- Words Cal McIntyre
We catch up via Zoom with 20-year-old multi-faceted singer/songwriter Olivia O'Brien in her home to have a chat about looking to the future with hope in your eyes.
To celebrate the release of her latest ballad, ‘Josslyn’, off of her EP, ‘The Result Of My Poor Judgement’, we catch up the emotive songstress Oliva O’Brien as she welcomes us into her daily home life in lockdown.
Olivia O’Brien is like a chameleon – with her evolving hair colours and characterised looks, it’s hard to pin this creative down, but maybe that’s the point? One thing that never changes about Olivia is the emotional vulnerability that is embedded into the DNA of her tracks, making her one of the strongest and most relatable sounds from the online generation.
With an idiosyncratic voice that transcends you, it’s Olivia’s intense and prolific songwriting that really captures you as it feels like she is reading from her private journal to you in confidence, making her tracks truly intimate and special.
It’s pretty evident that Olivia has harnessed the healing power of writing to release her pent up emotions within her tracks – whether this is dealing with lovelorn exes, aspiring to break through the boundary of negative thinking or just revealing what her heart is feeling – Olivia’s tracks are like modern poetry in motion. What’s so refreshing about the young megastar is that she doesn’t pretend to be anything but herself, allowing herself to be held in the light so people can feel close to her through her work.
We catch up with Olivia at home in the midst of her TikTok making, pizza eating and daydreaming daily life for a chat below.
Hi, how are you?
I’m not too bad thank you! I mean, all things considered, I’m doing pretty good. There’s been a lot of highs and lows – I think being by yourself a lot has led me to learn more about myself, but on the flip side, I have some days where I have no motivation. But I’m alright!
What have you learned about yourself?
I have learned that I have it in me to be a positive person! I have been reading a lot about the law of attraction and practising meditation which has taught me to try and be more positive on days where I don’t want to be.
What is one of your earliest musical memories?
Probably when I first heard ‘Video’ by India Arie – I was around 7 or 8 and it was the first song I fell in love with. I think I really understood lyrics for the first time. My mom used to play it a lot and I just loved it.
Talk to us about your creative process?
I feel like I am the type of person that has to let inspiration come to them. I can sometimes push through if I’m not inspired, but most of the time it’s when I’m feeling something I have to just let it out. I can be driving on the freeway and I will just feel something and have to pull over and put it into my notes.
What’s your favourite subject to write about right now?
With everything going on right now it’s pretty hard to be inspired and I want to focus on what’s happening in the world. Recently tho, weird exes have been popping into my head who I never usually think about – it’s the most random things. But I’m trying to understand those feelings and write about those.
What inspires your visuals world right now?
For the past couple of years, I have been really inspired by the 90s/00s – music, movies and just everything! It’s very nostalgic to me and reminds of my childhood.
What advice would you give to your fans right now?
You can’t be too hard on yourself – no one is perfect all of the time. You’re always gonna make mistakes and there’s always going to be bad days – just keep going and don’t let anything set you back.
Who are some of your musical heroes in life?
Amy Winehouse! I have a tattoo of her so she’s definitely one. I love SZA, Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, Kid Cudi… I have so many! Of course, I can’t forget Stevie Nicks!