Cherry on Top // Oh Land

Dancer, singer, actress, and activist, Nanna Øland Fabricius, takes the phrase "triple threat" to new measures. Best known for her stage name, Oh Land, Nanna was on the fast track to becoming a professional dancer when she suffered an injury that forced her to her the sidelines. Pursuing a singing career in 2008, she made her US debut on Letterman where she performed her hit single, "Sun of Gun." The Danish singer-songwriter went platinum with the album Oh Land and has continued breaking down music barriers with her indie-pop, instrumental tunes. Top hits in both Denmark and the US such as "White Nights," and "Renaissance Girls" have left us hungry for more. Nanna's latest projects have been filming for the Danish version of The Voice Junior and wrapping up her movie The Salvation, which premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Nanna has always had remarkable style and when I saw the new clothing editorials for Monki, I knew I had to request an interview. Between filming, performing, and a baby boy on the way, Nanna graciously sat down for a chat with Ugly Magazine.

Photo Cred: Tig and Pig/Bree McCool, Lights and Wires

Ugly Mag: I always get a little emotional when I listen to the song "Cherry on Top", the line “Dream house built inside a snow globe but no one's home,” is really powerful. I think everyone can relate to having lost a dream or redefining one. What have you gained from redefining your dream of being a professional dancer? An injury obviously didn’t keep you down, was there anything that helped you stay positive and keep following “the sirens” as you say?

What a wonderful way you perceive it. It was with much trouble and heartache that I had to give up my dream of dancing. Particularly when you’re very young you tend to think the world is ending when things go wrong. I was definitely a horse with blinders and it took me a long time to give up on that dream. It wasn't until I was so busy making music that I stopped and realized that my dream had been replaced, without me really noticing. I think what helped me a lot at the time was the fact that no one pressured me to come up with a quick plan B. Noone said, “hurry up and get an education.” People around me allowed me to hit the bottom and work my own way up slowly. That builds a lot of confidence and makes you very strong. 

Ugly Mag: You totally have a dancer’s body, aside from working your ass off, what are some things you do to keep your body and mind in shape?

I guess having trained 32 hours a week for 10 years made its permanent mark… I actually don't do a lot to stay in shape except for being on stage and singing. Singing is great core work. I like to do yoga or pilates once in a while to keep my thoughts neutral and my body healthy.

Ugly Mag: I’m sure you’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people, anyone that really stood out to you or made a lasting impression?

I feel lucky to have met a lot of really inspiring people along the way. I think someone who made a strong impression on me was Sia. I toured with her for 4 weeks and we became pretty close. I loved watching her on stage every night cause she was so powerful and funny on stage and at the same time quite unconcerned about impressing. I learned a lot watching her perform.

Ugly Mag: Spotify told me you were playing in Stockholm November 7th. I’ve only been stateside for a few weeks and I’m craving kebab pizza like a zombie on the hunt for brains. You should eat one in my honor. Do you have a favorite city to perform in? What do you enjoy the most about doing a live performance?

I do love kebab a lot and the best I've ever had was in Scandinavia- even better than in the Middle East (sorry). My favorite city to perform in is probably Istanbul. People really care about music and arts and there's a huge young community of ambitious people who want change.

Ugly Mag: Okay, so down to fashion. Have your tastes evolved?

My taste has probably become a little more refined. I used to just like everything loud and colorful. Now I'm a little more picky with quality and texture.

Ugly Mag: How would you describe your style? 

Girly, playful and poetic. I rarely go for a classy or sexy look. I more often go for a feeling- often inspired by childhood nostalgia. Like channeling some movie character like Dorothy or princesses such as Snow-White.

Ugly Mag: Do you have a favorite season for clothing and what has been your all-time favorite ensemble?

I probably like Spring the best. It's not so warm that you barely wear anything but also you don't have to cover up completely. I love making cute outfits of little jackets, skirts and umbrellas and ankle socks in flat shoes. I love that French school girl look.

Ugly Mag: Do you plan your outfits the night before or are you one those people that kind of roll out of bed, put on anything and rock it?

I rarely plan in advance. I more often have a feeling of "owning" a piece of clothing some attention. Like, “It's about time you get a spin around the block, you red jumper.“

Ugly Mag: You’ve been doing The Voice, how do you like it so far? Has coaching changed you in any way as an artist?

I think I learn a lot by teaching others. Trying to explain an idea you often become more aware of the mechanisms that work for yourself. And by watching others grow you get inspired to do so yourself.

Ugly Mag: Are you working on any other projects, perhaps a fifth album?

At the moment, I'm working on a Danish EP in my native language. That is quite different and fun to do. And then I'm working on finishing my baby boy in my tummy. Can't wait to meet him!

Ugly Mag: For your last album, Earth Sick, a portion of your crowd-funding went to Greenpeace’s Save the Arctic campaign. Any motive behind choosing that campaign specifically?

The environment is a big concern of mine and I want to help in any way I can.

Ugly Mag: Who was your favorite singer growing up? Aside from your mother, Bodil Øland, of course.

I liked Maria Callas and Louis Armstrong and John Lennon. 

Ugly Mag: And last, if you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?

Don't worry be happy!

Click here and listen to Oh Land's newest release, Doubt My Legs! 

Stay true. Stay you. Stay Ugly.