How I would react to things in my life? How would I go through heartbreak, or grieve the loss of a loved one, or celebrate the happy things in life? What would replace dancing around my apartment in celebration or wallowing in my sorrows to the saddest song I know?
Music has been a constant throughout my life and shaped who I am and how I handle my day-to-day. I often have a difficult time expressing how I feel and understanding my emotions, but music has helped guide me through them and played a huge role even when I haven’t realized it in the moment.
When I reflect on these moments that have been so formative in my life, the one thing that is always present is music.
Falling In Love.
I remember the exact moment that I first fell in love. I was in my boyfriend’s mom’s minivan down by the pier in my hometown, St. Catharines. At that point both of us lived at our parents’ houses, so we would go on night drives to get time alone together. We hadn’t been together that long, but I had had a big crush on him for quite some time. Both of us were into music and bonded over this, we would always show each other the songs that we were into at the time and that night he put on “You Are Mine” by Mutemath. I don’t know if he did it on purpose, but it was the perfect song to put on in that moment. I remember the rush of emotions that I had never felt going through my body and almost overwhelming me. I felt like I was floating and I didn’t want the song to end. I allowed myself to finally let go and fully embrace the feelings that I had inside of me.
I knew I was in love.
Growing up, my family would always have a big dinner each Sunday. It was the one time every week where we were all able to be together, eat good food, and enjoy each other's company.
It was the best.
Before and after dinner my grandma would sit at the piano and play “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven. Sometimes, I would sit on the piano bench with her and watch her play or have her teach me, other times, it was nice to simply sit and listen. I never got sick of her playing the same song over and over again. I really didn’t think much of it until she started getting weaker and didn’t play every time she came over. The last Sunday dinner that we had together, she was so happy and played piano again and laughed like she was in no pain at all. Two days later she was in the hospital, and the next day she had passed away.
It was so sudden, she was such an angel, with the kindest heart. Sunday dinners weren’t the same without her, life isn’t the same without her. I never realized how much she supported my singing until after she passed away. I was cleaning my room and I found a drawer of birthday cards that she had given me, and in each one of them she had written about how much she believed in me and my music and encouraged me to keep going. At that point in my life there was a lot of negative things happening, and I felt numb to the pain of losing my grandmother.
I don’t think I was ever able to properly grieve. I felt like I needed to be strong for other people around me but this didn’t give me the chance to deal with the sadness that came with losing someone I loved. When I was alone I was able to listen to music and this provided me with a comfort and a space where I could come to accept that she was gone. At that point in my life I didn’t imagine having a career in music. I loved singing and music was a big part of my life but I never considered it as a path. For me, the most perfect sound growing up was my grandmother playing the piano.
My uncle used to work for a local radio station in my hometown, and every year on my birthday he would shout me out and play my favourite song at the time. For about two years my favourite song was “Stop Right Now” by the Spice Girls.
For a young girl obsessed with music, getting shouted out and also having the power to play whatever song you wanted was incredible. I remember waking up on my birthday and running into the living room to tune in to his station. He would start the show by saying it was a special day because it was his niece, Nicole's birthday, and then say how old I was turning and immediately play my song. I would dance around the living room and be so happy. I’ll never forget these days and these moments. It made my birthday feel so special and got me so excited to celebrate.
There was a part of my life where I had no idea what I wanted. I had gone to school for acting, graduated and didn’t have a clear direction of what I wanted to do afterwards. I loved acting but it wasn’t truly fulfilling. There were times when I would sing and play my guitar but I never was able to focus directly on music because my insecurities got in the way and I was spending time trying to pursue acting. At the time my boyfriend’s brother Aniruddh, who was a pilot and an aspiring music producer, was looking for singers to work with. He had no idea that I sang, and once he found out and heard me sing, he knew he wanted to make a song together. I was so excited, it was like opening up a box of treasure that I hadn’t seen in a while.
It was great, as soon as we started working together we instantly clicked musically. He didn’t live in the city, but because he was a pilot he was able to travel quite often to visit family and friends. One day he dedicated a whole day with me. We ended up writing a song and we named it “Carry On.” The song is about missing someone in your life and reflecting on the time you spent with them, and having friends around you who can rely on and enjoy life with. It wasn’t the best song I’ve ever written but it was really something special that we had made together. We were never able to work on that song again because he was in a tragic plane accident and was taken away from us. The day of his funeral, a friend of ours surprised me while we were driving by playing the final version of the song. He told me that Aniruddh had finished the song and sent it to him to get his thoughts on it. I had no idea that he worked on it more, and it brought me to tears. Aniruddh was truly a special person, you could have met him for only a brief moment but were able to understand how amazing he was. He was the first person I had ever collaborated with and he made me feel like a rock star, I felt like a true artist when I was working with him, and felt as if I had never stopped singing. Working with him sparked something inside of me that made me want to continue working on music. It motivated me to keep collaborating with other producers and to try to get myself out there.
Now more than ever, music is such an important part in my life. Through writing and free-styling I have found a freedom and the power of being able to understand my feelings, and express them. I wouldn’t be able to explain it to someone if they asked me, but once I sing it I am able to know exactly how I am feeling and go through the motions of it. There are songs I have wrote from anger, love, and heartbreak. All of these moments in my life I am able to deal with through the expression of my music. The album that I have just finished, which is releasing May 29th, is a concept album of the past year in my life and a relationship I had went through.
It is the expression of everything I’ve felt, whether I said it or not.
About Olive B
Olive B uses her melodic voice and emotive lyrics to take listeners on a reflective and often nostalgic journey through their past relationships and the pain and pleasures that accompany love. Olive’s first release was a seven song album titled ‘No(W)here’, released May 29, 2017, produced and mastered by Toronto producer Kayobe.
In 2018 she collaborated with Vancouver-based producer Chewy on ‘Always You’ and ‘Joey Moon’. Olive B is currently in the studio with producer Bobby Love (‘Illusion’ and ‘Fine Wine’) working on finishing her eight song album titled ‘With Or Without You’. This upcoming album is a mix of indie pop meets alternative r&b. Look for this release on all platforms end of May 2019.