It feels like a different time and the world being a different place, almost like the opening credits to Star Wars being “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” when I last spoke to Nashville based, Texan singer-songwriter and bundle of positive energy Olivia Lane ahead of her most recent trip to the UK. It was only 4 months ago back in January when we last spoke (Read HERE) prior to her UK dates in early February but the world is a little different now! The days of live shows seem almost a distant memory to us over here and COVID-19 is having a significant impact on all of our lives as Olivia knows all too well after testing positive for the disease. Fully recovered and following up from her more recent release “Living Instead” which came out in early May (Listen HERE), we caught up with her to get right up to date with all the goings on in the world of Olivia Lane.
On COVID-19 and her own experience of recovering from the disease:
When I was diagnosed with COVID, I lost my sense of taste and smell dramatically for about a month and a half which was not fun. Then the first day I was able to smell a candle again or smell my shampoo in the shower, I nearly started crying and was so thankful for my senses and I’m never gonna take them for granted ever again. It’s forcing people to be very grateful for what they have and had. It’s a different time, it really is, it’s challenging people in a way that people needed to be challenged and also in ways we didn’t think we were gonna have to be.
then on how things are beginning to open up again in society:
You know I was at a restaurant with my parents the other day and it’s like this is nice, to actually be surrounded by people again but at the same time there’s kind of this sense of judgement that everybody has towards one another that can be either toxic or emotionally vulnerable and friendly and nice. Maybe this period’s making people more aware of each other but then also thinking tensions are getting heated and really really high so it’s a very complicated time and I think people should just do what makes them feel comfortable and they feel safe.
and the ways she has spent her time during quarantine and recovering:
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I’m not very good at resting, I’ve been resting a lot and watching a lot of Netflix. I’ve had to catch up on shows! I’ve watched The Office, I’ve started Greys Anatomy, there’s a show called World on Fire that I’m super in to so I watched all of that, I watched Miss America, I watched Tiger King so when I think about it I’ve watched a lot of shows. Then I’ve been reading books and spending time with my parents because I’ve been with my parents the last 2 months in Nashville as they live here. The big thing has been reconnecting with myself and my mental state, realising what’s important and resting my body because I can and have the time right now.
Has this time brought about the creation of new songs?
I’ve kind of being in an incubating period, where I’m not trying overly. I’ve had a couple of Zoom writes and I’ve written a couple of songs, but I’ve got so much music already in the can and ready to go that I’m sort of in the period of like thinking of ideas and writing them down but not quite ready to fully create them into songs. The Zoom writes are fine, but I really just do prefer being in person. I’m a people person so I like the energy in a room so I’m OK with waiting. Me and my producer actually got diagnosed with COVID at the same time so it was weird but also a blessing in disguise, both of us have been socially distant in the studio together and continually working. I’ve just been kind of sitting on my ideas and I’ve been doing a lot of marketing courses as an artist. Learning how to like run a Facebook ad and learning how I can market my music online, which has been interesting and I constantly feel I need to keep learning.
but does it create a danger to reflect too heavily and overthink what has already sat in the can with a large amount of downtime away from touring and promoting?
It’s always annoying to overthink, but I’m an overthinker. To me I have kind of separated the overthinking thing to if I could have a couple of days to think on it, that’s preferable to me. I’ve really realised that I don’t have to make a decision in the moment if it’s not super time sensitive. In that time period of a few days I think about it, I pray about it and I get the answer that I’m needing in the few days that I’m sitting on it. I feel that I operate well under pressure but if I have to make a super time sensitive big decision I don’t like it, I like to be able to take my time with things.
Olivia on the importance of social media and interacting with her fans, particularly during these current uncertain times:
I just knew, I kinda sat down with my team and talked about what I could be doing to capitalise on my fans. I am very energetic and a big personality, I love being on social media and interacting with my fans so for me as an artist personally, it was a perfect time to reengage with my fans. To ask them what they’re doing and how they’re coping because everyone’s on their phone right now, so any artists not engaging with their fans, it’s curious why they’re missing out. For me it’s like OK, well I haven’t been on TikTok, so here’s a new frontier that I can try to cultivate. In a month I went from like 300 fans to 11,000 so it’s little things where you don’t need to change the whole thing and overwhelm yourself but it’s just one little piece I could try and see if my fans like this. It turns out they love this side of me and I can upload it to Instagram, then they laugh and we talk about the funny things it made them think about. It can get a little overwhelming with all the messages I get but at the end of the day, that’s my job! It’s my job to create music and engage with my fans, see what they’re doing and just to make sure I’m on their radar, that they’re on mine and I know what they’re thinking about or struggling with because I write music for me but really I write it for them!
which has now seen her launch a brand new Podcast “Living Instead” (subscribe HERE) as another new way to share her experiences and talk to her fans:
To be honest I really had no idea what I was doing launching this podcast. If I put something in the universe, have a deadline and have to do it it’s like OK! It’s in 2 weeks and I need to figure out what I’m gonna say and these people that I’m interviewing, what I’m gonna ask them and make sure they’re comfortable then figure out my recording process. It was a lot for me to put on myself but I operate well when you just strap in and try and figure it out along the way. I’m very particular, I edit all my own vlogs so I’m pretty savvy with the whole editing world and I’m still in a sensitive spot where I don’t want to hand it off to somebody and have them not to have something to go back to and be like Olivia’s voice is this way, I want her to edit it this way. I’ve had time for it but down the line I’m definitely gonna need people to help me out, I’m trying to cultivate a lot of irons in the fire and the podcast is so time consuming. Oh my goodness, it takes me 3 or 4 days to turnaround a 30 minute podcast, it’s crazy!
The podcast is not a music based show in principle, as it explores more well-being and all aspects of feeling more healthy and at one with yourself and the world. In the third episode she talked very openly on her spirituality, opening up to faith and becoming a Christian, which we discussed religion or belief in general as a tool to provide a sense of meaning or purpose and ultimately hope. We talked about this journey and how it has helped particularly during the current global situation:
Absolutely, I have been a little bit, not secret but it’s a part of me that I’ve gone back and forth with, do I wanna share this? Will it turn some people off? Will it rub some people the wrong way? At the end of the day, my podcast is very centred on what are the tools that people can use to make their lives a little bit easier. To get back to being aligned with yourself physically, mentally, spiritually, logically and me stepping into my faith and questioning spirituality was a really big tool for me! How to deal with life and I was a very firm atheist and didn’t really question then having a spiritual shift in my life, it kind of helped me give over control which I was so desperately needing to give over. Either path that you take, life is gonna be difficult! It’s not you accept Jesus into your heart then all of a sudden everything is rosey and fabulous and wonderful. It’s just a tool, it’s a way of looking at the world and being able to have a relationship with somebody to help you get through your day. It was important for me to talk about on my podcast because it was such a big part of what I went through and so fundamental in all of the tiny changes I made in my life and how I got to this healthier mental state and you know I’m gonna fall off the bandwagon again because that’s human nature, that’s life!
Her latest single shares the same title as the podcast and “Living Instead” was released on May 8th (Listen HERE) is a really reflective track set over some killer hooks to form a perfect blend of pop country with an infectious melody that sounds super sassy in a way of showing the attitude to your own issues as a perfect motivation that you are ready to move on from. Olivia described the background to the song and what it means to be Living Instead:
It’s funny, I feel like with my music I’m kind of establishing myself in this sort of genre bending, free from sort of is it country enough or is it pop enough kind of sound? I’m in a realm as an artist where I’m independent and I just roll with how I’m feeling. Yes it’s country but it’s pop, it’s rootsy, it’s kinda dramatic and theatrical like me! I really think owning these different parts of myself and owning like you know going to therapy, having the breakthrough! That’s the real story that happened and inspired the song. Especially right now, a lot of us are living in our heads with being locked up in quarantine and overanalysing life, overanalysing the future and what it will look like, it’s a very uneasy time and at the end of the day you can worry through the day or decide to stop worrying and be in the moment. To live life and realise that there’s all these beautiful things around you. It’s hard, I struggle with it every single day, I stress myself through the day and then I realised I had all these beautiful opportunities to connect with fans, connect with my parents, connect with a book and I didn’t do any of it and that sucks! I don’t wanna wake up one day when I’m old and think I just stressed my way through life, it didn’t make me happy and now I’m here! I think we all have our own stuff that we have to work through but I think there’s this sense of putting yourself back on this scale of gratitude, making sure that there is room to turn those negative thoughts off and soak in what you do have. It’s wanting the things you already had, appreciating the things and the blessings that you already have! I think that’s what “Living Instead” is all about, even after this whole quarantine, it’s so kind of perfect with the timing of the song that I didn’t even realise as May is mental health awareness month. The song came out at the beginning of the month, so it is like WOW! What a perfect time for the song to come out because I think all of us even after this quarantine and pandemic, we all still struggle with anxiety, we all struggle with stress, overthinking and even just taking 3 minutes of a song to just breathe and reboot, listen to the words of “Living Instead” reminding yourself like OK breathe and reboot! I think it’s such a gift!
Then what does she have in store for us in terms of her plans and new music for the rest of the year:
I have so many songs, as far as songs go I have enough to make an album if I’m honest but I dunno? What we’re gonna do is be releasing a single around every month. We’re gonna have another single coming in June, which is very soon and I’m very excited about it. As far as new ideas go, I have so many song ideas that are just waiting to be written. I feel very prolific right now, so many things I want to say and so many songs already done but it’s just making sure I don’t come out with too much music at once, but I have so many songs and so many messages that I can’t wait to put out there!
and how much coming back to the UK is still very much in her future plans:
Oh, we’re already in talks! Also I was supposed to come back in September but pretty much 2020 touring has been cancelled. We were going to try and look at a couple of festivals on top of having a few of my own shows but a big goal of mine is to play a bunch of festivals, I’d love to play The Long Road Festival and I’d love to get back over and play some more festivals. Hopefully I’ll come back in January/February and have my own headlining tour again, hopefully going up in numbers to what I did before.
If nothing else, she has to maintain her love of the good old full English, so finally did she actually get round to a full fry-up on her last visit?
Well I kind of had a half-baked version. We stopped at a gas station after 1 of the cities, I think it was Manchester? So we got beans and eggs and toast. First of all, at an American gas station you would never find food like that, which was mind blowing to me! I love that about coming over to the UK because I can get a full meal at a gas station which is like what is going on? It was really delicious, I honestly love that and make myself traditional British breakfasts over here in the States so I’m a bit of a weird American.
Whilst we await more new music coming this month, you can keep up tho date with this along with future news on releases and tour information when she is able to get back out on the road again on:
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