Her Own Best “Friend”: Flying Solo At Last, OUDi Is More Together When She’s Alone

Sometimes your most rewarding relationship is the one you have with yourself. Over the course of a career that’s taken her from Canada to Nashville—and from the alt-pop/industrial world to the country arena and back again—the phenomenon known as OUDi has learned that lesson all too well. And she’s sharing it on “My Old Friend,” an irresistible high-drama ballad that marks her debut as a solo artist after years of sharing the spotlight. Check it out on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mehbNSTg6mA

 Built on a plaintive instrumental melody and a mesmerizing clockwork rhythm, the song carries the emotional weight of a conversation you have in the mirror when there’s no one left around to hoodwink. OUDi’s compelling vocal starts off at a seductive purr as she confronts an inner solitude, she might not exactly welcome, but knows she can always count on:

Hello loneliness, can’t say I missed you

But let me tell you this, now I need you

The internal co-dependency fully acknowledged, her amazing voice opens up into a bittersweet embrace of the darkness:

Go and do that thing you do, make me feel and lose my mind

‘Cause I have nothing left to lose, you’ve been waiting all this time

I dare you come a little closer and rest your head upon my shoulder.

Listen on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/track/4D0YqgfKzW8Tnbdl4Q02uB?si=32cc390f5ad04f66&nd=1&dlsi=dc472b2926a0499d

This isn’t just a declaration of artistic independence; it’s the story of a life. Born Chrystal Oudijk, she was out of the house and supporting herself by age 16, while pursuing her musical muse through a variety of projects. There was the five-piece alternative band The Perfect Strangers, the pop-industrial project Jakalope (for producer Dave “Rave” Ogilvie) and then—most famously—the pop-country duo Sons of Daughters (with Jimmy Thow). She was Chrystal Leigh by that point, and finding such success as a Billboard-charting, CCMA Award-nominated artist that she had even moved to Nashville from her native Vancouver. There was just one problem:

“Jimmy and I struggled as creative partners,” she divulges. “Add in alcohol, anxiety & depression and we had ourselves a real party!”

The near loss of a family member due to addiction and the confusion of the early pandemic era only deepened her dissatisfaction. When Sons of Daughters parted ways, she took two years to regroup, rethink and write her very first solo album. The release of “My Old Friend” is the opening salvo in her new career—strike that, her new state of being—as OUDi. It also sounds the death knell for what she describes as an adulthood full of toxic relationships and creative compromises.

“I’ve been living in survival mode my entire life,” she reflects. “It’s only been in the past two years I’ve been training my nervous system to relax. I’m excited to finally put my stories to song, for I have a lot of them.”

The year 2024 is going to mark a real renaissance for this woman, she even directed the music video for “My Old Friend,” exploiting a side talent she’s cultivated during her recent period of self-emancipation and reinvention. Her explanation for all of it is as sanguine as the song is bleak, yet equally self-aware:

“I guess it goes to show when you start to live your life authentically and true to yourself, magic really can happen.”