A slightly blurry photo of Ogawa smiling in a red shirt, in front of a purple and pink sky.

Music for the Here & Now: Jakob Ogawa

By Keller Bradberry
Music Journalist

Jakob Ogawa, based from Oslo, Norway, has been making romantic indie lo-fi pop tunes since 2016, with his first single “You’ll Be On My Mind.” He has since signed with Playground Music Scandinavia. His young discography consists mainly of short and sweet singles, which fits his creative process and overall vibe very well.

His second and most popular single, “All Your Love,” released in 2017, has been featured on both Comedy Central’s “Broad City” and HBO’s “High Maintenance”. The song has low fidelity, beach rock instrumentals which could be likened to Mac Demarco’s, yet bears more sensuality. These compliment his honey-sweet falsettos wonderfully, creating a warm, nostalgic vibe that wraps itself around the listener, who is probably daydreaming about their crush just listening to it.

The summer of 2017 saw the release of his first album, Bedroom Tapes. An especially sweet tune from the EP is “You Might Be Sleeping,” featuring lo-fi indie pop songwriter, Clairo. The two songbirds sing of a romantic morning and how it washes away the blues. Clairo’s equally dreamy voice duets beautifully with Ogawa’s as they sing “And in the morning I’ll be here, You might be sleeping without a care.”

In an interview with Interview Magazine, he describes his creative process as such: “I don’t want to sit down, make a song and try to perfect it in an ultimate way. I usually just make a tune, record it instantly and stick with it. If I don’t vibe with it, I’ll make another one, and another one…” he said, “the most important thing for me, musically and in everyday life, is to be honest, to be myself, trying to be here in the moment… being here is very important; that’s what I’m trying to do with music.”

Ogawa has demonstrated a refreshingly stripped-back, organic approach in both instrumental and vocal delivery in the five singles he has released since Bedroom Tapes. As compared to the tracks on his debut EP, these singles show less lo-fi processing in production and more well-paced, organic instrumentals. This leaves some great opportunities for Ogawa’s mellifluous falsetto to really shine. This could be influenced by his recent touring experience.

In an interview with Urban Outfitters Television, his support, Nathan Bajar, says, “We’re trying to enhance the vibe Ogawa is going for by bringing a more organic approach to it.” In these recent singles, he seems to use his voice as less of a part of the whole sound and more as the driving factor, which makes the songs more dynamic and emotionally comprehensible.

Both his vocal talent and cordial production shows that he’s an artist that’s capable of conveying emotions effectively. In building the romantic indie vibe which he aims to convey, he understands that less is more in songbuilding. His music paints a picture that has no phone in sight, just people enjoying the moment. In the Urban Outfitters interview, he says, “A lot of stuff happens if you’re in the moment and you feel like you’re connected with the world around you.”

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