Nashville, I’m bringing you yet another non-household name that you need to know. Olivia Lane is a young, pop-country singer fresh on the scene. Her sound is very Taylor Swift-gone-rogue, without the awkward rapping that nobody is too sure about. It’s an edgy, but still mainstream take on the subgenre.
The mischievousness in her lyrics makes her out to be a fun artist with a target audience of 13-25. The single I discovered was “Wrong Girl.” It’s about her meeting a guy who has no idea what he’s getting into. I heard the song and decided I needed to meet her.
How did you make your way to Nashville?
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I was sort of a suburb kid, so I grew up in West Houston, and I actually moved out to Los Angeles when I was 16. I begged my parents to move so I could do acting and singing. I did two years of high school in LA, and I did four years at the University of Southern California, where I did theater and songwriting.
I graduated in 2013, packed up my car, drove across country with my two best guy friends and went to Bonnaroo. I remember watching Paul McCartney, and I was like, "Oh my gosh, I belong. This is where I belong."
I've been back to California for work and to see friends, but I've been here for four-and-a-half years. I love it. I think Nashville is a really great midway point between the Houston and LA vibes. I feel like Nashville always has something going on, but you can still get away and not feel like you're missing out on everything.
So far in Nashville, you've recorded some singles. You've been on a couple of radio tours. How are things going so far?
So probably the second and third year I was in Nashville, I was on the road. I was gone about two to three weeks out of the month. I thought it was important for me to go on the road and learn about myself, learn about what kind of music I wanted to put out there, what my fans saw in me…
Because I am an independent artist, I kind of had to do things my own independent way. So I was on the road with my manager … and basically you go on the road with one to two musicians who are your band. You walk into a conference room.
There's people sitting around a table. You perform at the end of the conference. You get to chat for a bit, and then you're like at the very end of the conference table and they're all sitting in front of you being quiet. It's such a weird environment to open your heart to people who may or may not like you.
When I was walking into the room as an independent, that's already one strike, like, "Oh gosh, she's an independent artist. I don't know if we're going to like her or not…" But then I'm also a female, that's like two strikes. So I was walking into the room already kind of losing, because for some reason, and I don't know what the answer is, but females are just not getting the love on country radio.
Why is that, do you think? Why are country females having such a hard time getting traction on country radio right now?
You know, I don't know the exact answer. I have my suspicions. I do believe this, but I think it's too easy to say, "Oh, good music will just rise to the top." You know what? I hear good music every single day coming out of this town. Part of me does not believe that. I know so many women here who are waiting in the wings.
I really do think it's a mixture of having the good music, having the right people around you to get the music into the right hands, which means basically being in the country game. It's almost like you have to be at a label because they have so much power, and when an independent starts to rise, they either sign that artist because they want a part of it, or they squash you. That was pretty much my experience.
Also, you have to be able to sell the goods. You have to have the confidence, and you have to be able to put that music to life. Another necessary part is being a personable artist... You have to check every single box for them to even remotely think about giving you a chance. And even when you check all the boxes, it still might not work out. That's the most infuriating thing.
So let's talk about your music. What sets you apart from everyone else right now?
That's always a tough question for an artist, especially me, because some days I wake up one way, like, "Oh, I love this pop/country stuff." And then some days I'm like, "I just love Patsy Cline and the traditional stuff." But for me I definitely am that pop/country vein.
I'm a very positive person. My energy, I just have like an overabundance of energy that I was given in birth. I'm not exactly sure where it comes from.
My idols are Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston, Patsy Cline, LeAnn Rimes, Shania Twain, all of the women who were very unapologetically themselves and just putting their personality out there through their music and let their treasure shine. You know, they just let themselves shine and they have the confidence.
I think my music is starting to take on that Olivia character, that part of me, where I'm digging deeper emotionally into relationships in my life and growing up, but there's always going to be that special
Olivia Lane positivity fairy dust sprinkled on top, because I'm not the kind of person to sit in the corner and cry about my emotions and write a song of how miserable I am. I deal with the misery, and then the song comes afterwards after I've healed.
So what about your new single? When is that dropping?
Yes, October 20th the song is out. The music video is dropping on the same day. This song is called “Devil and You”… It's loud, it's rocking, it's in-your-face, it's dramatic, and it's showing a little bit more of a sensitive side to me.
The song is basically ... you know that experience when in movies where somebody's trying to make a decision and they have a devil on their shoulder and an angel on their shoulder? And obviously the devil's like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, do that, it's going to be way more fun," and the angel's like, "I don't know. Maybe you shouldn't."
That's what this song is about. Should I go down this road of hanging out with this "I know this man is bad for me" kind of guy? Should I do it? I don't know. That's what this song is talking about.
To follow Olivia Lane’s music, check out her website olivialane.com.