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Published May 2001 



Meet The Other Olivia

By Francine Buchner

You may not know her name yet, but you've heard her voice. The name is Olivia. Named after Olivia-Newton John, "she was the hottest thing around at the time, so my mother named me Olivia." The song is "Bizounce".

Now at first glance you may think this is just another pretty face singing more" I-don't-need-a-man-I've-got-my-own-money" songs, but Olivia assures me that she's got an edge no other female artist has. "My whole style is different, not all R&B artists rap. I rap. I do it all and write my own music." And she's not kidding.

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York most of Olivia's best friends were boys and at the age of thirteen she would freestyle with them. She started writing songs at age 13 and still writes most of her songs including her hit single "Bizounce", a slang word her and her friends came up with. But Olivia credits her song writing skills with writing poetry, "I use to sit on my porch afterschool and watch the people pass, listen and write." Olivia has won awards from the National Society of Poetry and some of her poems have been published in the book, "Shadows of Light".

Born on February 15, 1980 this 21 year old started singing and dancing at age four, "I use to run around the house as Janet Jackson and my brother was Michael Jackson and we'd have face-offs". Olivia's musical influences come from Prince, Stevie Wonder, Kid Rock, R.Kelly. It wasn't until she was 14 that she decided to pursue a career in music, taking singing, piano and guitar lessons. "I made sure I got good grades in school, so my mother would let me go to the studio with my cousin Paul and I went almost every day."

Her producer at the time, Joshua Thompson introduced her to the Clive Davis of Arista Records, who was willing to sign her, " It was the best dream come true, but my mother told me to wait".

The only girl, living in a strict Jamaican household Olivia took her mother's advice and went to College, before signing a record deal. Two years later she's signed to Clive Davis' new label J Records. She is the first person to be signed to J Records. A good thing or a bad thing? "A little of both. But I think more an advantage. It's a lot of pressure, but Clive Davis has a good ear. I'm in a good place".

Olivia is still very young, but she seems to have a strong foundation at home and a good head on her shoulders, "It's nice to be important," she explains, "but more important to be nice."

She is currently on her promo tour throughout the United States. Her album is due out May 15th and we can expect smooth R&B, ballads, rap and jazz. The next three songs to look out for in the future are : "Got The Damn Thing," something you can bounce to in the clubs, "It's On Again," a ballad and "Are You Capable," where Olivia shows off her rapping skills.

Olivia was planning to do a re-make of "Hopelessly Devoted To You" by none other than Olivia-Newton John, until she found out Mariah Carey did it. So she'll choose another song. Something else to watch for in the future is a duet with R.Kelly. "He knows I want to work with him". This could be interesting since Olivia has a striking resemblance to Aaliyah.

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