‘Money’ is a statement-of-intent, an uncompromising synthesis of Garbage’s dark-hued rock/electronica crossover with the bass-heavy zest of contemporary alt-pop. Like Oz herself, ‘Money’ is headstrong, provocative, fierce and never anything less than honest.
‘Money’ was inspired by a friend back home in Croydon, who Oz saw lose her identity in an attempt to appease the posh parents of a new boyfriend. Oz’s sonorous and expressive vocal pulls no punches as she sings, “Now you’ve got money it matters, now you’ve got money it flatters where you came from.”
“‘Money’ is a song that discusses the dangers of the ‘keeping up with the Jones’’ mentality,” explains Oz. “We change so much of ourselves to conform to the western ideals of beauty or success. It sounds so clichéd but what really matters is who you are. Of course people change and grow, that’s what we’re meant to do as human beings. But when you aren’t being true to yourself you’re in dangerous territory. In my experience, it normally leaves you sad and vacant.”
The single is accompanied by a new video, which was directed by Natalie Sakstrup. It compiles a range of elegant monochrome visuals which illustrate Oz’s words and demonstrates the all-pervading power of money.
“Money can be such an uncomfortable subject and especially now in this climate it feels even more contentious,” she adds. “I wanted the visual to make people feel, think and even shiver. I like the idea of keeping a bit of mystery to a project, especially in a world where your physical appearance is under a constant microscope, so I chose not to be in the video at all. I wanted it to stand alone as a piece of art without having my appearance scrutinised.”
‘Money’ is the first taste of Oz’s debut EP which will be released later this year via Truth Records. The EP will further develop the themes that she is innately drawn to: defiance, identity and self-discovery.
Oz has been a songwriter since her early teens, after her father’s passion for music inspired her immersion in the worlds of bold musicians like The Clash, Dolly Parton, No Doubt and Kate Bush. Her fascination with life’s rough edges is surely inspired by her youth spent in her family’s pizzeria in a pre-gentrified Soho. It was one of London’s best-kept secrets: a centrally-located hideaway favoured by actors and musicians along with drag queens, sex workers, go-go dancers and old-school gangsters. People with stories to tell.
Her own story also quickly took shape. Some of Oz’s early demos attracted attention, which resulted in her working with producers and writing songs from just 15-years-old. Oz penned a deal with a music publisher writing for other artists, before a session with Biff Stannard instigated her new direction. Coincidentally, the producer (Ellie Goulding, Kylie, Spice Girls) was already Oz’s near neighbour, living just a street away in Brighton.
As for her choice to record as Oz?
“The part of me that’s Oz is my weirder, more left side,” she explains. “Oz has always been the nutter. She’s my protection but she’s also my freedom — freedom to laugh with my mates in the street at 3am with Red Stripe, wear leather, do crazy 70s makeup, do whatever I like. Oz is the part of me who’s never afraid to be exactly who she wants to be.”