Walthamstow's Olivia Dean has had a quick road to hundreds of thousands of streams: signing to London label AMF after her song ‘Reason to Stay’ picked up all sorts of online word-of-mouth hype, she released her lovely EP 'Password Change' late last year, and, more recently, her single 'Crosswords' - a song about infatuation. Get to know her a bit better ahead of her appearance at this weekend's Homeschool.
Hi Olivia, how's it going? This virus business is a bit weird innit, what are you up day to day at the mo?
It’s a weird time, isn't it! So it's just me, myself and I in my flat at the moment so my day to day is made up of lots of tea, finding and listening to new music and yoga! I’m getting to grips with Logic and teaching myself how to produce, practising guitar and piano and doing a few Zoom pub quizzes with my mates too.
Has the lockdown impacted many of your plans?
Yeah, lockdown has thrown a lot up in the air. I was in the middle of recording an EP when this all started so I’m trying to finish as much of it as I can remotely. I was supposed to go to LA for the first time ever a few weeks back! I’ve got all my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to go in the future.
It's been a while since you dropped your debut EP, how did you find the release? Was it a good experience for you?
Honestly, it was quite overwhelming at first, letting go of something so personal to me and putting it out into the world was a new experience for me. In some ways, it felt quite exposing but now it's been out for a little while I feel really proud of it and very happy with the response I got back.
Are you working on any new projects at the moment?
Yes!! I’ve just about finished a new EP which should come out later this year, that's the plan at least. I can’t wait for people to hear it.
What do you most enjoy writing about? Do songs find you, or do you usually have to find them?
I enjoy writing songs about people and the things they say, I’m interested in little details and I think I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic. I love love and the things it makes you do. Little bits of lyrics often just pop into my head and then when I get a chance I'll sit down and flesh them out into something more.
What's been the highlight of your time making music so far, do you think?
I might have to go with the last gig I did before we went into lockdown. It’s the first headline show I’d done in a little while and when I started singing my newest single 'Crosswords', everyone started singing along with me and I haven’t really had that before - it was super special for me.
Is being a musician living up to the hype?
For the most part yes! Being in lockdown has really made me appreciate how lucky I am to get to make music with good people and do something I love as a job. Sometimes I put too much pressure on myself though, I can be very self-critical but I’m learning to manage it!
When did you first realise you wanted to make music? What did you listen to while you were growing up?
It sounds cliche but I don’t really remember seeing myself doing anything else. I’ve been singing since I was like eight, my dad used to play a lot of music in the kitchen & in the car growing up. It was all kinds of stuff from Aretha Franklin to Thin Lizzy, loads of reggae and Al Green too.
Are you creative in non-musical ways too?
I wish! I enjoy making movies for my friends on iMovie and little documentaries sometimes. I am trying to learn how to DJ but I’m no good yet.
What do you do for fun?
I love listening and finding new music on Spotify, I can literally spend hours there. Aside from music, I’m really into riding my bike and I love a game of pool.
What's the first thing you're going to do when the lockdown ends?
Last week in Sainsbury's I had a bit of an impulse buy moment and I bought a rounders set. So I’m gonna organise a FAT rounders game on London Fields or something and get a little BBQ going.
Is there anything else we should know?
FUN FACT! The heart of a shrimp is located in its head.
Olivia Dean is taking part in new online festival Homeschool, which runs from 8th-10th May - visit homeschoolfest.com for details.