Written by Sophie Wyatt
Earlier this year we caught up with emerging singer-songwriter Olivia Dean on her journey through lockdown and the music she was then working on. We have now had the chance to sit down once again with the flourishing artist to discuss her newly released EP ‘What Am I Gonna Do On Sundays?‘, and her festive cover for Google Nest’s Audio Session: Christmas Number 1’s.
Since releasing her first single ‘Reason to Stay’ back in 2018, Olivia has made a huge splash in the UK music scene with her unique blend of soulful tunes and truthful lyrics. She has since gone on to release several singles and her latest EP ‘What Am I Gonna Do On Sundays?‘. Speaking to Olivia back in August of this year, she told us how excited she was for the release of her EP and what was to follow, so it was only right that we first catch up on how she’s been between now and then.
‘I’ve been pretty good since we last spoke! I put out my second EP which has been such a release, I’m very happy to have those songs out in the world. The response has been so affirming.’
Since we last spoke to Olivia earlier this year, a lot has happened. Although the year has been very turbulent in many senses, Olivia’s musical career has been on an ever growing incline. With music releases, live shows/streams, and fashion campaigns with brands such as Gucci, Olivia Dean is starting to become a household name. We asked Olivia if she could pick just one of the amazing things that she has experienced this year as her top moment.
‘That is such a hard one. So many amazing things have happened to me this year and I’m so grateful. Me and my friends were trying to pinpoint our top 5 highlights of the year last night, it’s tough! I think shooting the music video for “The Hardest Part”, coming out of lockdown, to this glamorous video shoot was such a high! I had one of my best friends with me on set and we just caught eyes and cried at one point, it was a really overwhelming but beautiful day.’
Then we went on to discuss Olivia’s latest song release for Google Nest’s Audio Sessions: Christmas Number 1’s. In promotion of Google’s smart speaker range, the tech company set out to find amazing artists like Olivia, to deliver everyone some festive cheer with their renditions of a classic Christmas tune of their choosing. Naturally, we had to know the reasons behind why Olivia chose to cover this particular Christmas tune. Not only did her answer put a smile on our faces, but the fact she performed said cover in a giant sparkly cracker costume only added to her fun, festive persona.
‘Me and my band played a Christmas show last year and performed “Merry Christmas Everyone” and it was such a wholesome gig, I’ve got a really fond memory of that night. So when we got a chance to cover a festive song, it was the obvious choice for me. The lyrics really sum up the whole point of this time of year for me, “it’s the season, for love and understanding.”’
Since last Christmas Olivia’s world has completely changed. Not only has her fan base grown hugely, her musical discography has accredited her sound and lyrical story telling. While she continues to grow as an artist, we asked her where she would like to see her and her music by next Christmas.
‘Wow! In many ways, it’s been a beautiful year considering everything that has happened in the world. I try to not overthink stuff and look too far ahead, but I’d love to have completed writing my album before next Christmas! Pandemic – permitting, go on another tour and just continue being present and happy.’
And with Christmas just days away, we couldn’t let Olivia leave without a festive quick fire round on some of her favourite parts of the holidays. First of all, what are your first prominent memories of Christmas?
‘My dad’s side of the family lives out in France, I remember a lot of early Christmases spent out there. My grandad used to throw really good fancy dress parties too. Everyone would really commit to their outfits.’
What’s your favourite bit about the holidays?
‘The food! I try to have a roast dinner most weekends, it’s my favourite meal. So all the extra trimmings really get me excited.’
Do you and your family have any weird festive traditions?
‘Not really, I feel like we do all the usual christmassy things!! We always have Buck’s Fizz on Christmas morning and watch a load of movies together.’
What are your top three Christmas songs?
‘I love all the old Christmas songs, they just have this beautiful crackly and warm quality. Ella Fitzgerald’s Christmas album is the soundtrack to my December’s, “Sleigh Ride” is my favourite. I also love “This Christmas” by Donny Hathaway and “Fairytale of New York” still gets me every year too.’
Make sure to check out Olivia’s Google Nest’s Audio Session cover of ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’, and head over to her Spotify page now to listen to her newly released EP ‘What Am I Gonna Do On Sundays?’ now!