In February 2019, Houston-born singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and performer Olivia Lane who now is based in Nashville made her maiden voyage to encounter the UK audience for a series of acoustic shows. A year later following the release of her latest EP ‘The One’ last year, being a featured songwriter on NBC’s premiere songwriting competition series – Songland on a episode pitching to Leona Lewis and cumulative streams for her music of over 20 million Olivia returns to this side of the pond for 6 dates in the UK. Prior to her trip (which she is incredibly excited about) we caught up with her where she shared news of new music and some insightful views on being an independent female artist in Nashville right now.
Olivia Lane on coming back to play in the UK:
It’s pretty much been exactly a year but I am so excited to come back over and hang out with y’all! I had such an amazing time and it was too short last time. I think I did 4 shows then this time is 6 or 7 shows so I’m just excited to come back and hang out because I love the people! I love you guys!
and what she is looking forward to on her forthcoming trip:
I had been over as a tourist but I was really young, I was like 6th or 7th grade so coming back over and actually getting to hang out in post 21 year old drinking life was cool. It was just a really good chance to eat different foods and meet different people, drink lots of beer. I love the idea of your English breakfast, I love beans on toast in the morning and soft boiled eggs. I didn’t have the chance to have it properly or go to any restaurants for it last time so I definitely need to have it and the pot pies! I love talking about all these foods, I’m such a foodie!
Olivia on playing to UK audiences:
In America with shows a lot of the time people are there for the music but they’re there to I dunno? Drink and have a good time, but I felt like in the UK everyone was so attentive and quiet but still getting into it because that’s my vibe of the show. It’s the fans and the way you guys digest music is just a little bit different than in America which is so refreshing.
and what we can expect from this next tour:
Last time it was just me and another guitar player but this time I’m actually bringing a guitarist and my percussionist with a broken down sort of drum kit. So it will be like an amplified acoustic show as my other player is on electric so that will be exciting and we’re diving into rehearsals this weekend. It’s gonna be really good and I just can’t wait to bring you guys the new music.
along with what she feels the vibe she brings to her shows:
I feel my duty as an artist is to be that light at the end of a tunnel girl. As I’ve been writing new music, it’s kinda funny that sometimes you write songs and are like this ‘This came from my brain but it isn’t really Olivia Lane, it isn’t the person I wanna be for my fans!’ it’s a little bit this way or a little bit that way! So when I’m putting my setlist together you’re trying to get the vibe of the show and trying to show the Olivia Lane light at the end of the tunnel thing is there with the positivity. I want people to come to my show and feel lighter when they leave!
Olivia on constructing a setlist and upcoming new music:
When you go to a concert and I know especially as a fan of other musicians or go to a concert and hear new songs where some people are like Awh Man! Why don’t you just play the hits or the ones that everybody knows? There is going to be a couple of new ones that I’ll put out there to the world and they’re gonna be the first 2 songs I put out in 2020. I’m actually releasing a new song whilst I’m on tour in the UK which is really really cool. I’m gonna be releasing songs as singles every 4 to 6 weeks so I’ve got like 5 singles ready to go which is gonna be pretty crazy and pretty aggressive with the first one coming out when I’m on tour in the UK so hopefully everyone will be open to it but it’s always good to play songs and people knowing the songs and singing the lyrics back to you!
and why she is choosing to release new music as a run of singles opposed to an EP as a collective body of work:
I think, just the behaviour of the listener now! With all of the streaming platforms and things becoming a little bit more mood based and yes an EP has a physical or cohesive element to it but there’s so many songs that have a different message so deserve their chance to shine! Putting out an EP is like putting out a whole body of work but being like I’m interested in one song. When you come out with a single by single plan, it gives the listener time to get the song in its entirety and gives me time to do a cool music video and all these really fun pieces of merch that I have along with it and the marketing plan. There’s just so much noise out there that putting out an EP you’re almost burning songs coming out by the attention span, it’s an interesting market right now to figure out but I still really do love records but I feel that only the bigger artists can get away with that right now!
Olivia on her journey to Nashville and how country music became her calling:
I think I had to move away to really appreciate my roots in being from the south and being from Texas so it was definitely a later thing for me for sure! I had always been an entertainer and always loved performing whether that was on stage in a musical, singing or in a studio or playing guitar for people. I was always a very artistic kid but it didn’t really click for me until I was in LA pursuing acting and I wasn’t really in love with it any more but knew I had loved music. So I took a songwriting class in college and everything started to make sense. I had a clear vision of me moving away from LA, a clear vision of me doing country music as that’s what I grew up on as that’s what my mom did in her twenties so everything started to make sense to me when I decided to move to Nashville and formulate this plan for me in my early twenties. I still feel like this is where I belong, it’s a good feeling. I’ve met some amazing people along the way and learnt a lot of the lessons the hard way but being here still feels very authentic to me and I love being in country music, it’s such a great community.
Olivia on her creative standpoint as an independent female artist in Nashville right now:
I think some people, especially in my personal experience, I wasn’t gonna have a very traditional get signed by a label, go to radio and things happen that way. That became very clear to me, so I was like I still wanna do music and still want this to be my path then how do I get around that? Which has forced me to become, out of survival forced me to become this different thing, get scrappy and do things on my own. Find my right people that I love to collaborate with for the art that I wanna create so I naturally think I’ve become more dynamic as a person and my music has become a little bit more interesting solely because I’ve not been welcomed in the same way some other artists have been which has pros and cons. Some artists get signed as soon as they move to town and get caught up in how things are supposed to be, things are so easy as their signed and may not be pushing themselves or being as creative as they could be if they had a little bit more pressure from something totally different.
and describing the problem facing female artists in music city right now:
It’s really interesting, I do agree that the most interesting stuff that is happening in country music is coming from women right now. Because there is such a lack of support right now, I think it’s kind of the wild wild west. I don’t believe that people are not, it’s weird because I think people want women to succeed, people are more confused how to do it and that will come from stronger women artists having their vision like here it is, I’m handing it to you on a silver platter. It’s changing peoples mentality to take a chance! That’s where I feel the disconnect is, there’s plenty of women who have a vision and make great music but it’s getting the big people at the top to take a chance again vs the numbers, data or “what’s working”. I get that there’s a business model in the business world to keep doing things that are working already but to really make a difference in the music business, I think you have to look for people who are different and sometimes that’s scary!
Olivia on friend to both herself and here at Think Country, Kalie Shorr and the industry exposure to her debut album ‘Open Book’:
Me and her, man our paths have been very sort of similar and we’ve had a lot of common things to talk about. I really love her, she’s such a jam and she’s so talented. We have the same producer which is amazing too. Again she’s one of those girls that’s like I’m gonna do it my way, I think that’s when the best art is made! Her whole record is so strong, it’s so good and it’s finally getting some shout outs over here which again that’s where the tension comes in: How does no one wanna take a chance on this?
and Olivia on how girls are responding to the lack of exposure or unwillingness to ‘take a chance’:
As a woman that’s the question you always have to ask yourself, Why? But you can’t have that question take you down a long path of what I’m doing is wrong. It’s a weird dance you have to dance. You can believe in yourself but you also have to succeed that from the industry be like OK, this isn’t going to work so you become awh screw it, I’m just gonna be me! I think some women have got to that point and we just do it! We have proof in the numbers, proof in the fans. Proof in the pudding you know! So it definitely is a harder road to go down but I think in the end it makes you a much stronger artist!
Then finally, Olivia Lane on the joys of being a blonde:
I went a little blonder, I was very hesitant to change my hair for a long time because being blonde, I dunno it’s got its own thing attached to it. I’m really digging it, I’m into it!
Her upcoming UK tour begins in London on February 3rd at The Grace with full dates below and tickets available on her website:
3rd Feb – The Grace – London
5th Feb – Crofters Rights – Bristol
6th Feb – Night and Day – Manchester
7th Feb – Bodega – Nottingham
8th Feb – Proper Cycle Cafe – Hassocks (Brighton)
9th Feb – The Glad Cafe – Glasgow