My tendency lately has been to shy away from artists and songs labelled “pop.” It’s sad, because I really do like pop music, but real, good pop songs are becoming few and far between, diluted by songs using this formulaic “music for the masses” equation, and it’s hard to stay sane when you could’ve sworn you’ve heard this song already, over, and over, and over.
The first time I heard Ofelia K’s debut single, “White T-Shirt,” it was purely accidental, I was (dangerously) crusading straight through Hype Machine’s “Freshest” Tracks and boom, there it was. And from that first pluck of the guitar, and the softly, almost whispered, first lyrics, “Come, closer,” I was hooked.
Ofelia K started making waves first with “White T-Shirt,” and then her next two releases, “As A Bell,” and “Gone” solidified her status as a “viral” artist. In what could have been another campy, conventional slew of pop songs, Ofelia K instead has treated us to something completely and unexpectedly beautiful. Her songs are soft-spoken, never too intrusive, borderline twee. It’s the bold, simple lyricism, and a polished, gentle pop sheen that pull her music back out into the realm of real artistry.
I was more than enthralled a while back to hear that Ofelia K was opening for Tei Shi at The Roxy in West Hollywood, a show I had already purchased tickets for (isn’t it great when that happens!?). We were treated with a fiercely authentic live performance; a little edgier than her recordings would suggest, it was easy to see how passionate she is about her music. We heard a few new songs, which we loved, and of course she sang the crowd “favorites,” closing with “White T-Shirt.” I awkwardly and briefly met her after the show was over, where, over the loud hustle and bustle of the venue emptying, I think she thanked me for this and that, and I thanked her basically for being awesome (I really didn’t think through what I actually wanted to say), and we went our own ways. She has since been kind enough to answer some questions for me via email, so on behalf of The Sundaze, we’d like to present to you, Ofelia K!
Ok, so first off, let’s talk about your background. Where are you from, where have you been (have you moved, did you go to college, where are you now, etc.), and do you think all of these places have had an impact on you musically? If so, how?
I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, but also spent some time living in Georgia and South Carolina. Went to college in Portland, Maine…the winters were very long and much of my time was spent holed up in my apartment playing guitar and writing music. I played shows all over the state, and learned how to be in recording studios and play with other musicians. From there I moved to Los Angeles, which is such an exciting place for creativity and collaboration. Now I live in a little canyon outside the city called Box Canyon.
Have you always wanted to be a musician? What was the earliest moment you can remember thinking, “I just want to play music?” And what inspired that moment?
Pretty much. Music has always been something I love in a very intense way. I’ve always kept poetry journals and sang melodies, but getting my first guitar at 15 was really special because it allowed me to put full songs together and I became very obsessed with songwriting. I haven’t stopped since and haven’t had a back up plan.
You’ve opened for some fantastic artists at some of the most famous venues in LA, what is your dream headline venue, or when do you think you’ll be able to say, “I made it”?
The Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown LA is a magical place, would love to play there someday.
What, or who, is playing on your shuffle right now? Who’s your latest obsession/dream collaboration?
“Past Lives” by BØRNS, Alex Winston’s new EP, Modest Mouse’s new album. Also, recently have re-kindled my love for Soko’s song “I’ll Kill Her”. A collaboration with Devendra Banhart or Conor Oberst would be fun.
I came across an article where you described yourself as a cat person, what do you think that says about you? Do you enjoy knocking things off of shelves (it’s ok to say yes)? Do you have a cat? If so, what’s its name (or if you were to get one, what would you name it)?
Oh man, yes, cats. A topic I enjoy very much. They are majestic creatures and I think everyone can learn a lot from them. I have two, Langston and Luna. Cat people are my favorite because they’re low key, they do what they want and don’t need constant approval and validation. It’s always exciting to meet a fellow cat fanatic.
If you could play live with any artists, in any year, at any venue, who, when, and where?
Spice Girls – 1997!
And finally, when can we expect your highly anticipated EP (so we can all add it to the countdowns on our phone), and what do you want everyone to know about you and your music?
We’ve been releasing the EP single by single, so sometime next month we’ll release the last song to complete the EP. I’ve also gone back into the studio full time and am working on a new body of work to release next year. And a music video for “White T-Shirt” is in the works, too. I’m ready for action!