We managed to catch up with OURAA on her recent collaboration with their friend, fellow BIMM London graduate, and Lithuania’s Eurovision Song Contest entrant, Monika Linkyte.
Hey, my name is OURAA, and I’m a singer-songwriter, normally making music in the lanes of R&B, afro-swing, and pop. There’s always some gospel, and jazz, too. Sometimes, I jump between different genres; I like to say I’m a pick ‘n’ mix artist.
During my time as an undergraduate, I was studying the Creative Musicianship course; I think I was the last of the batch to study that before it changed to Professional Musicianship. I graduated in 2019.
How important is it to work with people from different places with different backgrounds?
I feel like it’s really important to collaborate with people from different places and backgrounds. It’s all about networking, really. Speaking to people that perhaps you wouldn’t normally speak to.
It’s about building those relationships and using them to help yourself grow, whilst helping others do the same thing. It’s about building something strong. You never know who you’re going to meet or how you might have an impact on them, and vice versa.
How was it to be asked to collaborate with Monika for her Eurovision performance?
When Monika asked me to collaborate with her for Eurovision, I was really confused; I felt like it was so random. But honestly, Monika’s been my girl for ages so, obviously, I was like, “YEAH! I will definitely help you with this.”
I began in my home recording studio, adding a few more layers to some choir parts that she had recorded. Then she asked me to do backing vocals for her and, of course, I said yes. I helped her find a team for the Lithuanian Eurovision application process; everything really started kicking off in January.
We were in and out of Lithuania, competing against the biggest names from Lithuania, and we didn’t know where we stood at times. There was some strong competition, but we were just as strong. It was really exciting – I’ve never been a part of something like that.
It was like X-Factor, finding out who would represent Lithuania. It all felt like a blur. From January to the end of May, when we finally competed in Liverpool, it felt like we were living in a movie.
It was only once I was in the middle of that experience that I realised the scale of Eurovision. It means so much to so many people. It was a beautiful experience and I’m so grateful to Monika for the invite. I am so blessed to call Monika one of my good friends.
What have you been up to since the Eurovision performance?
Since Eurovision, I’ve decided to leave my job. I’ve been doing music full-time for a little while now. I’ve been so focused on my music and have recently got management.
This year, I was close to stopping music entirely; I felt like I was at a standstill, it was taxing financially, but glory to God, I found management. Or, more so, management found me. I’ve got more structure in my life now, and I’ve been working hard on music and having lots of meetings.
I’ve just released a few new singles, so that’s exciting. I have an EP coming out at the start of next year. I also just featured on Nines’ Crop Circle 3, so there’s a lot happening right now. It’s mad to think I was about to give all this up. It’s been such a beautiful, overwhelming year.