''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.