- Words Notion Staff
- Photography Ragan Henderson
The singer-songwriter, Olivia O'Brien, shares her musical firsts, from scribbling lyrics in notebooks to the Jonas Brothers concert.
LA-based singer-songwriter Olivia O’Brien has had success topped with success during her career in pop so far. Breaking through with Gnash on their 5-times platinum single “i hate u, i love u”, she served up a second helping in 2019 with her debut album ‘Was It Even Real?’.
Now, she is back for more, with the sophomore album ‘Episodes’. Part 1 – or ‘Season 1’, as she calls it – is a drama of sound. Nestled amongst the tracks is “Sociopath,” which has been championed in over 40 New Music Friday playlists on Spotify, “Pop Rising”, and Apple Music’s “New Music Daily”. Opening with those infamous violins from Hitchcock’s Psycho, this is a track that will have you squirming – in a good way. Meanwhile, “No More Friends” features Bring Me the Horizon’s Oli Sykes.
Later this year, O’Brien will be sweeping the stage at Lollapalooza and Bottle Rock Festivals, as well as headlining her own tour across North America. We caught up with O’Brien about her musical firsts, from tough times in LA to fangirling over Harry Styles.
First song you ever made?
I can’t possibly remember the very first song that I ever made because I’ve been writing songs since I was about 7 years old. I have dozens of notebooks from my childhood filled with lyrics.
First song you released officially?
“i hate u, i love u”.
First time you realised you wanted to be a musician?
I wanted to be a musician since I was a little girl.
First time you wanted to give up?
When I first moved to LA and another girl my age who was also a singer made my life a living hell and made me feel awful about myself.
First CD or record you owned?
Miley Cyrus, ‘Breakout’.
First gig and first festival you went to?
Jonas Brothers concert and Bottlerock festival.
First time you were starstruck?
The only person who could really get me starstruck anymore is Harry Styles and I have yet to meet him.
First instrument you owned?
A small 3/4 size blue guitar.
First time you fell in love with music?
Bro, I was like 4 – I wish my memory was that sharp.
First song that pops into your head right now?
“Deepthroat” by CupcakKe.