When artists present the whole picture, you really get to know them. At one moment, country songstress Olivia Lane might gawk flirtatiously at her man in a cheeky chorus worthy of a hashtag. In the next, the Houston-born and Nashville-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and performer may pen a verse targeted at mental health struggles. This all-encompassing and no holds-barred pointof-view endears her to both fans and critics alike with widespread praise from Rolling Stone, Taste of Country, Billboard, Music Connection, and more in addition to a cumulative stream tally in excess of 18 million by 2019.
A combination of vivacity, vulnerability, and vitality drive her music.
“When you listen to me, I hope you know it’s okay to feel everything you need to feel,” she explains. “Songwriting reminds us it’s alright to be vulnerable—or to sing out loud at a bar! I’m inviting you to stay with me for three minutes and be inside those deep emotions, if you need to. I genuinely love what I’m doing. I hope you can connect.”
She started entertaining during her formative years. In order to “channel emotions,” mom enrolled Olivia in community theater. A part as Jan in Grease proved transformative as she “fell in love with music.” Stoking that passion, the self-described “musical millennial melting pot” immersed herself in records by Shania Twain, Trisha Yearwood, Frank Sinatra, Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, and Taylor Swift between learning guitar and piano. In junior year, she convinced her parents to move to Los Angeles inspired by “other Texans who made the move like Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez.”
A songwriting class at USC opened her eyes to the possibilities of telling a personal story in lyrics “rather than just playing a part.” Upon graduation, she traded the City of Angels for Music City and hustled her way into countless Nashville songwriting sessions. Along the way, she developed a style of her own gleefully steeped in country tradition, rock energy, and hints of pop ambition.
The 2015 single “Steal Me Away” introduced her to audiences followed by “You Part 2” and the selftitled Olivia Lane EP a year later. She spent the next couple of years on the road “in a van with four dudes, playing every single venue we could.”
However, in the middle of this whirlwind, she reached a breaking point.
“My body literally started shutting down on me,” she admits. “I was unhappy on the road, and my voice was suffering. I just felt like I wasn’t getting where I needed to be, so I went back to Nashville and took a break. I got into talk therapy and changed everything around me. I felt like I needed a new chapter and a new beginning. I went back to the raw inclination and right energy of just wanting to be a songwriter. If I didn’t know who I was, how could I expect audiences to? So, I got in touch with what I needed to say as an artist. On the other side of this, two years later, I feel like my old self again—just wiser.”
That brings us to her 2019 EP, The One. Powered by charismatic spirit and confident delivery, the seventrack collection seamlessly blends hummable hooks and delightful twang. She teased out the project with “You Got Me,” which quickly racked up 1.5 million Spotify streams, and its follow-up “Hey 3AM.” Meanwhile, the lead-off and single “So Good It Hurts” hinges on a steady beat and warm synths as it struts towards a guitar-backed fiery and flirty hook, “Go on put me in the dirt, he looks so good it hurts.”
“While this self-love and self-awareness journey happened for me, I started dating my boyfriend,” she elaborates. “I’ve known him since I was 15. We went to high school together. I was obsessed with him, but we never dated. We were just super close. Two years ago, he was like, ‘You’re my best friend, I love you, and I want to be with you.’ I’d been so entrenched in all of this vulnerability, I wanted to write a big and fun song describing him with his snapbacks and pearl snaps. It’s a strong woman saying she’s all about her man! It’s almost objectifying him in a playful sense,” she grins.
Elsewhere, banjo and piano entwine on the inspiring and nostalgic anthem “The Cape.” The track culminates in the reclamation, “Growing up doesn’t have to mean I lose the cape of faith and dream…I’m taking it back.”
On the heels of the EP, she appears on NBC’s new songwriting competition series Songland. In an episode of the primetime series, she reveals the process behind self-love affirmation “Perfect Skin” and debuts it to the world.
In the end, Olivia Lane welcomes listeners everywhere to feel alongside her.
“I just want to relate,” she leaves off. “Music is the universal language. It gets down to the core of who you are as a human. I’m available to you in my songs.”