Last fall, Ouri shared her blood with us, but not only that. On her new EP, We Share Our Blood, she gives herself to us whole, through her raw, lively R&B rhythms, while her electronic melodies make us dance, footloose and fancy-free.
For that new production, one thing mattered to her more than anything else: transmitting her art from her mind to ours. “I started out sporadically, left and right,” she explains. “I didn’t know I was writing an EP. Sometimes, when you’re composing, everything is fine, but you still feel like everything is off. Happens to me often. But in this case, the direction was clear.” Ouri’s goal was simple: She wanted everything to be more direct.
She has chosen to go it alone in her quest for artistic meaning. She rented microphones, compressors, everything she needed, and dove in head-first. “I needed that,” she says. “I needed to feel I had no obligation to try and please someone. I asked people for their opinion, notably the mix engineer, but otherwise, I truly wanted this project to be nothing but me.”
What had to come out at that point was a vague mix of emotions felt at the end of a long period of waiting and doubting. “I’m super-emotional,” she admits. “My art is totally devoid of any politics. It does have a lot of conscious hope, however, and naiveté, too.”
Born in France, Ouri has adopted Montréal as her home, but sees the city both as a blank canvas and a huge hurdle. “Montréal is a double-edged sword right now,” she says. “There’s a positive discrimination towards my music because of the colour of my skin, yet I regularly hear negative stuff about the work of women in the electro genre,” she says. She does admit that, when she was younger, she thought it was impossible that a woman could do what she does now. “I’ve had two lovers during the seven years I’ve been here,” she adds. “It gave me roots here. Now that I’m single, I have a few projects that keep me going, but nothing that holds me back.”
In all contexts, Ouri wishes to hold her own, and be her own spokesperson. During the Festival de Musique Émergente, in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, where she performed during the Electro Nights, a delegate from France really didn’t like what she was playing, and wanted to talk about it with her on the next day. “The next day, I felt the people around me weren’t willing to tell it like it is,” she says. “My manager wanted to prevent me from talking to him. Everyone thought I was going to take things personally. I told the guy I wasn’t at his service. There’s something for everyone. You’re welcome to look elsewhere. I’m a grown woman.”
She’s still convinced that the support she gets is some kind of facade that legitimizes what she does, even though she’s ready and willing to go to bat herself. “I was mean and I was PMSing, too,” she says laughing.
On her new EP, Ouri sings, after being spurred on by friends to do so. She took Indian singing classes. “I wanted to use my voice, and in classical Indian singing, everyone has their register, their central note,” she explains. “It’s really high-level, but all tones of voice are possible, and each is as valuable as the others. I have to practise to get a result I like, but I’m no opera singer, either.”
Electro music is part of Ouri’s life ,like any other life experience. “I want to re-acquaint myself with the cello, which I used to play a lot,” she says. “I’m not sure how yet. Maybe I’ll release an acoustic project.” She says she got tendonitis from playing her keyboards so much. “The cello is the opposite, I hug it and we vibrate together,” she says. “It’s physical. The experience is completely different. I never know where my hands will feel like going.”