Like many artists, Olivia never realised that being a singer-songwriter was something she would end up doing. Having initially been interested in acting, she stumbled across song-writing when she was encouraged to join a class in college. Since that class, she’s never looked back.
“I took a songwriting class one time and everything changed. I called up my parents and was like: “So you know how I wanted to do acting – well I’m going to Nashville to do song writing!” I’m so glad I made that decision to take that class – five and a half years later I’m here,” she tells us.
We caught up with Olivia in Camden Town in London before one of her gigs to find out more about breaking into the industry as a new artist, how she deals with stress and a busy schedule on the road and just why she loves writing and creating so much…
“People are starting to really notice the authentic vulnerability in my new songs – they’re really clicking with it and I’m so happy because I’ve done so much work on myself to get to these songs. A lot of self-love work.” – Olivia Lane
Taylor Magazine: How was your show yesterday?
Olivia Lane: Oh my gosh, everything was so wonderful last night. I just love how attentive UK audiences are. It’s so different for us. We have some shows where people are very much listening, but most of it feels like you’re part of a big party that’s happening.
Taylor Magazine: Amazing! So tell us how you got into the country music scene then?
Olivia Lane: I actually got into country music from a very young age – I’m from Houston, Texas so that was a very pivotal place for me to be from in that sense. I could really dive into country music, and my mum was actually a local Texas country singer at the time, so that’s really where it all started. She exposed me to a lot of music and saw this artistic kid in me. There wasn’t much in the sports department or the school department, but she enrolled me in theatre, music and guitar lessons – I just really vibed with it.
Taylor Magazine: And at what point did you realise that it was something that could be a career?
Olivia Lane: I had a turning point in college. I went for theatre, but I wasn’t tied to acting very much. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I got this theatre degree to try and figure everything out. I took a songwriting class one time and everything changed. I called up my parents and was like: “So you know how I wanted to do acting – well I’m going to Nashville to do song writing!” I’m so glad I made that decision to take that class – five and a half years later I’m here.
“One thing that I can tell people about song-writing is that it has to hit you in the heart, you really have to be connected emotionally to it, whatever you’re singing about.” – Olivia Lane
Taylor Magazine: That’s such a nice story. So what is the songwriting process like for you, and what do you draw inspiration from?
Olivia Lane: I’ve thought about this question a lot, and if I’m honest, I can’t tell you a specific way that my songwriting goes… I just get these ideas and I’m just like: “Okay, I guess I’ll write them down”, but it’s different every day. Typically, it’s three people when I’m co-writing – I’ll bring an idea in and say I want it to sound this way, etc. But then sometimes I have nothing. Although, the one thing that I can tell people about song writing is that it has to hit you in the heart, you really have to be connected emotionally to it, whatever you’re singing about.
Taylor Magazine: Do you have a favourite song you’ve ever written? Or a song you were surprised you wrote?
Olivia Lane: My new song ‘Hey 3AM’ – I’m so proud of the song writing because it was just two of us – me and my co-writer Aaron Shirs. I had the idea for so long and so many people wouldn’t write it with me, so as a songwriter you think, “oh this must be a really bad idea”.
It was a turning point for me as a writer and an artist when I wrote this song because I thought, you know what, my ideas are great. I’m not going to let people tell me my ideas aren’t good. I’ve been intentional with the latest songs I’ve released since August to show a different side of my work with my fans: more vulnerable; a little more grown up; part of myself that I was kind of refusing to let the world see before. Now people are starting to really notice the authentic vulnerability in my new songs – they’re really clicking with it and I’m so happy because I’ve done so much work on myself to get to these songs. A lot of self-love work.
Taylor Magazine: We focus a lot on self love and being the best version of yourself, so what would you say is something that you do if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or just need a break?
Olivia Lane: I could talk about self love for hours! When I was on the road, I wasn’t taking care of myself and knew that I needed to go on a self-awareness journey so I started doing talk therapy. I found an amazing therapist who helped me regain balance again. She said I was using my logical brain too much – I had a lot of control issues with my career in particular, and this inhibits you from being at your full potential.
I needed to get my logical, emotional, spiritual, and physical wellbeing all balanced. It took a while to uncover deep emotions and hardships that I had gone through that I had never processed before. Talking about stuff with someone who’s trusted in your world is really nice. That really helped me.
I also love reading books and I’ve become very spiritual recently too. Honestly, it’s about finding out what works for you and how you can give up that control and stress. Learning new brain patterns is important too – you can look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re ugly but that’s not true, you don’t have to believe that. Just because my brain tells me what I think, doesn’t mean it’s true. We’re so mean to ourselves a lot of the time, so I’m taking time to learn about myself because if I don’t know who I am, how can I put this into my music.
Taylor Magazine: Who would you say is a big inspiration, someone that you look up to?
Olivia Lane: Definitely my mum and dad – they’re the best parents in the world. They’ve taught me so much, I’m so blessed. I also look up to women in music who have created brands too – Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton. All the women who’ve made their music into something bigger. People who show that they care more than just creating music – it shows they want to create an experience for their fans.
Taylor Magazine: And your dream collaboration?
Olivia Lane: Too many to name! But my dream collaboration would be Carol King probably…
“Finding that middle ground of having people you trust, and then also believing in yourself enough is crucial.” – Olivia Lane
Taylor Magazine: What would you say has been the biggest struggle you have faced getting into country music?
Olivia Lane: Figuring out what I wanted to say – that was the biggest struggle in the writing room. I had so many people who I thought I should trust because they’ve been in the business longer, which is a journey you have to go through as an artist. You can’t be so far away from taking their advice and do it entirely your way, but you also can’t take everything of what people say to you. Then you’ll just be copying what everyone else is doing.
Finding that middle ground of having the people you trust, and then also believing in yourself enough is crucial. That was hard for me for a little while – figuring out what that balance was. Now that I’ve done all the work on myself, I’ve been able to surround myself with people who I trust. It seems simple, but it’s the hardest thing to do for some reason.
Taylor Magazine: Do you have any massive ‘pinch me’ moments or career highlights?
Olivia Lane: I live in every moment, so I don’t know if I’ve had any big highlight just because I’m not sure I look at life like that quite yet. Maybe once my career hits the stratosphere… but I’m really proud of myself for doing the work I’m doing, putting out this new music especially. I can see that it’s working and people are responding to it.
Taylor Magazine: So with your new music, if someone hadn’t heard you before, how would you describe it in three words?
Olivia Lane: I would say relatable, approachable and vulnerable.
Taylor Magazine: What do you do when you’re not making music – if you had a day off how would you spend it?
Olivia Lane: I would wake up, brew myself a nice pot of coffee to start with. Then I might go on a hike, maybe with my boyfriend. We’ve been doing long distance for two and a half years, so he’d be in Nashville with me – that would be wonderful. So I would spend time with him, maybe in the night we would see some friends and family. I’m so close with my family, so just hanging with them and having some wine and a home cooked meal would be perfect. Super chill!
Taylor Magazine: When you’re touring, what do you miss most about home?
Olivia Lane: I think just my bed! There’s nothing more comfortable than your own bed. So, I guess just being comfortable. When you’re on tour you’re constantly being thrown into new situations – I definitely have a palate for it because that’s just the kind of person I am, but you don’t realise how tired you are until you get home. Then you’re like, ‘oh wow I’m just gonna pass out for five days!’
Taylor Magazine: Who is on your music playlist at the moment?
Olivia Lane: I’m a creature of habit – but I’m liking Ariana Grande’s new stuff, John Mayer, Taylor Swift, Carole King, The Eagles – I’m all over the place! I’m such a melting pot of music. There’s this new band called LAUV – they’re really great too.
Taylor Magazine: How does it feel performing in the UK? Is it something you ever thought you’d do?
Olivia Lane: I’d never thought I’d get to do this. It’s nerve-racking, because you never know how it’s going to go when you put yourself out into a new market. I really love the people over here – they really care about the songs, and really care about more than just ‘tell us your name, where you’re from, okay bye’. They have genuine interest in the songs, which is great.
Taylor Magazine: How do you practice self care on the road?
Olivia Lane: I get sleep when I can, as well as doing things that make me happy. I’ll find a local coffee shop, sit there and have a meal and get some time to myself. I love exploring the culture, getting out and trying new foods at new, different restaurants.
Taylor Magazine: What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?
Olivia Lane: So many things! Mainly just that you’ll figure it out. Don’t try to be such a control freak and get off your phone, look around a little bit more – I need to tell myself that now too!
Taylor Magazine: What are you most looking forward to, what’s coming up next?
Olivia Lane: I’m looking forward to putting out an EP in April. I have enough music for two albums right now, but I really feel proud of the songs coming out at the minute. I’m just excited to keep telling the story – more touring, we’re trying to be in the UK every six months. So, hopefully I’ll be here again towards the end of the summer!