With 2020 being the year Olivia Dean had been looking forward to, the 21-year-old was not deterred by the cancellation of the festivals and sets she was due to play and instead took out her bright yellow van and spread the love on her ‘From Me To You’ tour. “I just feel really grateful,” she says. “Considering it’s been a really awful year in a lot of ways, it’s almost been one of the best summers of my life.”
She refuses to rest, speaking to us during what is supposed to be her break from work. She confesses: “I like talking to people, this is where I get myself in trouble… I need to learn to say yes to less.” But it is this dedication that has allowed her to thrive despite the tumultuous time we find ourselves in.
Her ingenuity doesn’t stop at creating her own, transportable venue, but is seen in her recently filmed music video for ‘The Hardest Part’. Playing the role of all three of The Supremes, Olivia not only paid homage to her beloved Motown, but her family’s childhood tradition of singing their songs into hairbrushes. And if the pressure of perfecting this vision wasn’t hard enough, she explained: “I had to learn the dances over ZOOM. We organised the whole video over ZOOM. And we managed to, just as the restrictions were easing up, shoot the video and get it all done.” -
And it was this song that offered the perfect explanation of the power of songwriting. “I’m so glad I wrote that,” she says of the song, “it made me think, this break up is for real. You can’t go back. You must keep going. That song really helped me get through that period of my life."
As for next steps, Olivia really has kept on going. Her next single, ‘Echo’ is out now, the second EP will be with us before the end of the year and a debut album is in the works. “I’m starting to write (the album) but not in a really pressured way. I think that it will be something that will take quite a long time because I’m quite a perfectionist.” But, if her previous releases are anything to go by and with the upcoming angrier tone of ‘Echo’ showing her versatility as an artist, it’s bound to be an incredible release from the rising star.
WHAT: Honest love songs.
3 Songs: ‘The Hardest Part’, ‘Reason To Stay’, ‘Baby Come Home’
FACT: Olivia’s hamster is called Stella Artois.
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Words: Megan Walder
Photography: Joel Smedley
Stylist: Zarina Shukri
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