Watch out, Broadway, there's a new voice in town.
It's early on an April Sunday morning when I receive an email from a close friend telling me to go on YouTube and listen to a young performer she knows. I'm still half-asleep with my coffee in hand when I search for Olivia's YouTube channel, but I'm suddenly wide-awake as her soulful voice comes through my speakers, singing a stunning rendition of Alicia Keys's If I Ain't Got You. I'm hooked by the power she exerts, hitting each note perfectly and with conviction and breathtaking feeling. And I thought to myself, this girl is going places.
An Inspired Life
Olivia's interest in the performing arts didn't just develop overnight, it began at a particularly young age, surrounded by music at home, and a fascination with Disney princess movies. The Princess and the Frog is a marked favorite that inspired and influenced her soulful sound and an interest in jazz and R&B. With tremendously supportive parents, Olivia delved deep into the performing arts, admiring performers such as Kristin Chenoweth, Barbara Streisand, and Alicia Keys, watching the acclaimed FOX television show Glee, reading classic novels Rebecca and To Kill a Mockingbird, and a number of various musicals including Wicked, Hamilton, and Les Miserables, to name a few.
Remarkable, right? You'd be hard-pressed to find another seventh grader with such unique and diverse role models and inspiration (at her age all I wanted to listen to was pop radio and watch TRL), but the diverse inspiration bleeds through in Olivia's performances and dedication to her art.
What's even further heartening is the lessons about the music industry that Olivia drew from these performers and from Glee. "Watching Glee showed me that if you have a dream, you have to work hard for it, and you can’t let any distractions keep you from it."
Hard Work and Determination
And work hard she has. Besides being a normal seventh grader at her school in Annandale, New Jersey, with a passion for writing and a new archery hobby, Olivia takes vocal lessons and acting classes once a week, dance classes twice a week, plays the piano, and is learning the guitar in school. Her mom, Deidre, is always on the hunt for new opportunities for Olivia to hone her skills.
"Everyday, you have to work for it if you really want your dream. I grasp every opportunity that I have, and they help me to improve and become a better performer."
Olivia is fully aware how rigorous it is to work and succeed in the music industry, and despite dealing with haters and people who don't support her goals and dreams, she keeps a positive attitude that's rare to find today.
"All you can do is remind yourself that you are amazing and talented, and that’s all that matters. Keep a positive attitude and don’t criticize others because negativity is like a poison and I don’t want to spread that."
There's no doubt in my mind that with her gumption, dedication to her craft, supportive family, and her talent, that Olivia will reach for and land among the stars.
It goes without saying that Olivia's extraordinary talent can take her far in music and the performing arts. But where does Olivia see herself in the future?
As a seventh grader, Olivia's first focus is to obtain a scholarship to a performing arts high school to further develop and foster her talent so that one day she can achieve her dream of becoming a Broadway performer. A lead role on Broadway, to be exact.
But she sees more from her future than just Broadway, keeping her options open to other areas of the performing arts and music. She has an interest in film and would love to write, record, and perform her own music, aiming to one day audition for and be on The Voice or American Idol.
With her positivity and a wholehearted commitment to learning, rehearsing and performing, Olivia can unquestionably become the performer she's working extremely hard to become.
Where to Find Olivia
Interested in hearing more? Looking to get in contact with her? Want to listen to her incredible sound and cheer her on?