Olivia O’Brien’s music will have you joining the Black Hearts Club
Meet Olivia O’Brien, she’s not only the songwriter behind some of your favorite tracks, but now she’s releasing music of her own and it will have you wanting to bury exes, old friends, or anyone who has let you down.
It seems like talent attracts talent, because Olivia is a part of LA’s coolest/realest girl groups. Her best friends include Wildflower Cases co-founder Sydney Carlson, YouTuber Maddi Bragg, and model sisters Delilah and Amelia Hamlin. The young crew is not only super supportive of one another, but they’re the influencers our generation needs. Girls who aren’t afraid to take risks, tell it like it is, and not stand in a man’s shadow.
Even better, Olivia is helping to break down the facade that so many influential girls work so hard to create.
“I’m here to show everyone that it’s possible to be out here doing what I do and still be a real person, because hardly anyone is doing that anymore,” she said. And she’s doing her job incredibly well.
What is your favorite thing about being surrounded by such dynamic and influential girls?
Having such amazing girls in my life is the greatest thing. They always inspire me to try new things and encourage me to be the best version of myself. We all support each other and uplift each other constantly.
I don’t know how I got so lucky to be able to find such incredible girls who are not only strong, independent, and driven but are also smart, funny, kind and genuine. Without them, I definitely would not be as confident and happy as I am today, and I for sure would not be having so much fun in life.
Do you draw a lot of support and inspiration from your friends?
Absolutely. It seems like all we do is inspire and support each other. We all have our own things going on, whether it’s music, modeling, fashion, designing iPhone cases, or just about anything else, and we constantly help each other grow and succeed in whatever it is we choose to do.
On top of all of that, because we all are finding success in our own ways, we never get jealous of each other and have no ulterior motives in our friendships which is rare in the entertainment industry, especially in Los Angeles. I love my friends more than anything.
You’re very open about your life on the internet, you don’t shy away from letting people know that despite what it looks like on the surface, you’re not perfect or without your struggles. Why, in an age when it’s so easy just to fool everyone with an image, do you think it’s more important than ever to be real?
I have been through much more than people know, and it has caused me to learn things about myself and about life in general that many people my age have not yet realized. One of the most important things that I have learned is that people will constantly compare every aspect of themselves to others and it does nothing but lead them to self destruction and loss of self esteem.
This is why it is important to show people that nobody is perfect and you should never want to be anyone else! Everyone has flaws, everyone has been through hardships. Yes, there will always be someone who you feel is prettier than you or smarter than you or richer than you, but they will never be you. Every person is unique in their own way and there is no way to be “normal” or “perfect.”
Embracing your flaws and being the best version of your unique self is the only way to be happy, and I want everyone to know that. Nowadays, everyone is just pretending their life is perfect for social media, and it’s almost like they’re all starting to look, dress and even act exactly the same.
I know what happens behind the scenes because I am here and I am watching it happen, and it sickens me how much people lie and pretend and lead everyone into thinking they are perfect just so they can satisfy their own need to be envied. I’m here to show everyone that it’s possible to be out here doing what I do and still be a real person, because hardly anyone is doing that anymore.
Who are some of your favorite female artists right now?
SZA and Kehlani will forever be two of my favorite female artists. They both have some of the most amazing voices I have ever heard and are incredibly talented performers. But even more importantly, they are good people with great hearts who constantly support other women and other people in general, which is reflected in their meaningful music. As a songwriter, lyrics and the message behind the music are so important to me.
Both SZA and Kehlani ACTUALLY write music and it’s good music that helps and inspires people and serves a purpose other than just to get plays on the radio. Real artistry is rare these days, but both of these women have shown me that it still exists.
In “RIP” you’re telling a story with both your lyrics and your visuals, was this cathartic for you?
I always feel better about a situation after I write a song about it. It’s my way of putting my emotions somewhere and getting out of my own head. It’s something I have been doing since I was seven years old. However, this was my first time co-directing a video, and it was interesting to come up with a visual to reflect my words.
It was definitely a cool experience but because I wrote the song in January, I no longer felt the way that I felt back then by the time I shot the video or even came up with the concept. When filming, I had to kind of bring myself back to that time and try to feel the anger I felt when all of this happened, but it was hard because I was already by far over the guy the song is about. At that point, it was more just a matter of how to make the video interesting and put a cool spin on the meaning of the song.
As someone who recently started releasing her own music, what advice could you give to me in regards to allowing yourself to be emotional and vulnerable?
I used to be so afraid to write music about how I truly felt because I always thought that I was just a dramatic and overly emotional person. After gnash encouraged me to release “i hate u i love u”, which is about as vulnerable and emotional as a song can get, it got such amazing feedback and caused me to change my whole point of view.
I realized that everyone experiences the same emotions and everyone wants to know that their feelings are valid and they are not alone. When I put my feelings into words, I am helping people and saying the things that they want to say but don’t know how to. I realize now that it’s a beautiful gift and I shouldn’t be embarrassed of how open I am with my feelings.
What is the recording process like for you?
It’s a very personal thing because I do write all of my songs. I have to have the right people in the room with me, i.e. a producer I feel comfortable with and sometimes another writer, usually one of my friends like my best friend Drew Macdonald or my other amazingly talented friend Josh Levi.
I also get very nervous to record sometimes because I am pretty new to singing. Although I love it, I still have a lot of confidence issues when it comes to my voice because I feel like there is still so much more for me to learn about it.
You started out as a songwriter, what made you want to release your own music?
I always wrote songs but it was just a hobby. I didn’t think I would ever do anything with them. One day I saw this girl from Napa named Alexah post a cover on Soundcloud. It was the first time I had ever even heard of the app.
I was intrigued because it seemed so easy to just post whatever I wanted and gave me a chance to put myself out there. Although some people from my hometown gave me a hard time for posting covers, I started getting positive feedback from strangers and my close friends and that’s what kept me going. When I sent gnash “i hate u i love u” and he assured me that it was actually good, I got the confidence to think about making music as a real career and now long story short, here I am.