Remembering Nadia Oh
In 2011, something amazing happened when a woman seemingly came out of nowhere (at least if you weren’t aware of her previous ‘work’) and released one of the weirdest songs of the year, an ode to the swag of Kate Middleton, titled “Taking Over The Dancefloor” and released in time for the royal wedding. Nadia Oh had taken it upon herself to introduce the house-reggaeton fusion genre/absolute racket of moombahton to a pop audience and this was her way of doing it, by repeating the word moombahton again and again over a dance beat. The song had more autotune than you could throw a disco stick at and sounded like the music had been composed by a bunch of women on a hen night, blowing on Anne Summers willy whistles and toy trumpets. Her lyrics weren’t much better either:
Don Julio Patron
We get it poppington
Up in the clubbington
We we we Kate Middleton SWAG
We we we swagginton
Don Julio Patron
You wouldn’t catch Wordsworth making up nonsensical words by adding suffixes to make them rhyme with the name of the Queen-to-be, but Nadia’s doing so just made the whole thing more absurdly endearing. Despite everything about it being 100% awful, there was something oddly compelling about it. You could imagine Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge going into the club at Saint Andrews’ student union, showing her swaggington and telling Prince William to throw his wallet in the sky. It sounds like the kind of scene you would expect to see in the American dramatic retelling of their relationship that was broadcast on TV around the time of the wedding. Imagine if they had had Taking Over the Dancefloor as their first dance? It’s pretty unlikely though, William probably hates moombahton. What started off as listening to TOTD as a joke, became so much more when, one day, one of my housemates expressed their dislike of the song, which made me play it more. It was then brought to my attention that it was also a brilliant way to wind up somebody with a hangover, and soon became a feature on all playlists from then on.
Another thing that made Nadia Oh such an enigmatic character was her online presence. Her music videos are as short as possible, with Taking Over the Dancefloor only lasting a minute and a half, compared to the six-minute epic on the album. In the video she just stands there with her hand on her hip while the misspelt karaoke lyrics pop up along the bottom. The images from the video look like they’ve been made up on MS paint and the music itself isn’t exactly world class, but strangest of all, producer Space Cowboy, who produced the whole album (and the one before that (!!)) worked with Lady Gaga on several tracks from her first two albums, yet Nadia Oh seems to be the one he has taken under his wing as his protégée. Another of her music videos, Jump Out The Window sees the music constantly interrupted as a mystery voice asks Nadia questions and she replies with short-as-possible answers (“Who’s your favourite band?” ‘JLS, they’re cute! Lol!’).
In the video for second, and even better, single ‘No Bueno’, (“He knows his lines like Taran-Tarantino”) Nadia parades around with her hand on her hip in numerous T-shirts quoting her other songs. A lot of the time she references her own ‘oeuvre’, as if she’s in on the joke. She continues this trend on Twitter, where she has sadly been a bit quiet recently, last reminding us that it was ‘Halloween #VampireNight’. At the end of every tweet she posts, she adds a hash tag quoting one of her own songs or lyrics, such as “Trying 2 get addicted 2 tweeting #NoBueno lol;)!”, “Happy Bank Holiday UK, hope it’s a #Slapper(Ayye) lol;)!”, “Studio 2day in London #CosIAmBasedInLondon lol;)!”. As you can see from those nice little examples, she’s also very fond of emoticons and saying ‘lol!’, like a 13 year old girl. That last hash tag is a reference to another of her lyrics, where she sings the beautiful line “The girls they call me London, cos I am based in London.” That line is also followed by “I am so cold, I make the boys froze, they wanna know my digits, but they are ‘fqn’ midgets’. So deep.
This little bit of information is about as good as it gets for any insight into who Nadia actually is/was. She must surely have a real job that funds this musical endeavour, unless she’s just living off a huge inherited fortune. There’s very little proof that Nadia Oh is actually a real person and not just one of these very realistic Japanese robots, but then there’s also a video of her trying to use chopsticks in a restaurant and failing completely, so that’s probably not the case. She very rarely gives interviews, and when she does, all of her responses are in CAPS LOCKS with the emoticons and the LOLs. In one interview she claims she makes good cupcakes, but then she released a promo video of herself making a cake from a packet mix, which has now been taken down because it presumably gave away too much information and destroyed the illusion.
The beauty of the whole thing was that Nadia Oh seemed to be self aware, unlike some of the hapless young pop things these days who get dragged into the game with the promise of riches. Nadia seemed to be in on the joke and committed to keeping this robot-like image alive. But then when you see her standing around staring into the sky, or trying to cut up her dinner with a pair of chopsticks, you can’t help wondering if she would even be capable of dressing herself in her Hot Like Wow T-shirts.
Since the digital-only release of the album ‘Colours’, Nadia has only released one more single, the not exactly beautifully titled ‘Slapper (ayye)’, which featured a heavy and irritating sample of On a Ragga Tip and another (but this time full-length) video of her standing around, hands on hips. There was discussion of her releasing a mix tape (who isn’t releasing a mix tape these days?) but then that never came to fruition, so I can only assume that all the parties involved in the whole ‘Nadia Oh’ joke got bored and moved on. Luckily they left behind a moombahton legacy that won’t be matched for a while to come, I’m sure.
All together now: Bueno, bueno, oh no! No bueno, bueno, no, no!