Olivia O’Brien

You saw such chart success with your self-composed single “i hate u i love you”. Were you expecting this?

I was not expecting it at all. it was the first real song I ever recorded and released. I was shocked when it even got 1,000 plays on SoundCloud.

Elaborate on your latest track, “Love Myself” – what does it represent to you?

“Love Myself” isn’t about already loving yourself, it’s about wanting to. the first step in loving yourself is realizing that you deserve to be loved. This song is kind of a documentation of that realization.

Your debut album Was It Even Real? is out now! Can you give us a bit of insight into the experiences that inspired it?

Most of the songs are about a boy I liked who things didn’t work out with. The rest is about my personal and emotional struggles with myself and my mental health. I am inspired by my own life and the things that happen to me/the people closest to me. I wish I could say I was inspired by positive things but it’s usually the things that make me sad or angry that inspire me the most. Writing is my therapy and how I work through things and let them go.


Do you believe that writing can truly help mend personal grievances?

If I didn’t write, I would have gone insane years ago. it helps me to put my feelings somewhere other than just in my head. it’s probably different for everyone but it’s a great coping mechanism for me and I’m sure many other people.

Give me a window into your writing process – how do you write a song?

I don’t have a specific process honestly. Sometimes I will think of a song concept while I am driving, and sometimes I will have a session planned months in advance and will go in to write a proper song with a producer. Sometimes I write to a track I found online, others I play guitar or piano. I really just like to work whenever I am inspired and I can’t really choose when that happens. Lyrics are usually always number one for me though, before melodies. it really depends on the situation though.

What gets you most excited and scared when you release new music?

It’s scary to put my personal emotions out into the world for people to judge. I just have to remind myself that my words have helped so many people who relate and I can’t let my fear of embarrassment dictate my life.