If you’re wondering why Laurence Nerbonne titled her third album OMG, it’s because “oh my god” became the Montreal singer-songwriter-producer’s most used expression throughout 2020, due to the many surprises the year had in store. It was initially supposed to be an EP to accompany her tour for 2019’s FEU, but it ended up becoming a longer project due to the homebound nature of the pandemic. But not only did it give her more time to work on music, it also altered the former Hôtel Morphée lead singer’s creative process. “I could allow myself to experiment more in terms of composition and lyrics,” she tells Apple Music. “Because of lockdown, I went for happier atmospheres and subjects than I usually would. I didn’t really feel like adding to the heaviness we were all feeling.” Here she walks through the ups and downs of a year rendered into song. Work “This song talks about my solo career, about the fact that I can manage my professional life however I want and not be concerned with the expectations of other people. I’ve always worked hard to get where I am today. Dedicating myself totally to my art is a super important value for me. I also address, in a humorous way, the fact that some people try to put a label on my style of music, but at the end of the day, I just do what I feel like. I’m in the driver’s seat!” Porto Rico “Right in the middle of the pandemic, I felt like traveling, seeing people, and partying. I just simply wanted to have some fun! That’s what I talk about on this track where, with a little self-mockery, I put myself in the shoes of someone who’s attracted to money and success and goes overboard taking advantage of life. Musically, it’s also a little hats off to Puerto Rico’s trap and reggaetón scene.” Uber (feat. Tizzo) “It’s a collaboration with Tizzo, a rapper from the street scene with an amazing imagination and sense of humor. What we say in the song is that we’d like to invite all those haters out there on social media to a party, because we’re not scared of them, and that basically we believe that love will finally triumph. I always try to take the path of empathy rather than pass judgment.” Kawasaki “I composed most of the beats on this album, but for this track I asked DJ Domeno to take charge. What he sent me immediately made me feel like getting up and dancing. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to compose the lyrics in French, because French is less suited to this type of music; it was a wonderful challenge. Managing to do trendy pop in my own language hasn’t always been easy, but for me it’s still a priority.” Première ministre “This one was composed during a writing workshop I attended in Paris. I was in a team with two guys, and right away I told them I felt like doing something hip-hop with quite heavy beats. We came up with this idea that I’d be the prime minister. When we played it for the other participants, everyone flipped out!” One Love “Personally, I think this is the song that has the best chance of becoming a hit. It talks about loving one another, showing empathy, putting a stop to the divisions both on social media and in life, about the past year that’s been really hard. It’s my reaction to an overload, a call for us to love each other despite everything.” OMG “It’s also the expression of an overload, but in a different sense. I depict lots of situations that made me say ‘OMG’: the whole of 2020 and the wave of denunciations. It’s still lighthearted, a bit funny, and especially not moralizing. I’m really proud of the beat on this track, which is somewhere between pop and hip-hop. Although it’s minimalist, it’s got a super cool groove.” Friendzone “It’s a pop song with R&B accents that talks about falling in love with someone and wanting that person to come out of the ‘friendzone.’ It’s one of my favorites for the production and the melody. It’s very summertime—light and romantic. I picture myself listening to it while I’m driving in the sunshine.” Wet Dreams “In this slightly cheeky ode to freedom, I talk of a one-night stand, of the story of a girl who decides to take control of her sexuality and who intends to experience it to the fullest without feeling bad or humiliated. I find we’re always self-conscious about making these kinds of songs. A few years ago, I heard a song in which Pierre Lapointe talks about sexuality and he did so beautifully, and I thought to myself I should do the same one day.” Alright “On this one, I tried to express that feeling of living in the moment, of being intoxicated by friendship, good times, and freedom. It’s a song that I think is comforting given the pandemic we’ve been through and that cut us off from one another. To emphasize this impression, I went for bubbly rhythms, minimalist textures, and a warm, enveloping bass.” High “I refer to the state of being ‘high’ in every sense of the word, whether it’s from smoking weed, accomplishing something, or being in love. To illustrate this state of mind, I give a little nod to a painting by Magritte where the blue sky and clouds are conducive to letting go and daydreaming, to taking refuge in a kind of bubble of happiness and not letting anything whatsoever get to you. At the very end, you can hear Patrick Watson on piano, which further strengthens that feeling of floating.” Queens “It’s my most defiant track. It deals with being a woman and having to carve out a place for yourself in a predominantly male profession. Regardless of their field, women should be able to feel confident about their abilities. People criticize me in a way that guys don’t get criticized, and it’s the same for a lot of female artists. I wanted to express my resolve that things will change.”

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