OUDi’s Emotions Are Up In The Air On Transporting New Hit “Afraid Of Flying”

Her solo career may be soaring, but OUDi still doesn’t like heights. On her latest single, industrial pop’s prodigal daughter admits she’s “Afraid of Flying” — because the higher you go, the farther you might plummet.

I miss the horizon, I miss the views
It never used to scare me but now I know the truth
That what goes up, must come down
I’m afraid of flying, I’m afraid of heights
‘Cause now I know what it feels like, falling from that high
Feeling so helpless, I can’t help it
Oh, I’m afraid of flying

Those are understandable sentiments indeed for an artist who’s only recently made a bold return to her roots after a wildly successful sojourn into contemporary country. (As Chrystal Leigh, she was one-half of the Billboard-charting, CCMA Award-nominated duo Sons of Daughters.) But for all the existential dread OUDi professes as she navigates the uncharted territory of a solo career, the new record represents the best of the two worlds she’s inhabited. You can hear the country chops in her catlike purr as she confesses her innermost anxieties over the dark, immersive soundtrack of electronic rattles and horror-movie stabs assembled by producers Dave “Rave” Ogilvie (a veteran of sessions with Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails) and Anthony “Fu” Valcic, known for his work with Front Line Assembly and Julien-K.

“‘Afraid of Flying’ speaks to the fear that keeps us from taking those imperative leaps of faith, whether it’s due to the fear of the unknown or a fear of failure,” OUDi says.

That’s exactly where her head was at when she came up with the number with help from co-writers Jennifer Kennard and Danielle Blakey. The collapse of Sons of Daughters had taken its toll on her confidence, to the point where she felt “paralyzed” with terror: “I wasn’t sure I could do start another music project from the ground up again,” she says. That’s notwithstanding the safety net of once again working with Ogilvie, for whom she had sung in the pop-industrial project Jakalope before Nashville came a-calling.

On an even more intimate level to which just about any listener can relate, while she was striking out on her own professionally, her personal life was a huge, flashing question mark as well.

“I had gone through so much heartbreak that I started to think that love wasn’t for me.”

Whatever does or doesn’t happen for her on the relationship front, the roll of the dice she made in her artistic career is already reaping big rewards. Her January 2024 debut single, the equally distraught industrial ballad “My Old Friend,” saw her reconnecting triumphantly with mechanistic melodrama, and went on to garner thousands of streams. Meanwhile, the accompanying music video she herself directed racked up over 30,000 views, establishing her as a creative force to be reckoned with behind the mic and the camera.

In a further harbinger of good things ahead, she’s recently signed with Bailer Music Publishing, a multinational outfit with headquarters in both Nashville and Germany. Their partnership signals a promising future for OUDi as she continues to develop her sound and expand her artistic reach.

None of which means, of course, that she’s suddenly going to become a mountain of confidence whose songs will rival Whitney Houston’s for self-assured moxie. She’s gone all-in on honest vulnerability, and a whole new audience has clearly embraced the approach. To put it another way, this flight is already out over the waters, and there’s no way to turn back now. Fortunately, there’s no reason to either.