Forget Oprah Winfrey. There’s a new O in town. Oh Land to be exact. Or Nanna Øland Fabricius to be more exact. Several months ago, we told you to rush out and buy her album because we fell in love with it immediately. She’s on tour again right now and took time out between Atlanta and New Orleans to answer a few of our burning questions, from her dream collaboration to the guinea pigs of her past. All in her delightful Danish accent.
Gay List Daily: Well, let’s start with a little background for anyone who hasn’t heard your album yet. Can you describe it, as well as your unique multi-sensory approach to songwriting?
Oh Land: My album is like a dreamy dance album. It has all these songs that are from my life for the past few years. Most of them are about love, actually, even though I always try not to write about love, they end up being about love. I always describe my songs with a visual approach to writing music. Kind of like writing music for your eyes.
GLD: Not trying to kiss up (much), but we’ve had your album in permanent rotation on our iPod since we first got it. It’s one of those rare albums that’s immediately enjoyable. Were you surprised by the album’s success or did you know you had something phenomenal when you put it out?
OL: I never think that way. I’m always scared of putting something out. It’s something I’ve been really working on and I’ve been anxious of putting it out in the world because you never know. One thing that I knew was that I was doing an album that was different. I tried hard not to go just straight down the middle of the road, but also not get caught up in my own belly button and do this sort of super indie kind of thing. The album has elements of both sides so that I knew it would end up in a place that a lot of albums aren’t right now, you know? So far, it’s been a really fun journey.
GLD: Would you like to relay a message for all your gay fans?
OL: I don’t know if I have any specific message, but I love my gay fans more than anything. When I go out and play, no matter where in the country, it’s just really represented. I’m just so happy I connect in that way. My best friends have always been gay. My roommates were all gay. I grew up in a very much gay environment so I think it’s quite natural that my music can live in that community.
GLD: Tell us a little bit about what you describe as your circus-like childhood.
OL: It wasn’t like I was living in a circus or anything, but it sure felt that way. My parents were both very creative and kind of like anarchists in many ways. We were living in the outskirts of Copenhagen. Unlike other parents, my parents kind of encouraged me to never get an education. One time I was paid from my mom to stay home from school because she thought I needed a break. She said something that I was taking myself too seriously and I needed to give myself some time to be free. I was quite disciplined, so she had to pay me to stay home one day.
My parents were quite different. We were always doing fun things. We had chickens, we had cats, guinea pigs and rabbits, and a tortoise and a lot of animals running out of the house. Always musicians and creative people running in and out of the house. I think that’s what I mean by it being circus-like.
GLD: Or at least a petting zoo!
OL: Right. I feel like I’m living in a circus right now, too. I travel all the time and never sleep in the same room two days in a row, so being a musician is a very circus-like existence.
GLD: Your parents prepared you well then. What artists influenced you the most?
OL: There are a couple. Because I was a dancer Martha Graham was one of my biggest idols when I was a kid. She’s the founder of modern contemporary dance. She went on her own idea and made a whole language of dance that never existed. Also, Pippi Longstocking was a big idol to me. Pippi was the strongest girl in the world! Later on, of course Bjork was an inspiration in a way that she also never seemed to compromise what she did and I admired that.
GLD: Even though it’s your own album, do you have a favorite song?
OL: Right now, at the moment, I find it really fun to play Human live. It always changes. One week it’s one song, one week it’s another, but Human is always fun to play live. That song is about how every time you hate something about another person or hate some quality in humans when you watch the news and you think, how can this happen? How can this person do these awful things? And then you have to accept that all these qualities are things in everybody and also yourself and that makes you hate it even more. You’ve got to fight with yourself. That song is important to me.
GLD: You’ve toured with some great acts. Scissor Sisters, Katy Perry, OMD. Are you ever star struck or is it just another day at the office?
OL: Oh, I’m star struck by amazing talent. They have something that’s coming from a higher place. When I see that kind of talent it blows me away, but then I also know that talent is not the whole person. I also like to have a normal conversation with a person. Right now I’m touring with Sia. Every night I hear her sing, I think wow, how can anybody have that kind of voice? I learn a lot.
GLD: Is there a singer working today who you’d most like to meet or collaborate with?
OL: Dolly Parton. I love Dolly Parton. She has an amazing voice and she’s a very good songwriter, but I think that’s a long shot.
GLD: We know we need to wrap things up, so tell us quickly what’s next for you?
OL: I’m definitely not taking time off, that’s for sure. I was just in Barcelona for a week to record my next music video for White Nights, which is coming out soon. I’m really quite proud of it. I think it’s a video that you haven’t seen before and it doesn’t look like anything else that’s out there right now and there’s a lot of ideas there and a lot of fun, crazy things. I just really hope people will like it. And then I’m going to tour in Europe, back to America, and then back on tour with Katy Perry again. I’m pretty much booked out for the next year!
Buy her album!
$7.99 on iTunes
White Nights from Oh Land Music on Vimeo.
Oh Land “Sun of a Gun” from Oh Land Music on Vimeo.