There is something deliciously sweet about Jakob Ogawa’s voice, and from the moment he and his band stepped onto Songbyrd’s stage on August 10, the music began to flow. All the way from Norway, Ogawa is touring in the U.S. for the first time.
The combination of his sultry voice and inexplicably catchy synthesizer along with a hook-based bassline creates his atmospheric sound. Some bedroom pop artists do not necessarily hold up post-production, but the instrumentals created by guitarist Georg Minos, bassist Axel Øksby, drummer Lauritz Kaasa and keyboardist Oscar Valland Lund are catchy and blissful. Not to mention Ogawa’s perfect tonality.
And though he has only released a few EPs, Ogawa’s fans keep going back for more. The most recent single, “All I Wanna Do,” leans into a bouncing bassline and features his obviously provocative lyrics while still maintaining a boyish innocence. One of the best parts about Ogawa’s emotive lyrics is that though they do not make the listener think deeply, they absolutely yank at their heartstrings.
On stage, he towered over his (also tall) bandmates, swinging his arms back and forth in a contagiously goofy dance. There were a few streaks of light glitter under his eyes, and as someone from the audience complimented it, he broke into a smile. “Oscar has some too!” he said gleefully, pointing to the keyboardist who beamed, stood up and waved. Ogawa has the most infectious stage presence. He is a prime example of how easy it is to interact with a crowd when you really love your music.
“You Might Be Sleeping,” one of his most popular songs, features Clairo on the vocals. While performing, he turned the microphone around on the audience, who gladly sang along to the higher lyrics. “And in the morning you might be here / You might be sleeping without a care / And in the morning I’ll be here / You might be dreaming, play with your hair,” he sang, eyes shut until the last lyric when he turned to an audience member and winked.
Though their set was short, as they have not released many songs, they threw in a cover of “Hey Ya” by Outkast. There was not one moment during the whole set that Ogawa and the rest of the band did not seem endlessly grateful.
Photo credit: Jakob Ogawa on Songbyrd’s stage. Photo by Anjali DasSarma.