that’s she’s fully
immersed in music as a proprietor of soundscapes rather than swanlike
movements, Oh Land is in control of her future and identity. She’s eternally
grateful to those people who’ve helped her succeed, but creative control is
entirely necessary.

 

“Growing up dancing, I was
always playing a part in a piece that was already written. With the things I do
now, I write my own plays. I have that urge, I have that need to do that,” she
says. “If I ever feel that’s not the case, I just wither. It just doesn’t work
for me.”

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