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Ora The Molecule

Led by singer/songwriter Nora Schjelderup, the multinational avant-pop project Ora the Molecule balances sleek synthwave and joyous songwriting. On releases like 2021's Human Safari, the group's wonder-filled, keenly observed, yet danceable songs uphold the traditions of Cocteau Twins, Fleetwood Mac, and Kraftwerk. Born in Norway, Schjelderup spent her childhood in Spain and Italy as well as her homeland. Her family's frequent moves often made her the new kid in school, a role that sharpened her observational skills. She began writing songs when she was eight, and by the time she was 18, she was performing in a marimba trio in Oslo with two other young women. When Schjelderup visited her biological father in Los Angeles, she absorbed his Guatemalan heritage as well as American culture. Fascinated by both, she remained in L.A., studying journalism and working as a driver while writing songs inspired by her family. Eventually, Schjelderup connected with German keyboardist Jan Blumentrath, with whom she played music and started the label Uhh Ahh Records. She also met Sju Smatanova, a Slovakian hat maker who was in the States to showcase her designs; on a whim, Smatanova decided to play drums for Schjelderup's project and bought her first drum kit when she returned to her home base of London. A few years later, the trio moved to a remote Spanish village to focus on Ora the Molecule's music. In 2019, the group self-released the Sugar EP and issued the single "Loose Rock" in 2020. Ora the Molecule's debut album, Human Safari, appeared on Mute in July 2021.
© Heather Phares /TiVo


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