Today our Spotlight – Olivia Rose. This Edmonton native has been hooked on music since an early age. Here new release Gold is out now and it’s a fun one. Check out what Olivia had to say when she sat down with us now.
What got you started in music? I know you come from a big family, is that something you did with them or more with friends?
Well, I’ve always been a very theatrical kid … singing since I was 3, writing music and performing since I was 8, and I got my first guitar when I was 9. No one else in my family plays or writes music, and most of the kids in my hometown played sports growing up!
As a matter of fact, I recall feeling quite lonely and isolated, constantly having to miss out on things to drive up to Edmonton many nights of the week for co-writes and open mics. But I wouldn’t change it for the world and I’ve made so many wonderful friends who share the same passions as me.
Growing up what are some of the major artists that influenced you? Who would be an artist that most people would be surprised you enjoy?
Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift are definitely two incredible women who played a big role in my career! I really enjoy the band Rainbow Kitten Surprise (funny name I know) – they’re a really incredible alternative rock indie band out of North Carolina!
Being a proud Albertan, tell us a bit about life in Elk Point, and what was it like to leave it all behind to go to Edmonton?
I absolutely love my hometown of Elk Point. If you were to picture what you think a town of 1,500 in eastern Alberta looks like, you get Elk Point. The only name-brand restaurant we have is a Subway and our town statue is, of course, an elk! My entire family lives there, so it was hard to make the decision to move but I always knew I would have to some day to further my career.
Was there a huge culture shock?
Definitely. Walking into Victoria School of the Arts on the first day of grade 9 was terrifying! Around 2000 kids go to that school and It’s like I was in a movie. But I definitely came into my own and going to an arts school was the best high school experience ever.
You have a remarkably interesting “big break” moment when the iconic George Canyon pulled you on stage at only 14! What was that like and can you tell us a bit about how you felt?
I was the intermission performer at the Shell Theatre in Fort Saskatchewan. When I was backstage after my performance, George Canyon passed me and said “Oh hey, you’re Olivia Rose right?” and I was just starstruck that he even knew my name.
So about halfway through watching his show, he mentioned my name and got the audience to applaud for me and then said “Is Olivia in the crowd?”
I think I shouted from my back-row seat saying “Hi Mr. Canyon!”
And he invited me down on stage. I brought my guitar with me but he said, “Why ‘d you bring that up here? Here you go,” and then he handed me his guitar!
He asked me to sing a song for everyone and having just released my first single, “Make Up to Mud”, that’s what I sang! It was wonderful and I think it really goes to show how the bigger artists can really help out up-and-coming musicians because I’ll never forget that!
Your single “Put it Like That” has over 120k plays on Spotify alone. What was it like to see the numbers just climb and climb like that?
It was super incredible! I got very lucky and the song got added to 3 Spotify editorial playlists and that’s what really helped boost the numbers.
Your new single called “Gold” hits radio on March 15th what can fans expect? Tell us a bit about writing it?
Yes! Before writing “Gold”, I was writing a lot of sad, breakup songs but I had this line stuck in my head for a while, “you are gold baby, solid gold” and I knew I wanted to write a really positive love song! I brought to my co-writer David Borys and he loved the idea, so we wrote a no-strings-attached, dive-in head-first kind of love song that is now out in the world as “Gold”!
You now have several teaser singles you have put out. Can we expect an upcoming album soon?
I’ve definitely been spending a ton of time writing songs and making plans for an album! I’m not sure yet how soon it’ll be, but it’s something you can definitely expect!
Your music is being critically received as well. You won the Edmonton Music Award for Rising Star in 2016 and 2017. How does it feel being celebrated that way?
Winning Rising Star two years in a row at the EMA’s was absolutely incredible! The second year, I didn’t even have anything planned to say because I was rooting for my friend, so it definitely came as a shock. It’s very rewarding being handed the award and having the opportunity to speak in front of nearly everyone in the Edmonton music scene!
This year you received a nomination at the 10th Annual Country Music Alberta Awards. That is no mean feat at your age. What was it like to see your name alongside such big acts and names that you admire?
It was wonderful! It’s always great to being recognized by your association and your peers in something as big as that!
You recently participated in a live session with Nicole Rayy and other Hidden Beats female country artists that we have worked with. How did you connect with them, and what was it like to participate in an atmosphere that was all women?
It was so much fun! I’ve known Nicole Rayy over social media for a long time and we’ve met a few times at CCMAs! It’s always a great time when a bunch of incredibly talented female songwriters can get together and share music.
2020 was such a unique year. Tell us a bit about playing in 2020, switching to virtual and not having a live audience?
It’s definitely very different and takes a while getting used to. A lot of the energy I have onstage comes from feeling the buzz from the audience so it’s a really hard switch that you have to make mentally when you’re just playing to the computer!
With things looking slightly more positive for this summer, what are your plans for 2021 and how can you try to plan in the unknown?
I’ve kind of accepted the fact that we are unable to plan for the future right now, which is very hard as an artist. I’ve still been applying to festivals that are still on track to go on and I’ll just spend lots of time working on song writing and the back end of everything that goes into a career in music!
A little birdie told me that you are a big hockey fan, and while I know you cannot stand the oilers, who are your top teams to watch?
Well, for the record… not only do I love hockey, but I absolutely LOVE the Oilers and watch them almost every time they play! I also love the Montreal Canadians (go Habs!) because that’s my dad’s favourite team and he’s the reason I love watching hockey!
You and your partner Drew have been together about 3 years; what are some of the difficulties being a young couple together in lockdown?
Aw, it’s so sweet that you know that! It’ll be 3 years in June. We are currently long-distance and have been for almost a year! So we didn’t really get to spend too much time in lockdown. It’s been hard but going through this past year together has definitely strengthened our relationship.
Having done a tone of these style of interviews, what is one thing you wish that people knew about you?
Something that people should know about me and all the musicians they look up to is that it’s not as easy as it looks on social media. We might look like we’re always thriving and constantly doing everything right, but the truth is everyone goes through hardships and this is not an easy industry to be in.
What are some coping mechanisms that are helping you stay grounded this winter for staying healthy and happy during Covid? And you cannot cheat and say music!
Hahaha! I know you said I can’t say music, so I will say song writing. I’ve gone from having maybe 4 co-writes a month to around 3 or 4 a week It’s been such a wonderful escape from the real world to sit down for a few hours and just create. So that – and also reality TV & takeout food!
Lastly as our favorite independent and smaller businesses have been hit hard this Covid season. What are some of your local favorite places to hype up and give a shout out to?
Here’s a list of small businesses in and around Edmonton that are AMAZING and deserve all the hype!
- Arcadia Brewing Co.
- Solaire Soul Collective
- Pretty In The City
- Bamboo Ballroom
- The Aviary
- Fleisch Delikatessen
- Red Ribbon Boutique
- Yellowhead Brewery
- Sea Change Brewing Co.
- SYC Brewing Co.
- Rig Hand Distillery
Thank you so much for the fun questions!
Spotlight – Olivia Rose is a wrap! Big thanks to Olivia for taking the time to chat with us
As always check out he new release Gold right now!
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