Oli is one of the newest rising stars in the south who is on the radar of major record labels, producers, and music industry tastemakers. I had the pleasure of watching her perform live in and was completely blown away with her vocal abilities. Oli is coming off a phenomenal release of her latest EP Virgo which is available on ITunes and other digital retailers. Oli has the making to be an incredible superstar as she has the full package with her multi-talented approach. She has been able to build a solid track record and this year is sure to be one for the history books for this powerful singer out of North Carolina. I had the pleasure to sit down with her and discuss her career, music, and story.
Check out the interview below.
King Armah- How did you get started in music?
OLI- I always enjoyed music & singing since I was a little kid. I realized I could sing around the age of 7 but I was very shy and did not like to sing in front of people. So when I was asked what I wanted to do as a career at a younger age, I always told people I wanted to be a music producer. It was a career that allowed me to do music without having the spotlight. My senior year in high school, I met a friend who was a Hip Hop artist/songwriter and he asked me to come to the studio and do a hook for him. That’s pretty much how it all started. Once I got into the studio and realized how I sounded on a record, I just knew that I had the potential to be a recording artist. So at 18, I got into the studio and started recording my own original music and haven’t stopped since.
King Armah- Why are you so passionate music?
OLI – There’s something about music that gives me something to live for. It’s the one thing that has always been consistent in my life. As easy as it may look, it’s such a challenge for me, yet it comes so natural and that’s what makes it so exciting. When pursuing music as a career, it’s definitely a journey and there’s telling no telling how far you can go. There is no formula and everyone has their own success story. The fact that I get to write my own story, keeps me going to see how far I can go with it.
King Armah- What makes you different from other singers/songwriters in the R&B genre?
OLI- My tone definitely helps me stand out. I was not a big fan of speaking in front of a large group of folks especially in class because I felt like as a kid I had a very deep yet soft voice. As I grew older, I realized that it’s actually a cool thing and that it makes me different and it shows when I sing. I believe that as a recording artist, your tone helps people identify with who you are and who they’re listening to.
King Armah-What is music scene in North Carolina like, and do you know any other artists that we should be aware of?
OLI- It’s definitely not a big city known for breaking artist but it is a place where you can build a solid fan base. There’s always opportunities to perform and perfect your craft. There are possibilities for the music scene to grow but as an independent artist, there’s always someone that help you get something done. From graphics to mixing/mastering, shooting videos, finding musicians to play with you for a gig, a studio to record, and it is very cost efficient. So there’s no reason why you can’t create your own project independently because you can find the resources to do it here. As far as other artists, yes definitely. I’m a fan of a couple artist out of NC. Jason Jet, Nige Hood, Sir Abstraxxx, III, Gena Chambers, Charnell, Emerald Sarter, Diamond Young, there’s so much more.
King Armah- Who inspires you musically? Can you name your top 5 artists of all time?
OLI- Beyonce of course, I’ve been listening to her since I was 8/9 years old, and writings on the wall came out. Micheal Jackson. Sade. Rihanna. Lauryn Hill.
King Armah- Do you feel that it is important to be a role model for younger women who may look up to you?
OLI- Yes, I do feel it is important. There’s so much negativity in the world now and days. It’s so easy for young women to choose the wrong path in life-based off of what they see on social media or what they think is cool. Definitely stay true to yourself, however, I believe that if God blessed you with a voice and you have the possibilities to make a change, you should do it.
King Armah- How big was the largest crowd you performed in front of? What was the experience like?
OLI- I would have to say, when I performed on National TV with Robin Thicke on a show called Duets that aired on ABC back in May 2012. Although our physical audience was not that huge, everyone around the world was watching. That was a very unforgettable experience.
King Armah- Are you involved in your community, and if so how do you give back to others?
OLI- I enjoy going through my closet at the end of every season and giving away the clothes I do not need or wear to the women’s shelter and feeding the homeless during the holidays. I’m not tied in with a particular organization but wherever help is needed, I’m there.
King Armah- What advice do you have for other aspiring singers who want to break into the music industry?
OLI- Stay consistent, stay true to yourself, & know the business. Don’t give up, if you truly believe that it is your calling. It’s not going to come easy and if it’s worth it, it’s not going to be easy. You will get 100 NO’s before you get that one YES! Enjoy the ride and appreciate the journey.
King Armah- How important would you say music production is, and what music producers have you worked with and currently work with?
OLI- It is VERY important. A good quality well produced mixed & mastered record can help you stand out from the crowd. I’ve worked with a couple producers, K. Figz, globetrakkers, Omar Lanier, Jason Jet just to name a few and all very talented.
King Armah- Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years career wise?
OLI- Established within the music industry doing music full time, all day, every day. On a world tour, with at least 3 albums distributed by my own company and a major label. Be an accredited songwriter with placements on other artist’s projects and by that time would love to get into acting.
King Armah- How can the readers get in touch with you, and contact your for bookings if interested?
Instagram & Twitter: @iamoli_
for bookings email: [email protected]