For our latest Sit Down we caught up with the phenomenal talent that is Olivia Reid, a musical force and spirit that is just getting started at age 22. Olivia is a folk-pop singer-songwriter, representing less than 5% of women producers, and 3% of women sound engineers in today’s music industry. We couldn’t wait to dive into some curiosities now that her new EP titled Earth Water is fresh off the press. We dove into what her process is like, where she is inspired the most when she creates music, and who has guided her along the way as personal idols. One this is for sure, this new album is truly enchanting, and we here at CYTIES feel grateful to have shared the time with Olivia, as she is just getting started on her journey to musical artistry.
CYTIES: You’ve spent time in LA, NYC, and Berlin. Three amazing cities. Which is your favorite?
OR: They all have their own unique personality so picking a favorite is difficult. New York definitely inspires me the most. I discover somewhere new to explore every day. I’m a chronic student, and there’s so much to learn in the culture, pace, and diversity of stories here.
CYTIES: We’re sure each city has influenced your music in a unique way. With all three cities being so different, how have those environments played a role in the music?
OR: New York has really inspired me rhythmically, giving me a new appreciation for the history of hip-hop and jazz. Berlin was where I felt the most inspired with digital experimentation and analog synths. My hometown outside of Sacramento all the way down to LA, has inspired much of the organic production sounds and natural metaphors in all my music. In addition to those cities, Big Sky, MT is another place that I’ve had a strong musical connection with from growing up visiting my grandparents there. The landscape is breathtaking and so inspiring.
CYTIES: Your new EP just dropped, Earth Water, for our readers who haven’t had a chance to listen yet, tell us a bit about the album and what influenced it?
OR: Earth Water is a series of stories innately tied to an immersive environment. Whether it communicates loneliness in a busy city, contemplation at the top of a mountain, or finding love in a tattoo parlor, Earth Water is a memory capsule for these unique moments.
CYTIES: You do such an incredible job of mixing genres and making it feel effortless. Listening to some of your songs can feel like a film, mixed with different emotions. As a young artist, was this always your goal? Or did it just come naturally?
OR: Thank you so much, what a cool compliment to the music. My goal for my music has always been to create the soundtrack to my mind. Films and scores do this thing where some elements are felt more than they’re heard, and that’s always been a natural inclination – when I aim to paint pictures of emotions on a cinematic scale.
CYTIES: If you could collaborate with anyone (dead or alive) who would it be?
OR: Dead or alive?! Too tough so I gotta give a dual answer. Alive and well, I’d say Justin Vernon of Bon Iver or Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. If I could go into the past, Louis Armstrong or Billie Holiday would be the dream.
CYTIES: We read that you’re involved in uplifting other LGBTQIA+ artists. We’d love to hear more about your advocacy.
OR: In full transparency, it’s rather recent in the past couple of years that I’ve been able to accept myself for who I am – after a lot of years of struggle with my queer identity. Where I’m at now, is embracing honesty in my music from the use of different gender pronouns of my songs like Tattoo Garden and Seraphine/Serafín. My own goal is to be myself while creating more safe ecosystems for LGBTQIA+ artists to create music and be themselves in the music industry.
CYTIES: Having been well-traveled, what’s the next city on the map that you’re excited to check out and let inspire your process?
OR: Definitely hoping to travel to Tokyo in Japan or Salvador da Bahia in Brazil – I’ve heard amazing things about the music culture in both cities.
CYTIES: Final question, we read that you’ve worked on original scores for films. If there was one filmmaker you could work with, who would it be?
OR: I’m super new to that space; it’s a skillset I’d love to develop over time. Would be a dream to connect with Greta Gerwig, who’s a fellow Sacramento-area native – and who is obviously such a talent in film.
You’ll find Earth Water as our official Album of the Week, throw it on and kick back to your new favorite artist. Thanks for taking the time Olivia, and reminding us to Take in the View.
All photography is credited to Alan David Padilla.