One to watch: Otta

Jude Rogers
·1-min read

Otta is a Finnish-British singer-songwriter from south London whose electronic pop songs are bright, sharp and strange. On her new EP, Songbook, they have a compelling DIY fidgetiness about them – hardly surprisingly, given that she records much of her material in her home studio: “a cupboard-under-the-stairs-meets-shed”, she explains, “but still a precious altar”.

Moving to the UK when she was five, Otta first dreamt of being a professional drummer, starting lessons at seven. In her teens, acoustic guitars and Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy inspired her to write songs (she’d do this in her bathroom), and at 16 she won a place at the Brit School, which introduced her to jazz and electronic production. These elements inform her sound now, as do additional details from producer Kwes (Solange, Loyle Corner, Nubya Garcia), who discovered Otta on SoundCloud and signed her to his own label, Bokkle.

Otta’s debut EP, After It All Blew Over, came out in January, its vibe smoky and soulful, as its title suggests. Songbook’s style is much more playful, recalling the club-bound moments of early Björk, as well as new acts such as Jockstrap. On songs like Never See, Otta’s vocals are layered in delicious waterfalls of sound. Radiophonic Workshop-like electronic burbles travel through others, such as Hope Extension and Suihku. The effect is of warm, jittery waves that carry the listener in their swell.

Songbook is out now on Bokkle