Published in VMAN 20, Winter 2010 as part of SING THE WORLD ELECTRIC.
The first question that comes to mind when contemplating the pop star Oh Land is, naturally, what on earth does “Oh Land” mean? “It is my middle name,” says the stunning young Dane. “It felt pretty natural. When I make my music I kind of dive into my own little universe, my own private little land.”
Oh Land grew up in a suburb of Copenhagen, her mother an opera singer and the rest of her family musicians as well. In an effort to rebel against the family craft, she took up ballet, accepting admission to the Royal Academy. But when a slipped disc rendered her unable to continue dancing, she had an epiphany that saved her from an identity crisis and potentially maddening boredom. “When I had that injury, I basically couldn’t move for two months. So I was lying on the floor in the middle of the kitchen of my parents’ house, and I really needed to express myself.” Her visible kinetic energy makes this assertion something of an understatement. “I realized that every time I am frustrated I naturally play music, so I didn’t have to make a choice or search so much for something else that I am good at.”
Given this set of circumstances, one can’t help wonder where Oh Land would be had she never sustained her fateful injury. “I have actually never asked myself that,” she laughs. “I don’t think I would still dance, I think I would have probably gone into music eventually. I would never in the world exchange anything.”
OH LAND IN NEW YORK CITY, SEPTEMBER 2010
PHOTOGRAPHY CATHERINE SERVEL
STYLING CATHERINE NEWELL-HANSON
Oh Land’s debut EP Oh Land is out now on SONY Records