Posted On 31 May 2017
Olivia is just 21 and currently finishing up college. Her music is dark, smoldering indie pop and has traces of Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Lorde and Lana Del Rey.
Learn more about Olivia in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it?
Thanks so much for the interview! Well, I’m currently hanging out at Freehold in Brooklyn — one of my favorite spots to get things done and enjoy a cup of coffee. I was rotating between Niki & The Dove, Khalid and Fleetwood Mac, but now I’m giving the music here a chance.
How is 2017 treating you so far? Did you approach the start of this year any differently than you did last year?
2017 has been full of surprises! At the start of 2016, I was overcoming some personal challenges. I hadn’t been in the best place for a few months, but I was finally getting there. 2017 started with a bang, different in all ways. New city, new work, and a whole different outlook. Honestly I think I approached this year a lot differently than last, just based on the way I’ve changed as a person alone.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your first musical memory?
Absolutely. Of course, when I was five I also wanted to be a dolphin trainer, fashion model, and pop star. Clearly, I was a very ambitious child. Music was always consistent though. I’m not sure what my earliest musical memory is, but I have scattered memories here and there.
Could you see yourself doing anything else today? If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
I can’t. I think that’s a huge part of what motivates me; I can’t imagine doing anything else for a living, I enjoy a lot else besides music though, such as writing in general. If I didn’t enjoy music, I’d probably be a writer. I was writing short stories before I even knew how to play music.
How do you think you were affected musically by moving from Chicago to Brooklyn? How were you influenced by this big move?
When I moved to Brooklyn, I was a bit more isolated. I didn’t have the community around me that I built for myself in Chicago. That allowed me to spend more time focusing on my music. Besides that, Brooklyn has such a huge music scene, especially when it comes to the indie world. That in itself is inspiring. I get really inspired by seeing what my peers are doing and watching them grow. It makes me want to work harder.
Let’s talk about your upcoming single, “Shoestrings.” Where did the inspiration for it come from exactly?
“Shoestrings” was an on and off process for over a year. When I finally sat down with the version of “Shoestrings” you’re hearing today, I was really eager to write something new. It had been a little while. I was flipping through old lyric ideas, and I came across some lyrics that I forgot about. I can’t quite remember where I was mentally when I started to write the older version of it, but I had just recently moved to New York when I rewrote it. The song is about feeling uncomfortable and out of place. It’s somewhat unapologetic, but lyrically there’s also this sense of distress in it. I was working through some things when I had moved to New York. I was excited about all the new opportunities, but I was also feeling kind of overwhelmed. It was a whole mix of emotions floating around, and I think some of that came out in “Shoestrings.”
When do you hope to release your debut EP and even a full-length album of new songs? Do you think that you are in a period of high creativity now and material for songs is all around you?
I definitely have enough material for an album. I’m writing a lot lately. Even this past week, it’s almost been a song a day. Creativity like that comes and goes, but I try to do as much as I can with it present. I can’t say when I’ll be releasing a debut album, but it’s definitely very possible for the somewhat near future.
What has it been like balancing college with your promising music career? Has it been difficult to do both? How important is it you that you finish college and really focus on your singing?
It’s been crazy. I’ve definitely had times where I put way too much pressure on myself, and it was unhealthy mentally and physically. Balance is key, and I think now that I’ve been doing this for a while and I’m near the end of it at all, I have a much better understanding of how to do that. It honestly just comes with time, practice, and patience. I finished my last exam of undergrad yesterday, and I graduate Sunday.
Where do you think you are happiest- on stage performing, in the recording studio or elsewhere?
I’d say both on stage performing and in the recording studio and right after I’ve finished writing a new song. Being on stage is such an adrenaline rush, and being in the studio seeing how a song develops is an amazing feeling. Of course, the feeling of completing a new song is also the best. Every time I write a new song, it ends up being my favorite— at least until the next new song.
What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I’m honestly just inspired by good music. Seeing artists making great music in all genres and doing what they love is so inspiring to me. Consistently, Aurora has been one of my favorites. I think her music is beautiful. Right now, I’m really into Khalid and Sampha. I’d love the opportunity to work with James Blake in the future. I’m a big fan of his voice and production.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? What do you hope is the message of your songs?
Each song has a different message; I love telling stories. Overall, I hope my music makes people feel something. Whether it’s good or bad, I just want my music to make people feel.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Just that I think you all are the best!