WHO: Our Next Up Artist of the Week is Olivia Holt!
WHY: Olivia Holt’s first love has always been music. A Southern girl, born in Tennessee and raised in Mississippi, Olivia’s earliest memories include making up songs with her musician dad (who played in a hair band in the ’80s) in the car on the way to kindergarten and eventually performing with him onstage. “My dad is my biggest musical influence for sure,” Olivia says. “He’s played music my whole life, all different kinds, and he has supported me from day one, encouraging me to explore all forms of creative expression.”
Olivia has done just that over the course of her career. She fell in love with singing and acting after performing in Annie when she was nine. “I played an orphan named July, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life,” Olivia says. “I remember it so vividly. I wanted to continue acting and singing, and I did everything I possibly could to get there.”
Professionally, acting opportunities came up first and Olivia had a name for herself starring in various TV/film projects when she was approached to record songs for the Girl vs. Monster soundtrack including “Had Me @ Hello” which was a #1 hit at Radio Disney. Shortly thereafter, Olivia got the call from Hollywood Records. “The opportunity to make original music just presented itself,” she says. “It happened completely organically.”
Olivia’s debut EP, simply titled OLIVIA will be released by Hollywood Records on July 15th. The five songs reflect her love for pop, but also her being “a total sucker for soul, country, rock, and alternative.” They also mark the singer’s first foray into sharing her own experiences, rather than those of the characters she plays. “I'm a storyteller,” she says. “And taking simple moments of my life and transforming them into something more tender and unforgettable on this EP has been so special.”
“Thin Air” will take listeners back to a time when they fell for someone — “when everyone notices a spark in you, because something about this person makes you smile a little bigger and laugh a little louder,” Holt says. On the flip side, “In The Dark” is about letting your guard down and being vulnerable with someone and not being afraid. “It’s definitely one of the more raw and emotional tunes on the EP,” Holt says. Anyone trying to get over someone but can’t even when a new love comes along will relate to “History.” “It’s not that the new person isn't wonderful, but you have this undeniable past with the other person and you can’t shake it.” And finally, Holt describes “What You Love” as “where the fire started inside of me. This angry fire. A hurt fire that I wanted so desperately to put out, but knowing that even if I get a little burned, I learned something. That, ultimately, life just simply goes on.”
FUN FACT: Olivia Holt starred in the Disney XD series Kickin' It, Disney Channel Original Movie Girl vs. Monster, and the Disney Channel Original Series I Didn't Do It!
SOUNDS LIKE: Robyn meets Katy Perry!
Check out Olivia Holt's interview with Alex below:
Watch Olivia Holt perform "Phoenix":
Olivia performs "In The Dark":
Olivia covers Selena Gomez's "Hands to Myself":