“I’ve been a singer, for as long as I can remember,” Olivia Henry tells me. She’s upbeat, ambitious and compassionate. Olivia Henry is a talented music artist, with a new single titled “Gotta Run” releasing on Friday, January 26th. I was able to preview the new track before it’s release, and I’m blown away. I’m Gone With The Wind. Her vocals are on point, and the song is a cross between pop and R&B – with some jazz. It reminds me of Amy Winehouse meets Billie Holiday. They melody will make you swoon, I know, because it did it for me. I had the honor of being her very first interview and I was granted this exclusive, as well as given special access to preview her new music.
“Gotta Run” was recorded at the 4th Street Recording Studio in Santa Monica, California. It was completed in a six hour session. It features hip hop influences in its beats and displays a nice vocal vibrato. The song tells a love story, that sadly had to come to an end. Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing, is the same. With love and life, that is often the case. In between sick beats, is the repeated phrase, “Love me, love me” that is so catchy. It’s been stuck in my head since I first got the track. The song is produced by the talented Doug Makuta, of the awesome band Makuta.
Olivia, the sweet singer-songwriter, who writes all of her own lyrics and music – has been doing so for years. Her first single is special to her. “The story of the song, is about a guy, it’s about a relationship,” she says. “It’s about making that hard decision to leave, and being the one to say it’s over – even though you don’t want to.” The inspiration behind it was, “That person, and just this need to say ‘I can do this’ and ‘I can be the one to walk away.’” It’s an empowering tune! The song is inspirational because it’s about a woman who is strong enough to push someone away, even when it’s hard to do so because you care about them. That takes strength. She revealed, “It’s what was best for me in the moment. It was best for me to walk away, even though my heart didn’t want to.”
Hip hop feels are evident on the song. “I knew that I wanted it to feel like it was based with hip hop,” she explained. Olivia wanted the song to be something different. Her genre is pop, but there is way more than that in her music. It has a nice variety, sonically. She knew she wanted hip hop feels, and for it to sound “kind of gritty like that” with the vocals wrapped around it. She added, “I wanted it to be kind of ‘in your face.’” Believe me, it is, and you will love every second of it.
“I’m thrilled,” she said. The Los Angeles based artist, writes all of her songs both lyrically and musically. “I write all of my stuff; I write everything vocally, musically, I’m the composer. I do it all.” It’s refreshing, considering a lot of people these days don’t write their own music or sing live without lip syncing. Olivia’s debut album will release this year. It is all recorded and done already! She’s going to release at least two singles off of the album, before the record releases. “I’m pretty much doing this on my own right now, and so we’re going to be shopping it to labels. Seeing who has interest, and what works out the best, and what is the smartest move for me and my career.” There will be performances in the works, both in LA and in NY. “I’m just playing it track by track, right now,” she said.
Olivia decided to ask herself, what was it that she really wanted out of life? The answer was simple. Music. Olivia Henry grew up in Los Angeles, singing and writing lyrics. She has had classical vocal training; and she also trained in jazz, contemporary, and even musical theatre, too. While attending CalArts conservatory, she taught herself how to play the piano. She also began songwriting and it took off from there. She has performed at many venues around Southern California, including The Mint, The Dakota Lounge, and The House of Blues Sunset Strip. Olivia is planning an upcoming performance in California next month, after the release of the new single. There will be plenty more performances to come.
The writing process varies by artist. She laughs, “I feel like I have a different process, every song.” With Gotta Run, “It kind of hit me in my head,” she said. Certain words and beats came to her right away in the beginning. “So I had the beat and the lyrics immediately,” she explained. “And then I just built everything around that.”
Before the new music she has been working on, she had an EP titled “Sessions.” You can still listen to it now. There is a fantastic song from it, titled, “Forbidden.” “I feel like I’m really proud of that whole EP, I did it all by myself,” she said very humbly. It’s not something she is trying to hide from the internet, like some artists who go onto fame do. She isn’t trying to erase her earliest work, and it will still be available if you want to hear it. Of her EP, she says, “It’s creative and has a lot to stand for.”
“I feel like where I am right now has evolved as an artist, and that’s really what you always want,” she summed up. Right now she’s focusing solely on the new direction of her music. All of her attention has to be on the upcoming album.
Who are her influences? “I listen to Led Zepplin usually everyday,” she laughs. “One of my favorite bands ever.” As well as the likes of Jack White, The Black Keys, and Amy Winehouse, of course. She grew up on rock & roll, and is also influenced by jazz and classical music. She likes her music to be theatrical, “I like to have a lot of instruments.”
What is the name going to be of the upcoming album? “I’m actually considering self-titling it and just having it be my first one, Olivia Henry.” Nothing is set in stone right now, it might change. There are a lot of options. The album for sure will be released this year though! “I’m thinking, probably summertime,” she gushed. It’ll be out before we know it!
Universally music is entertaining, therapeutic, reassuring and inspirational. It’s always a pleasure talking to fellow singer-songwriters, who are just as passionate as I am. Olivia was down-to-earth and sweet as can be. The new single is just the start of this musical journey. I will share more updates on Olivia’s music as the album release date nears. I hope you enjoyed my Artist Spotlight on Olivia Henry!
“It’s about evolution, and I’m excited about the evolution that’s happening with my music.” – Olivia Henry
Listen to Olivia’s amazing new single “Gotta Run” when it releases on Friday, January 26th. Be sure to follow her on social media and listen to her music! Stay tuned for more!