By Delaney Clifford
Olivia Grace is a fresh new musician that’s ready to be heard. Hailing from Maryland but taking current strides in New York City, Grace has set her sights on breaking the mold with her airy, melodic voice playing into your dreams. With her three song EP “Heart Shaped Bruises,” Grace showed us her powerful voice, boasting multiple influences from separate genres and creating a versatile sound that any listener can get behind. With the upcoming release of her new material, I got the opportunity to talk with the young artist to get some insider information on what we could expect from the upcoming release of “Blackbird.” Here’s what she had to say:
Can you tell us some of your musical influences?
Growing up, my dad would play a lot of jazz music. He loved Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole— all the jazz guys. My mom, however, would play artists like Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney, and Joni Mitchell— so I got the best of both worlds growing up. I listen to a lot of various styles of music, though. I’ve always admired artists like Regina Spektor, Agnes Obel, CocoRosie, etc. My influences are constantly changing. I hear music coming out now that I really connect with and get inspired by.
With your release of Heart Shaped Bruises back in February, you described a story of a lost love of some kind, and the recovery from that hurt. Can you tell us a little about that story?
Well, when I wrote that song there was a lot imagery in my mind. It felt like watching a movie that hasn’t been created yet. The song wasn’t really created from a specific situation I was personally going through. At first, the song was inspired by certain words. I wanted it to be kind of playful, using words and phrases like “bubble gum balls and a chocolate heart” or “curled eyelashes flutter away.” As I writing it, the combination of the chord changes and melody together felt really nostalgic to me— especially when it goes into the chorus. It changes tempo, rhythm, and key. The whole song kind of became about creating this feeling of transporting through time, reflecting on something that once felt magical, whatever that may be for the listener, and reliving that— like having a really great dream that you wake up from.
With your new single, listeners can prepare for a bit of a darker sound than they’ve grown accustomed to. What prompted that change?
I think the sound started to get really dark once I got into the studio. I originally wrote it on the piano. It already had this underlying chaotic feeling to it, but the production really brought that out. It just felt right. We started playing with beats and harmonies, and it just got darker and darker, but I really liked it.
In your new single, you feature a lot of animal imagery; can you tell us about that choice and how it ties into the message of the song?
I had this line stuck in my head that I wanted to write a song using— “into the jungle, into the wild.” So I already had this jungle imagery in my mind, and when I was writing the song, it got kind of chaotic. When you listen towards the end of the song, it starts speeding up pretty intensely, and I wanted others to feel that same level of chaos I felt when I was writing it. The song can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. For me, the blackbird is a symbol of a guardian and someone you wouldn’t expect to be there for you even though they end up being the one to come through. The lines “snakes at your feet wrapped in a pile, pulling you in won’t you stay for a while, until the blackbird flies the mile…” symbolizes the people who aren’t good for you. They aren’t trustworthy— they’re snakes, and sometimes you might not see that right away. They’re this representation of deceit. The jungle and animal imagery just felt like a good way to get this message across, even though it wasn’t originally the inspiration for how the song came about being created.
Can you tell us about what’s next for you with this new release?
I have some things in the works, but nothing I can confirm just yet. I’m very excited, though! Listeners can hear “Blackbird” out everywhere September 30th.