The latest single from Olivia Lynn has marked her as one-to-watch on the UK Country scene. ‘Ain’t It a Shame’ is an empowering song full of attitude and superb put-downs as Olivia tears down the men who seek to control female opinion and fashion. In this interview, she speaks with passion and enthusiasm about her journey in music so far, the female country artists who inspire her, and the anticipation ahead of her first “real” gig in a couple of weeks’ time.
Hi Olivia! Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers by telling us a bit about yourself?
Hi! So, I’m 17 years old and from Luton, Bedfordshire. I’m a country-pop singer/songwriter and ever since I could make a noise I was singing! I like to think I’m smart, confident, funny, articulate, and with a heart of gold.
When did you first become interested in music, and who were your musical influences growing up?
My first memories of becoming interested in music are around the age of 4. I remember singing my first solo ‘Twinkle, Twinkle…’ at my nursery nativity and really enjoying being on stage and everyone clapping me. But even before that I always loved to sing and dance around to music – it didn’t matter what music it was, where I was or who I was with, I’d dance and sing along in my own way!
I’d say my musical influences growing up were Dolly Parton – I loved listening to her with my nana; it was like listening to stories – Shania Twain – my nana always sung her songs on karaoke – Lady Gaga, for her fantastic stage presence and costumes, Taylor Swift, just because she was the mixture of pop & country that I love, and my mum 🥰
Could you tell us a bit about your journey in music so far?
Unfortunately, I got bullied so terribly at school that I was in and out constantly which affected my attendance. I endured not only psychological bullying but physical too*, so my mum pulled me out of school and I threw myself into my music, using my thoughts and feelings to write my first song, ‘China Doll’, which has never been produced (yet).
Covid lockdown happened, which was when my social media took off thanks to posting my singing and acting, and I gained over 100000 followers. There was so much love that came with that but also so much hate. Unfortunately, I started to spiral down into a dark place but, thanks to my love of singing and music, as cliche as it sounds, I had a purpose so, once again, I threw myself into writing and performing more songs. During this time my mum came across an audition for a girl band with Kamedia. I auditioned but was not successful so kept singing and writing to keep myself occupied and focused. Then, out of the blue, they contacted me again asking if I would be interested in a solo career as a country-pop star. I saw this as an incredible opportunity to bind both genres (which I love) together to showcase my own music and spread awareness through my stories.
Before I knew it, I had released my debut single ‘Modern Girl’, an anthem to where I want to go in life. ‘Modern Girl’ went to No.1 on the Country iTunes Charts, going above and beyond what I was expecting! From there I released three more, which all hit the Top 10, which I was over the moon about, particularly my latest song, ‘Ain’t that a Shame’, which was released in September this year, as this was written totally by myself.
I was due to play my first festival, Country Trail Music, in Mallorca this year but unfortunately it was postponed till next year but I’ve been doing lots of local gigs to get my songs out there but still waiting on my first festival to come knocking on my door.
What is it about country music in particular that attracted you to the genre?
It was Dolly Parton and her wonderful storytelling that got me into country. All credit to my nana for this as she used to sing Dolly’s songs to me and play them in the car (still does) and sing country music on karaoke at parties. The idea of telling your own personal stories & journey via music really appeals to me and country music allows you to do this.
You released your latest single, ‘Ain’t It a Shame’, on September 30th. Could you tell us about the story behind the song?
I wrote the song because I was sick and tired of being told by boys/men what I could and couldn’t wear and what I should and shouldn’t say and I wanted to prove to them that I can do what I want! You’d be surprised how many boys/men think it’s ok to message via social media saying these things, and I’m like, Hello, what’s it to do with you!?! I’m all for empowering us girls and my song allows this!
You are due to play a BBC Introducing gig hosted at Bedford Esquires on October 29th. How important has the support been from your local radio stations and regional venues so far in your music career?
I am so excited for this BBC Introducing gig and I’m so grateful to be able to perform there. You couldn’t begin to understand how much the local radio stations, podcasts, interviews and so on have meant to me. They have helped me get to where I am now by pushing my name and music out there, and if it wasn’t for them and their support I wouldn’t be here listening to my music on radio, seeing my words on paper, and telling my stories. I also gig at a lot of charity events for this reason. Every bit of exposure I can get I grab! And thankfully it’s led up to my first real gig with BBC Introducing.
Finally, if you could pick one female country music artist to write with, who would it be and why?
You may be surprised at this as most people would think I’d say Dolly BUT it has to be either Shania Twain or Taylor Swift. I know you said one, however, they are two country artists that I both admire and love yet are so different. Shania is wonderful with her story telling and being that female country artist who empowers us girls (and she’s so beautiful) whereas Taylor has that element of young pop in her country music which is my genre… actually, come to think of it, how about an Olivia Lynn/ Shania Twain/ Taylor Swift collab? Now wouldn’t that be something!
Why yes it would! Thanks so much for your time!
*To hear more of Olivia’s story, click here.
Interview conducted by Gareth Williams (twitter.com/lostinbluejazz1)