At just 22 years old, the Toulouse singer Öja has just hit hard by releasing a very promising EP whose enigmatic title is: “?”. Supported by two impeccably produced titles, “T’es qui toi?” (brave apostrophe and scathing bass à la Clara Luciani) and “Bouge de là” (which has its eyes more on Chagrin d’Amour – an assumed reference – than MC Solaar), this EP reveals a talent which we can not wait to follow the evolution.
“I grew up in an environment where art was at the center of my education, confides the young woman. My father played the guitar, my mother did theater and singing: I was surrounded by music and culture. I started out by studying piano and classical music, before turning to guitar and more funk, soul and rock sounds. I then spent three years at the School of Rock in Blagnac. After considering studies English and journalism, I enrolled at the Toulouse Conservatory and that’s where, for the first time, I felt at home. “
Justine then becomes Öja: “This term means island and river in Swedish, she explains. I wanted to adopt a literary stage name: the river reflects the passage from one state to another, life to death, by example. I saw it as a beautiful metaphor to reinvent yourself and create a character in its own right. In addition, the color of my hair often suggests that I have Scandinavian origins: an ambiguity with which I wanted to play … “
Öja listens to Catherine Ringer, Dua Lipa, pop from the 80s and 90s and begins to compose and record in MAO (computer-assisted music) in the solitude of his room new songs with powerful grooves. She discovers, by working the French language like a sculptor on her material, that she can express deep and intimate emotions far removed from the all-purpose formulas of her compositions in English ten years earlier. A few doors closed when she sang in the language of the Beatles finally open. No wonder: Öja has a strong personality and things to say: “I’m trying to remember / The last time you let me speak” she says on “Who are you?”
Second degree and self-mockery are never far away, and games of seduction inspire her: “I’m looking for you / At the corner of the bar / You talk too much / I don’t listen to you anymore, it’s crazy”, in “Bouge de là”. Her clips, directed by Marc Valadier (that of “Bouge de là” shows her in the heart of the 7-Deniers stadium, the district where she lives) complete a unique universe that she is eager to unveil on stage: Öja is currently working with a real group of seven musicians. Can’t wait for tomorrow.