It is important to mention that Gurli Octavia not only wrote all music and lyrics for her debut album“I Could Be Blossoming Instead”, but also produced (or co-produced) each song and mixed a few. In that sense, she is fully responsible for the outcome, from the beginning to the end. It gave Gurli Octavia the power to make something that is truly hers, and you can hear it. There are not many records as personal and real, while also mesmerizing and dreamlike at the same time.
“I Could Be Blossoming Instead” is a musical equivalent of reading a great novel where the narrator looks at events from above and reports as they happen. There are many emotions, they are described very powerfully but, at the same time, you feel like there is an invisible wall of time and perspective between the Gurli Octavia and her stories. At some point of listening to this record, I found myself replacing her in the role of the narrator. The songs are written so personally and leave Gurli Octavia so vulnerable, they soaked into my soul and made me feel as if this was an album about my life, about something that happened to me. I could feel exactly what Gurli Octavia sings about. Just like a tremendously well-written novel, “I Could Be Blossoming Instead” breaks the wall between the author and the listener and makes them one for a while.
Even though “I Could Be Blossoming Instead” is Gurli Octavia’s debut album, she isn’t an entirely new face in the Danish music scene. She has released three EPs already; the first one, “Philophobia”, in 2017. This gave her the experience and certainty of how she wants to shape her music that we hear on the LP. Each song flows smoothly and is thought-through to the smallest detail. Guitar is at the core of Gurli Octavia’s music, but on the album you can hear a full band, as well as strings and even an occasional trumpet. The songs unveil layer after layer starting with guitar, which made me think of a blossoming flower. Sinéad O’Connor and Fiona Apple distantly echo throughout “I Could Be Blossoming Instead” but Gurli Octavia presents her own take on the acoustic/singer-songwriter style, adding a majestic pop spin to the melodies and vocals. This record combines the vibe of an indie act with stadium-filling star stamina. Like, you know, if Gurli Octavia was Lady Gaga’s character from the beginning of “A Star Is Born”, just in real life. I think her songs have the same potential.
A few moments on the album feel like pure magic. One of them is a 2019 live recording of “Most Of All” from Atlas in Aarhus. All of a sudden, we are moved to an intimate concert. At the same time, this performance could be played for thousands. There is a power of an anthem in the song.
“I Could Be Blossoming Instead” is an album about painful emotions. It is written by a person who has experienced a lot of pain in life and described it on a deeply personal level in music. Simultaneously, it is an album about emotions we all experience to some degree. The power of music lets us identify with it. However, not every artist delivers music that enables us to do so in such a graceful and smooth way.
Gurli Octavia undoubtedly has the potential to be the next great musical poet. Though her music is intimate, I can easily imagine dancing to songs like “We Leave the Night Young” or “X-Ray” with a big audience at a festival, singing along and waving my hands, feeling a part of the concert community.
Gurli Octavia is a star in the making. Her maturity, deep emotional perception and ability to translate feelings into music make “I Could Be Blossoming Instead” a multidimensional and truly wonderful experience. I am happy that there are still artists who dare to release longer records. Please, treat this album with kindness and patience, go through it from the first to the last song. You will find yourself coming back to it over and over again, as you do with your favourite book.