10 Questions with Oh Land
Singer. Ballet dancer. X Factor judge. Nanna Øland Fabricius, better known as Oh Land, is a busy woman. Add to that resumé her globetrotting touring with mega stars such as Katy Perry and Sia and writing operas with Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and her schedule would seem impossible. And yet, the 33 year-old mother-of-one is also an accomplished songwriter with four albums already to her name.
Now, five years since the release of her last record, Earth Sick, Oh Land is back again with her latest LP — Family Tree: a deeply personal reflection on family, loss and love.
With Family Tree dropping in May, Oh Land is lining up a series of performances to broadcast her latest sound with the first concert landing right here in New York on April 25th at the famed (Le) Poisson Rouge.
Denmark In New York caught up with the singer-songwriter ahead of her upcoming engagement to talk about her new album, her role as a judge in Denmark’s X Factor and her on-again-off-again relationship with the City that Never Sleeps.
1. You lived in New York for 10 years. What is your favorite thing about the city?
New York to me is almost like a state of mind. It’s when you’re open to anything and all your senses are on alert!
2. When you reflect back on your time in New York, which memories immediately flood back to you?
My local community where I lived in New York. The bright winter sun on a big bright crisp sky. Going to the local coffee shop and not knowing exactly what the day will bring.
3. What suggestions would you give to a Dane traveling for the first time to New York City?
Don’t try to see everything. Just be present.
4. You will be performing at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York on the 25 th of April this year and it’s certainly not your first time performing in the city. What makes New York a unique city to perform in and how does it differ from performing in Denmark?
I have some story for every inch of New York. I’ve had a terrifying showcase on LPR when I was just starting out- but it led to me supporting SIA on her North American tour. I’ve also seen Guns N’ Roses play a super intimate show there. Everything can happen everywhere and I’m really excited to be back to this legendary place and see what story I will be living at that moment.
5. You’re one of the three judges in the Danish version of X Factor. Why did you decide to join the X Factor and how do you find your new role as mentor and judge?
I like to play and this is the ultimate board game. You can make incredible moments with music and vision on television. You can also fail greatly. It’s thrilling. When everything comes together its worth the hard work cause it really is hard work.
6. Your new album “Family Tree” will be out on the 3rd of May 2019. Tell us a little bit about the writing process behind the album and what inspired you.
That’s a big one. I could write a whole book about it. Or a whole album about it. And so I did.
7. How would you describe your sound on the album and does it represent a departure from your earlier work?
It’s definitely a more organic, hand-played direction. Folksy at times, classical at times. It doesn’t fall into the electronic music genre as I did before. You can hear my background in classical music but still my fascination with polyrhythms and North American folk.
8. What has been the best and worst part of creating this soon to be released album?
The best part is getting lost in making the music. The worst part is to realise that you have to be very extroverted when promoting the album. That’s two extreme parts of the process. Album making is more introverted. It can feel a bit schizophrenic at times
9. What feelings or reactions do you hope your new music will generate?
A sense of belonging and feeling heard. That being vulnerable is necessary in order to learn and real emotional strength has only been achieved when there’s been a total vulnerability to work through and overcome.
10. What are you listening to yourself right now? Any fellow Danish artists or bands you would recommend our readers to check out?
I listen a lot to Sufjan Stevens and Julia Stone and St. Vincent — basically all the people I was around in New York in the past few months. There’s a lot happening in the Danish music scene. For Danish-language lyrics I can recommend Nikolaj Nørlund and Naja Marie Aidt’s new album and Bisse’s new album Tanmaurk. For English-language lyrics I like the band Irah a lot. And Jada — she makes beautiful pop.
Ema Seferovic is the Press and Communications Intern at DenmarkInNY.