Rising British artist Olivia Swann has released her debut single, ‘Salty’ featuring Jane Handcock alongside a music video for the track.
‘Salty’ is a sultry early ‘00s-infused R&B jam that could be about a breakup - if it wasn’t concerned with sneaker swiping. Featuring on the track is California Bay R&B artist Jane Handcock and also marks Olivia Swann’s debut.
Written & produced alongside American peers, it combines a laid back, West Coast groove, sophisticated R&B vocal production with a syncopated melodic line that’s entirely her own.
Whilst working in Paris, she was invited to an audition for the prestigious Berklee College of Musi and was awarded a place, deferred her business degree at the University of Exeter, hopped on the next plane to Boston, USA and never looked back.
“As a kid, I actually just wanted to be a rap star or David Beckham,”
Trading her Adidas David Beckham football boots for Nike Air Jordans and ditching the idea of a boardroom for the reality of a recording studio, Olivia now revels in delivering the unpredictable with predictable candour. It’s certainly something she’s grown accustomed to as a multi-territory artist, writing music in Los Angeles for herself and others, while performing across the pond in London.
Drawing inspirations from Outkast & Erykah Badu mixed with the classics of Chet Baker, Amy Winehouse, with a pinch of the cheek of Lily Allen, Olivia's aural aesthetic combines an appreciation of gospel, jazz and R&B, honed from graduating at one of the most respected music schools in the world.
We got to know Olivia a little better and spoke to her about the debut release...
Introduce yourself and tell us something about you!
"Hello! I’m Olivia Swann and I am an artist/songwriter from London, who serves R&B flavoured, jazz influenced music with a dark side of pop!"
Where are you from?
"So I grew up in a place called Bishop’s Stortford, right next to our good old Stansted Airport, but to be honest since I can remember I tried to be in London as much as possible. I moved to London a while ago and I’ve been living in between here and LA for the past couple of years."
When did you start making music?
"I started making music around 4 years ago. I first started to pursue music more seriously when I attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA for college. It was here that gave me the space to explore writing and start to develop my sound and voice."
Who have you recently added to your playlist?
"So many different dope artists! Don Toliver, Nick Hakim, Rosalia, Frank Sinatra, Tame Impala to name a few."
Who or what is your biggest motivation?
"Now more than ever, we have access to so much, I feel like we can do pretty much anything we want if we want it enough. I truly believe there is nothing you can’t accomplish if you work for it, so the amount of things on my goals list definitely keeps me motivated!! For me, it’s a constant motivator knowing I’m creating my own lane and pathway and I’ve got to just keep on building and growing!"
What is your favourite social media platform?
"I’d say Instagram for sure. I think Insta is the coolest! Love the fact that our feeds/pages are essentially an artist’s moodboard, you can delve into the worlds of so many different people, with a front row seat. I think it’s sick and I’m definitely using this platform the most."
What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?
"Although cliche, honestly can’t imagine doing something else, but if music wasn’t a thing, I’d like to say I’d be playing football. I loved football as a kid and so playing for Arsenal would be pretty cool. (Yes I’m a Gunner!!)"
What is your dream place / venue to play?
"Oooh so many great, iconic venues! In London, it has to be Ronnie Scott’s, I’d love to do a stripped back set there, and in LA, somewhere where I’ve always wanted to play is at the Hollywood Forever Cemetry. I’m putting it out into the universe!"
Can you sum up your sound in one sentence?
"In a nutshell I’d say it’s a whole blend of things! It’s tongue in cheek, playful, sarcastic, unapologetic, witty, depth, raw, honest, powerful and definitely emotive."
You’ve just released your debut single ‘Salty’ How has the reaction been so far?
The reaction to Salty has been amazing! Honestly I’m overwhelmed with the amount of love and support it has received. It has been supported and dropped on Rebecca Judd’s Beats1 Show, it has been one of RINSE FM’s tracks of the week on their show RCRDSHOP, as well as DJ Target and Radio 1XTRA dropping the record too a couple weeks ago! It’s my debut single, I’m unsigned and independent so to get all of this support from fans and huge platforms like these means the world."
Tell us a little about the track!
"So Salty is quite a unique subject for a song and it is unfortunately a true story! I wrote Salty whilst at college as a result of a shitty housemate experience! I was sharing a house with a girl who stole my brand new pair of Jordan 12’s. Bearing in mind I’d never worn them, she took them and posted selfies wearing her ‘new shoes’ all over Instagram and was getting so many likes/comments about ‘her’ amazing style, so I just had to do something with my feelings, which turned into the creation of Salty!"
Once I heard the production of ‘Salty’ I knew Jane Handcock would be the perfect feature. We’d been wanting to work together for a while, so this year, whilst I was out in California, we made ‘Salty’ our first collaboration. We cut her vocals in Oakland and also shot the video together in
LA, luckily just before Corona got really bad! I collaborated with one of my favourite producers, Symphony on the production and he is also based out in LA. I love working with producers out there, and this record in particular definitely needed that throwback West Coast/R&B vibe, he made my sonic dreams come to life! Even though I had a rough start with this story, honestly the best things ended up happening from this, I made Salty, and I eventually bought another pair of the Jordans! But as a sneakerhead it is honestly one of the most disrespectful things she could have done to me. Like, seriously, why not steal a pair of Crocs, or fresh sandals, or a hoodie or something?!"
What can we expect from you for the rest of the year and into 2021?
"Despite the madness of COVID-19, it is such a busy year for me! I’m really excited because I’m going to be dropping more releases this year, as well as collaborating with some really dope producers/writers in the US as well as here in the UK. This quarantine won’t stop me! Let’s just hope things can go back to normal asap!"
With many tracks to be released over the coming year from the rising British artist, ‘Salty’ is an outstanding debut and a strong introduction to Olivia Swann’s vibrant sound.