Talking with Olivia Ooms made me wish I could be a California country girl. Growing up in the Midwest there is no beach in sight, just miles of corn rows and silos for the eyes to see. Olivia made me picture waking up to a beach with miles of ocean and open sky for the eyes to imagine endless possibility. Olivia has done just that with her sixteen years of life so far. Starting out in the West Coast pop music world was fun for Olivia’s young self, but she longed for something different. When she was introduced to country music it all fell into place and she carved out music of her own. Olivia shows it is good to bring something different to where your roots, or in her case where the water runs deep. Read on to learn her start in country music, the big opportunities she has experienced so far and her plans for the years ahead…
Q. Take me back to the beginning of your career, tell me how you found your love and talent for music and decided to make it a career aspiration?
A. “I was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California. Considering I live about five minutes from the beach, a lot of people question that I’m a country singer. I started in pop music and would go up to LA for auditions when I was younger. When I was about twelve years old I decided pop music wasn’t for me. I wasn’t finding love and joy in it. My guitar teacher and my brother introduced me to country music and I immediately fell in love with it.”
Q. What has it been like building your music career in California? How has it been making trips to Nashville?
A. “It’s completely different (building a country music career), most of the time when you work with people from LA and on the West Coast they are different from people in Nashville. They are more pop oriented and it’s harder to find a producer. Last year I had my first trip out to Nashville to meet people in the industry. Since then, I have gone back many times and I love it there.”
“When I started working with my publicist Scott Adkins of Adkins Publicity, I showed him my music video for my original song ‘Thoughts of You’ and he was blown away. He showed it to a CMT executive and said he wanted it on CMT and part of the artist discovery program. Then a couple months later it’s part of the 12-pack countdown and has changed my life being a CMT discovery artist.”
“I went to CMA fest for the first time in 2018 and I was not sure what to expect. I had so many performances and interview opportunities. It was crazy going back into the green room, seeing red carpets and meeting people who are so musically inclined.”
Q. Who’s your biggest musical influence?
A. “I’m a big fan of Carrie Underwood, just everything about her personality, talent and I look up to her success. Also, Maren Morris, I love her voice and music.”
Q. How would you describe your musical style?
A. “I mainly write my songs from personal experiences and feelings. Things my friends say or that I encounter. Every time I’m out and I hear something that sparks interest in my mind, I’ll write it down in my notes. Maybe later I’ll go back to it and make a song out of it. I try to keep my songs as real and genuine as possible so they are relatable to other people. I get responses from people that say they listened to a song and it fit perfectly, that makes my day.”
Q. What was the inspiration for your latest project? What does it mean to you?
A. “There is a specific order to the songs. It starts off with ‘Poison’ it’s about growing up and coming into your own. Not wanting to forget who you were as a little kid, but becoming a strong young woman.”
“The next song is ‘The One’ that’s the love song when you find a boy you like. After that is ‘Thoughts of You’ the breakup song because after any good first relationship, there is a breakup most of the time.”
“Then there is ‘Finally Me’ the song when you’re not sad anymore, you don’t need to rely on anyone else for your own happiness, so it’s an anthem like powerful song. The last song ‘Anything’ is a take on the world I had and wanted to see if anyone else could relate to it. I like to make my observations known, instead of keeping them to myself.”
Q. What do you enjoy or look forward to most about writing, recording or performing music? Tell me more about the process.
A. “My favorite thing is sitting on my bed, playing guitar and writing my lyrics and chords on my computer. There’s something so nice about sitting up at midnight and pouring out my feelings and thoughts I’ve written down on my notes for song ideas.
That’s the start of my writing process, then working with a talented and creative producer like who I worked with on my EP.”
“She was so great and we got to work with musicians from Belmont University. It was a really cool thing to see us all come together. I was giving my ideas and they were giving feedback. I gave them examples of what I wanted and it worked out so beautifully. Seeing something come from just a demo of a guitar and me singing to a full band with harmonies. There is something so surreal about working with live musicians and seeing your artwork come to life.”
Q. What is a memorable experience for you in your music career and how has it impacted you?
A. “I had an opportunity to go to Ashland, Kentucky to open for Tanya Tucker. She is legendary and started when she was younger than me. I’ve looked up to her for a long time and opening up for her was a surreal experience. Unexpectedly she invited me on stage for the final song of her show ‘Delta Dawn’ and no one else knew. I sang with her and it was a mind-blowing experience. That could be me in years, seeing so many people that know the words to her songs and have loved her endlessly since she was 13 years old.”
Q. What advice would you give to someone who may have a dream in music, but is struggling with taking the steps to make it a reality?
A. “I think believing in yourself and finding a good support system that encourages you to pursue what you want to is a great thing. I have a supportive family and friends that encourage me. If you think you’re too shy and afraid, try to find those people who will push you to go the extra mile. If you’re a song writer, keep writing and if you’re not I encourage you to try it because you’ll never get good at it if you don’t try.”
Q. How do you use Vlogs on You Tube to interact and build a friendship with fans?
A. “I started vlogs when my friend from school said she wanted to do it and she never did. A lot of people start YouTube channels to try and become famous, but I just did it so my fans can see a more personable side of me and the goofy person I am. I try not to take life too seriously, I try to have fun and live life to the fullest. I think doing vlogs can give people an extra behind the scenes look to what my life is like. It’s not perfect, but fun and adventurous. I like that people can connect with me on a different level than you can with just a one-minute Instagram video.”
Q. Can you tell me some of your exciting plans for 2018? What long-term goals do you have for your career?
A. “I’m working on recording a few songs in Nashville. I’m planning on dropping a single and I’m so excited for this song. It is so impactful, empowering and such an anthem. The meaning and everything behind it is so great. It’s not a love song, which is good because I have a habit of writing a lot of love songs. A long-term goal is to perform at The Grand Ole Opry and Stagecoach.”
Be sure to follow Olivia Ooms on her website and social media to learn of new music, shows and day in the life vlogs!
Photo Credit to Olivia Ooms Facebook and Instagram