There are some vocalists that have the capacity to instantly catch the ear due to the allure of their voice. The somewhat indescribable feeling it conjures is as comforting as it is hair-raising, making for a compelling listen. It is for these reasons and many others that singer/songwriter Olivia Louise has gained warranted attention and praise for her angelic vocal performances.
Raised in Chester, Olivia Louise’s music career started as part of a group (P3) in the mid-2000s, but it was when she embarked on her solo career that she truly began to make an impression as an artist. She’s had the opportunity to collaborate with established musicians within the UK scene, such as DJ Q, Terror Danjah and Scrufizzer, all of which have lead to further admiration.
The attention has come in the form of huge support from a plethora of radio stations, including BBC Radio 1, BBC 1Xtra, Kiss FM, Capital Xtra and Rinse FM. More specifically, she was invited to perform on BBC Radio 1Xtra at the legendary BBC Maida Vale Studios as part of a DJ Target special. As if all this wasn’t enough, Olivia’s single “Physical“, saw here labelled as ‘One 2 Watch’ by GRM Daily, further showing her ascent in the past year.
Olivia’s latest single “Skin Deep” is a beautiful example of her abilities as both a singer and a songwriter, as she delicately guides her vocals within the structure of the instrumental, produced by frequent collaborator, Moteleola. Olivia narrates the story of a man who prefers to focus on the physical attributes of his female companions instead of digging deeper in search of mental and emotional gratification.
Coupled with neat visuals that help to convey the concept interestingly, Olivia attempts to shine a light on modern day relationships by suggesting that a change in mentality is necessary. The way in which Olivia manipulates her voice in order to fit the track seamlessly is reminiscent of Nelly Furtado in her prime, as her cadences float and weave effortlessly throughout.
Demonstrating her versatility, Olivia assists DJ Q on the sensual UK Garage inspired track entitled “Physical”. On the aforementioned record, the talented vocalist succeeds in taking listeners back to the golden era of UKG by handling the smooth DJ Q production impeccably, with everything about Olivia’s delivery on point. Such is the vibe of the track, you can envision it being appropriate for subtly cutting shapes to, as well as chilling out to, making it a good addition to any playlist. It’s no surprise to see Olivia express herself over tunes such as this as she has communicated her willingness to work on any genre she is drawn to, not allowing people to restrict her to a certain style or sound.
Nevertheless, with some of Olivia’s primary musical influences being the likes of Lauryn Hill, Aaliyah & Jhene Aiko, there is an obvious tendency for people to believe that within R&B is where her strongest performances can be found. Further evidence of this can be discovered on “Mourning“, a track with French producer Gautier, which allows both her singing and song writing talents to come to the fore.
Olivia airs concerns that by the time the morning comes around, she’ll be grieving for the relationship that could have been. Her clever play on the words morning and mourning create a chorus that will resonate with many female listeners who fear that a physical relationship is all that certain males may be in search of, alongside other insightful metaphors throughout her verses. Once again, she gives an exceptional vocal performance that exquisitely dictates the direction of the already atmospheric instrumental.
Olivia’s song writing qualities have been recognized by others within the industry, as she has been working behind the scenes composing songs for other artists. Her talents have also seen her tracks being selected to make up the soundtrack for Noel Clarke’s upcoming film, which should no doubt elevate her further. Amidst all this, Olivia’s next scheduled release is her Star Stuff EP with the aforementioned producer Gautier, which should be out this year, although a release date is yet to be confirmed. After an exciting 2014, it will be fascinating to see if Olivia Louise can continue her progress as a very gifted artist.
Words by Nathan Fisher