Oh Land, Singer

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"'Oh Land' is my middle name—my full name is Nanna Øland Fabricius. I just released my third album, Wish Bone—it’s my second American album—recently redid my website, and just shot two new music videos. I'm so excited. I started making music when I was 22, six years ago. I grew up in Copenhagen and studied ballet for 10 years at the Royal Ballet School in Sweden. But when I was 19 I injured my back and had to stop. I'd been writing songs for a long time, kind of unconsciously. I didn’t really think it was anything anybody would want to hear; it was just my own kind of therapy. But, I was encouraged to put a few songs on MySpace, and after a few months, I got signed to a label in Denmark. I completely set my focus to music, and, by 2010, I got signed by Sony. That’s when I moved to Brooklyn.

When I was dancing, I spent most of my life in front of a mirror striving for classic perfection and beauty. After I stopped, I was ready to have more fun defining what beauty meant to me. I think that’s why I changed my hair; I was bored with trying to be conventionally pretty. It's been really liberating to completely damage my hair and have it be crazy colors. It’s more carefree.

When I want to play with color but don’t want to commit to a change, I use hair powders. The blue is Manic Panic, the purple is ColorSmash Hair Shadow in Rags to Riches, and the green is ColorSmash Hair Shadow in Saint Martini. When I want to have completely pink hair, I use this big Kevin Murphy Color Bug brush. They all kind of work like dry shampoo, and you can wash them out after, which is convenient.

When your hair is as damaged and chemically cooked as mine is, you need to invest in good hair products. I love Christophe Robin’s Antioxidant Cleansing Milk—it’s the best hair purchase I have ever made. Regular shampoo is too hard on my hair, because I get it bleached once a month. When I want my hair to be shinier and stronger, I put in Christophe Robin Lavender Oil. After you wash it out, you can really see a difference.

I usually don’t wear a lot of makeup. I have a lot of it, but I barely use it. When I wear anything, it’s usually just Yves Saint Laurent Faux Cils Babydoll Mascara in Fetish Black.  It’s tear-proof, not waterproof, so you can wash it easily, but when you cry, it won’t end up all over your face. I bought it for my wedding and it definitely works! [Laughs] If I ever wear eyeliner, I’ll use Chanel Duo Eyeliner. I like that it makes a precise line that you can paint yourself; it’s the best eyeliner I’ve ever tried. For eye shadow, I like a rosy brown. You wouldn’t think red would look good, but it actually brings out your eye color a little more, through contrast. Tromborg Professional Makeup’s Creamy Lip Cheek and Eye Powder in Misty Brown is my favorite. It’s an organic Danish line, and the shadow is creamy, so it doesn’t crease. When it blends out, it still looks great, and it lasts pretty long. Four of my girlfriends have bought it on my recommendation. When I want something a little more metallic, I like Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Loose Color. It’s good for night, if I want to step it up. And I had an amazing CK One eyebrow pencil that I just lost. I loved it because it wasn’t waxy; it was dry, so my eyebrows weren’t sticky. For my lips and cheeks, I just got Kjaer Weis Cream Blush in Desired Glow as a gift. It’s beautiful on the lips, very matte. I’ve only had it for a few weeks, but I really like it and it comes in such beautiful packaging.

I love my freckles, so I don’t ever want to cover them up. I’ve stopped using powder completely. I even like seeing different tones in the skin—I think it’s charming to have an imperfect canvas. I'll cover up redness around my nose and on my chin occasionally with MAC Mineralize Concealer, but wearing powder makes me feel a little like a doll.

Since I don’t wear much makeup, I usually wash my face with water. I have very easy skin—I rarely have breakouts or anything. I only wash my face with soap at night when I’ve been wearing makeup, in which case I’ll use Clinique Liquid Facial Soap, Mild. It’s a little harsher on my skin than what I used to use—Sisley Cleansing Milk with Sage, which I liked better, because it was so gentle. After I wash my face, I spray on La Mer's The Mist. It’s very fancy! I’ve never been able to afford La Mer, because everything costs $500, but the mist is only $70 and lasts a while. It’s moisturizing, and not too heavy—I don’t want to wear anything heavy at night. Then, for my eyes I use Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye. It’s a super old-school cream, but it smooths the skin—I really think it works. For daytime, I moisturize with a Danish organic cream called Rudolph Care Açai Anti-Ageing Facial Moisturizer. And on my body, I use Jurlique Rose Body Oil.

My favorite perfumes are from D.S. & Durga. I prefer scents that are subtle and intelligent—Coriander isn’t particularly perfume-y. It smells sentimental, more like a place than a person or a thing. You know how you sometimes smell a perfume and think, "This smells like someone I know..."? Well, Coriander is more abstract and kind of summery. Poppy Rouge is more wintery, but still very soft. It smells like pillows and winter.

For beauty, and for my career, what’s important to me is that I’m not trying to fit into a format. I refuse to manufacture success. If I blow up at some point, it’s because that’s how it should be. If I never blow up, I’m not going to cry. That’s why I’m on an indie label, on indie radio stations and doing so many things myself. I’ve been trying to grow my music in a slow, natural way, to see what happens. So far, that's been going really well. I like having creative control."

—as told to ITG

Oh Land photographed by Emily Weiss in Brooklyn, New York on September 20, 2013.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • http://lescontemplatrices.com/ Valentina Novo

    I LOVE her hair!!!

  • http://diamondsandpebbles.wordpress.com/ Alice

    i love oh land so much! her voice is AMAZING!!

  • L

    Lova Oh Land! One of my favorite Top Shelf's!

  • Alexandria

    LOVE Oh Land! She has been my Dane-crush for years. Emily, thank you for making me the happiest person right now. Sending some Chi love out to ya xx

  • Lulu

    Love this so much! She has a refreshingly different notion of beauty than many of the Top Shelf subjects on the site

  • http://caryrandolph.tumblr.com caryrandolph

    "I even like seeing different tones in the skin—I think it’s charming to have an imperfect canvas." -- SUCH a good statement to kickstart an imperfect Monday. Oh Land seems as lovely as her voice. xxCRF

  • Loren Scutt

    This cheered me up so much today. OBSESSED with her! Thanks for the Top Shelf, ITG!

  • Katherine

    Love her carefree outlook on life, so great.

    http://classicinchicago.blogspot.com

  • Kaja

    Do Lolita Jacobs TopShelf, ITG you know you can

  • Androbel

    well she is gorgeous!

    Xo,
    Belen

    http://www.androbelinsider.blogspot.com :)

  • Jane T.

    Amen on YSL Babydoll -- I have it in black and brown and it rocks! Plus, the packaging is totally gorgeous, and that's always a good look. Wish I had the guts to try the fun hair colors!

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    ITG, thank your for answering prayers! Nanna has been at the tip-top of my list in terms of Top Shelf candidates, and here she is.
    I started listening to Oh Land when I was maybe 12 or so and nothing has changed, which is to say she's still one of my favorite artists ever. Her lyrics and witty, clever, wise, but along with the melodies and that beautiful voice, they are dreamy and accessible and real -- all in one (was that even a sentence?). In every interview, article, video, anything I have ever watched/read, she seems so down to earth and wonderful.
    As for her makeup (or lack thereof), the look is great. I love what she's done in the past, say, 6-12 months with the colorful hair. What she is saying about sort of breaking free from the very rigid beauty norms of the ballet world is fascinating. And how great to see it on a woman! Usually that sort of rebellion is associated with a teen but due to the timing of ballet, etc, she is really embodying that notion of being quirky and experimenting no matter what age.
    As for her natural beauty and style, there's really no need to elaborate. She is simply stunning and her style simply colorful, unique, quirky.
    The last paragraph really resonated with me because I think, in many ways, we are missing that sort of patience in the music industry and in many other industries. Everyone wants everything now, now, now. But in reality -- especially in dealing with art and emotions -- things often take time.
    If you're reading this Nanna, I just want to say that your music -- and consequently you -- have guided me through a large chunk of my life thus far. You are such a role model and thanks for standing up for Girl Power (Renaissance Girls, yeah!). Keep creating beautiful things. I've yet to get to a live show, but boy(grrrl?) is that my goal.

  • Bridget

    ...Smells like pillows and winter... Beautiful.

  • Stephanie Smith

    Really like her outlook on beauty. I'm going to check out her music.

    • ITGLacey

      Her song Sun of a Gun is great—the video is amazing, too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWRi7gDYjVY

      • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

        I highly recommend all of her music! I've recently been listening to a lot of songs off of her debut Album, Fauna. And of course, I can't stop singing "Renaissance Girls" off of her current album. All 3 albums are masterpieces, really, making oh Land in circulation on the 'Pod all the time.

  • Nina

    SOOO excited and proud to see a fellow Dane on ITG! Oh Land is beautiful and talented, I wish her all the best.

  • Alessa

    Oh Land, can I be your renaissance girl? =^.^=
    Love this Top Shelf! Nanna is so sweet and inspirational! ♥

    She has very interesting beauty conceptions! Made me think a lot!
    Hey! Can I ask something? Could you do a Top Shelf with Tennessee Thomas? She is wonderful! Would be a great The Top Shelf too.

  • AsphodelJones

    I love this Top Shelf, particularly the part about being bored with trying to be conventionally pretty.

  • Kiri Yanchenko

    I really love Nanna - she's such a sweetie. I met her in Sydney just recently! http://www.fashionblender.com.au/blog/2013/11/5/georg-jensen-dinner-quay-restaurant-sydney

  • Melody

    I Looove Oh Land! So refreshing to see her on here! She may think she hasn't "blown up" but she's definitely been on my radar for a long time!

  • Ross CMR

    Oh Land and MO should tour togehter!

PRODUCTS MENTIONED

Urban Outfitters
Manic Panic Classic Cream Hair Dye
Colorsmash
Colorsmash Hair Shadow – Rags to Riches
Colorsmash
Colorsmash Hair Shadow – St Martini
KEVIN.MURPHY
Kevin Murphy Color Bug
Christophe Robin
Christophe Robin Antioxidant Conditioner
Christophe Robin
Christophe Robin Lavender Oil
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent Babydoll Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara
CHANEL
LA LIGNE DE CHANEL Professional Eyeliner Duo
Tromborg
Tromborg Professional Makeup’s Creamy Lip Cheek and Eye Powder
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Loose Colour Concentrate
Ck One Color
Calvin Klein Brow Pencil + Gel Duo
KJAER WEIS
Kjaer Weis Desired Glow
MAC
MAC ‘Mineralize’ Concealer
Clinique
Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Mild
Sisley-Paris
Sisley Paris Cleansing Milk with Sage
La Mer
La Mer 'The Mist'
Estee Lauder
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye
Rudolph
Rudolph Facial Moisturizer
Jurlique
Jurlique Rose Body Oil
D.S. & Durga
D.S. & Burga Coriander Eau De Parfum
D.S. & Durga
D.S & Durga Poppy Rouge Eau De Parfum
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