Since her celebrated performance at by:Larm last year, where she was more or less unanimously singled out as the most promising new name, Ingrid Olava has been the cause and object of much public attention in Norway. Being a small country, with an accordingly small musical milieu, word of her special voice, her lovely melodies and not least of her pleasantly shy demeanour, soon reached everyone. Expectations towards her first release have thus been growing steadily for a long time, due in part to the fact that thousands of people have witnessed Ingrid live over a year of extensive touring across the country.
So the case is clear: Ingrid Olava is quite definitely one of the artists we expect the most of in 2008. At first glance she might appear to belong to a somewhat overcrowded category of artists, viz. the fragile female singer-songwriter. But this misconception disappears at a closer look: fragile and female she most certainly is, but both the music and the person arouse a sense of interest and curiosity that is unusual and difficult to pin down and thus all the more intriguing. Perhaps it is due to the kind of tentative aura that surrounds her and permeates her songs, for she is no determined musician who has “finally found her expression.” One gets the feeling rather, that this didn’t have to be music, it could have been written stories or a film perhaps, and therefore that her music is truthful and modest in a special way. The fact that she is telling stories is something she has also emphasised herself, and the whole sense of listening first of all to a personal narrative is of course always intriguing.
She has often won audiences over in solitude; singing and playing a lone piano. And certainly the courage of opting for this format has been important for the impression she has made. One sort of feels the truth of what she has been telling us, that she is “oh so nervous, but must do it alone.”
Now the first taste of her album has been released, and it is very far from stripped down and introvert. Grand sweeps of strings and a lush production (by Madrugada Frode Jacobsen) have taken her already renowned song “Only just begun”, in a new direction. But, crucially the core characteristics are in place, even enhanced some might find: the loosely woven yet strong melody, the surprising shifts in mood and reference and not least her lovely tentative and sometimes broken, voice.
Critics love what they’ve heard, and we are many indeed who look forward to the album debut from this endearingly ill-at-ease and strangely glimmering artist.
Ingrid Olava’s debut album Juliet Wishes will be released by EMI in early march.
Listen to some of the tracks here:sd
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