Premiere: The Ethereal Ebb & Flow of De Joie’s Poignant “Oslo (Holly’s Song)”

De Joie © 2020
De Joie © 2020
Nashville singer/songwriter De Joie captures the loss of a beloved friend in “Oslo (Holly’s Song),” a hauntingly bittersweet, fragile, and tender song.
Stream: “Oslo (Holly’s Song)” – De Joie




Music is so much more than entertainment: It’s a means of encapsulating a moment in time, or a feeling in its prime. It’s one more way we can enshrine life’s meaningful highlights, superseding our fickle memories with something a little more reliable and timeless: Forever freezing, for posterity and continuity, our loved ones and that which matters most to us. Nashville singer/songwriter De Joie captures the loss of a beloved friend in “Oslo (Holly’s Song),” a hauntingly bittersweet, fragile, and tender song.

Oslo (Holly's Song) - De Joie
Oslo (Holly’s Song) – De Joie
Can you hear me say ‘I love you’ from across the sea?
Can you hear me whisper to you in my dreams?
Well, the weather is fine here in Oslo
We’re about to jump on a plane to the west coast
There’s a view we can’t miss
I wouldn’t dream of it
There’s a view we can’t miss
I wouldn’t dream of it

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Oslo (Holly’s Song),” a reworking of De Joie’s 2017 single “Oslo.” The musical project of Florida-born, Nashville-based Kaley Rutledge, De Joie echoes the ‘folktronic’ undulations of artists like Dustin Tebbutt, Phoebe Bridgers, Gordi, and Luca Fogale. Her latest release is a particularly expansive, heartwarming overhaul of sound and sentiment.

De Joie © 2020
De Joie © 2020

Produced by her longtime producer and collaborator Jeremiah Dunlap, “Oslo (Holly’s Song)” transforms a minimalist Rhodes piano ballad into a cinematic, sweeping enchantment. De Joie’s chorus is a particularly moving emotional highlight:

I was born to be wild and free
Traipsing the coast line of some craggy beach
Go on and tell ‘em I’m in good company
Wild & free

“One of the reasons I started songwriting was to remember,” De Joie tells Atwood Magazine. “Instead of a diary, my catalog of songs over the last 12 years serve as windows into my past. “Oslo” is a window whoʼs scenery only continues to grow more prophetic and in a sense, more timeless, even as years have passed since I first penned it down. When I wrote “Oslo”, I wrote it in the form of a narrative letter, keeping as closae to the actual events of my travels as possible. For example, my friend and I were told by folks we met in Oslo that we “had to see the west coast” and decided to buy a ticket to Stavanger for the next morning. I was in the best of company, enchanted by the fjords and landscape of Norway and found myself very much in love with a country that quickly felt like home.”

“Though “Oslo” was a personal page of my own diary, I have been humbled at how deeply others have connected with the track. One of those people was my good friend Holly. Holly made the song her Summer 2020 anthem and often told me how much it spoke to her. Tragically, Holly took her life only a few short months ago. The devastation and grief experienced by all of us who loved her has shaped and changed us forever. As a way to honor her, I collaborated with my producer, Jeremiah Dunlap, to create a new version of the original “Oslo” now released as “Oslo (Hollyʼs Song)”. I shared the story of her life with Jeremiah and the impact that she had on my life. I wanted this new version to reflect both the joy and sorrow surrounding her life. I wanted it to reflect the beauty of her days spent as well as the grief of the days lost. My favorite part of the track is the improvised piano outro at the very end. When I hear the piano and squeak of the chair, I feel that I am in the room with Holly. The intimacy felt brings me to tears almost every time I listen to it. My hope is that this track would be a safe place to grieve and reflect. That it would bring hope to those who suffer and struggle with mental illness and bring solace to those who have lost others through suicide.”

Can you hear me say, ‘I love you’ from these far away places?
All these wide open spaces seem to heal me
There’s a view we can’t miss
I wouldn’t dream of it
There’s a view we can’t miss
I wouldn’t dream of it
De Joie © 2020
De Joie © 2020

Producer Jeremiah Dunlap shares his perspective on reimagining “Oslo” as a tribute and musical memorial. “Kaley walked me through Hollyʼs tragic story before we began production on the new version,” he explains. “I never got the chance to meet Holly, but I felt like I had a connection to her after hearing from Kaley how important the original version of Oslo was to her. I started working on the music for the new version of the song immediately after hanging up the phone with Kaley. I muted all the instruments except for Kaleyʼs lead vocals and played piano underneath her original vocal performance. The song was originally driven by a nylon acoustic guitar, and I had never played the song on piano before recording the first take. When the final chorus ended, I still felt stuck in the moment, so I thought about Hollyʼs story and kept playing. The piano heard throughout the song and ending is the first and only take I recorded.”

“The final instrumental movement of the song is about Holly. Hollyʼs story ended too early, and Iʼm sure those close to her still feel an unresolved tension about her departure, so I left the final chord open and unresolved. I hope wherever she is, she knows that she made an impact on the art that impacted her.”

I was born to be wild and free
Traipsing the coast line of some craggy beach
Go on and tell ‘em I’m in good company
Wild & free
De Joie © 2020
De Joie © 2020

Sure, sometimes music is a means of entertainment; it can be so many things to different people. In the case of “Oslo (Holly’s Song),” De Joie’s music transcends the everyday to become an extraordinary time capsule immortalizing and memorializing her dear friend. May her memory forever be a blessing.

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Stream: “Oslo (Holly’s Song)” – De Joie



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Oslo (Holly's Song) - De Joie

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