RedMilk met Danish singer and songwriter Oh Land, aka Nanna Øland Fabricius, during her stay in Italy. She talked about her origins, her music and her soul, where the Danish natural side lives alongside the American industrial side; and she also confessed that, yes, LOVE IS A MUSE!


Hi Nanna, how are you?
I’m good… molto bene!

Is it your first time here?
No, I played here before when the Plastic so existed and I’ve been in Italy a million of times and I’ve loved it… since I was a child.

Where do you find inspiration for your lyrics and your music?
I am inspired by my life and the people I meet and always when the things are conflicting… you know I write a song when I’m just feeling super great and content but I write a song also when there’s something that is disturbing me.

Your songs often follow the same structure as fairy tales. Do you have fun to changing the reality into fiction?
Yes, I do. I think it’s a very Danish thing because we are brought up with fairytales written by H. C. Andersen so we are quite used to hearing real tragedies and real stories told in a fairy tale kind of way. I think that this has definitely influenced me.

What message do you like to leave through your songs?
To me the most important thing for people to take away from my music is to feel some kind of freedom. I’d like to appeal to people to stand up for who they are even when they are different.

How did the sounds in your third album “Wishbone” evolve?
I think it’s become more minimal… it’s sounding bigger but I found out that the less sounds you have, the less instruments, the louder that they can play, because if you have a lot of instruments playing then all of them have to play lower because otherwise you can’t hear any of it. So you can have few instruments and they can play louder… so the sound has become more massive but there are few instruments.

You moved from Copenhagen to Brooklyn. How did your “soundscapes” change?
I think my songs have become bigger which is also like typically going to America everything is bigger, faster, more efficient. When you live in New York and you’re surrounded by greatness and huge buildings… everything is big and you you’re kind of like… getting frustrated with that.

So is Brooklyn better than Copenhagen for your music?
It’s not better…it’s different. In Denmark it was more the natural side of me and in New York it’s the industrial side of me.

Do you have an icon?
When I was a child I had a lot of icons like the dancer Martha Graham and also Karen Blixen, she wrote “Out of Africa” and she was really cool before at that time as a woman writer traveling the world. I like have a few female icons like Amelia Earhart who flew over the Atlantic, the first woman to fly a plane over the Atlantic… women like that really inspire me.

Your dance career ended when you got injured. Did you choose, from that moment, to dedicate your life to music?
It was not anything I chose, it just kind happened and then suddenly it was like… wow! I didn’t even know I had any particular musical talent like because I grew up around musicians so I didn’t consider it special be able to sing or you know play instruments because it was just like being able to speak in my family so it wasn’t until I was older that I found out that not everyone can sing, everyone can play and write songs… so it took a while to realize that I had some kind of talent.

Where did you record your first album?
My very first album I recorded mostly in my bedroom in Copenhagen and the last one that I recorded was in L.A.

Which was better, your bedroom or L.A.?
Ohhh well L.A. is sunny and there was a pool so it was pretty nice.

Are you having fun these days?
Yeah… I have a lot of fun already when I’m eating both pasta and mozzarella and I’ve been practicing some bad Italian, but it’s pretty busy you like I did both TV and radio today and tonight I’ll play so I don’t have so much time.

Continue the story: “Once upon a time, a little girl named Nanna Øland Fabricius was born in Copenhagen, in a small cottage where music played all night and all day…”
…then she took the boat to America and saw the Statue of Liberty and she grew fairy wings and flew up on top of the Empire State Building and made a massive hit.

And here is the last question… Are you in love?
Yes I’m in love… but I’m pretty much always in love.

With life or with a person?
I’m a love with my husband, but I fall in love with things and people easily… it’s a big inspiration. I think LOVE is a muse.


Photos by Zelinda Zanichelli