To kick off our Black Music Month ‘Interview Series,’ R&B singer/actress Olivia spoke to Aries about her up-coming album release, her new team, up-coming VH1 reality show, the good and the bad about being apart of the G-Unit, her special relationship with the late great Luther Vandross & so much more!
UrbanBridgez.com: Your working with so many hot producers for the new album from Missy to B Cox, what has been the best part about recording the new album so far?
Olivia: Just recording period, that’s my favorite part of the process. So anytime I get to sing, I’m alright!
UrbanBridgez.com: When can fans expect the official single and video?
Olivia: That’s a good question, probably next month. We’re actually going to shoot two videos for the mixtape I have out. One is for ‘Rub Me Up’ and we’re going to shoot one for ‘I Got You.’ So you guys can expect that first actually before the single from the album.
UrbanBridgez.com: Tell me about the new album as far as direction and where did you go this time that you didn’t before?
Olivia: Definitely more R&B! I think people expect that from me or they don’t know what to expect from me. Because of my prior wok with the Unit, because I had to do things to fit in with the group you know. So I couldn’t really give you the R&B music that I wanted to give you. So you’re going to get that on the album, alot of melodies, alot of harmonies, alot of real singing. So it may be different for the fans, but it’s the same for me (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: When will the new album be out?
Olivia: Actually the end of the year and it’s called ‘Show The World!’
UrbanBridgez.com: Tell me about your new management, I know you feel now you got it right!
Olivia: Oh yeah, Dollaz Unlimited! I love Rich, the difference between working with him and Violator when I was with Chris Lighty is a total more personal feeling. I had a great & everybody up there, but it was so many different people and so many different hands in the situation that it was hard to keep track of everything we were doing. Of course it was so many of us on the label and we were all signed to Violator. So it kind of got to be too hectic. Working with Rich is totally different because he has Chris Ivory and he has Ryan Leslie so he’s able to focus on each of us and being that he has such a big artist that’s also a producer, he knows exactly what to do with me. You know specially with them being R&B, he’s knows the right steps to take. Unlike before where I dealt with rappers who only dealt with rap artists (laughs). So it’s actually a breath of fresh air for me!
UrbanBridgez.com: I hear you have a VH1 show coming soon, tell me about that?
Olivia: Yes I do! It actually hasn’t been named yet, so there is a working title they have going on they’re calling ‘Married to Hip-Hop.’ That’s most likely not going to be the title, so don’t worry about that (laughs). I’m really excited about it, it’s about me and my girlfriends. You’ll see a little of the music, but that’s not what I want to give you. I want everybody to feel like they know me. I felt like I wasn’t open to the public before you know. Being with the Unit I felt like I was just so inaccessible, I just want the world to get to know me. Because I feel like they don’t know who the real Olivia is. So yeah it’s going to be about my life, personal, musically, naturally the stuff I do on a day to day basis with my friends and family. Just different adventures!
UrbanBridgez.com: Getting back to people not knowing you very well, I’m happy to say I’ve been a fan since the first album (laughs)!
Olivia: Thank you very much (laughs)!
UrbanBridgez.com: Your first album is a such a classic to me. I still play it often. ‘Bizzounce’ and ‘It’s On Again’ are classics!
Olivia: I love that! Alot of people still say that to me, ‘Bizzounce’ is actually one of Busta’s (Rhymes) favorite records too, he cracks me up everytime he says that. So I’m so happy that people love it, I’m happy that I get to do another album. Some people don’t get a first or second chance and I’m getting a third. I just don’t think it was done right the first two times. The first time when I was on J Records I was actually still in college and just turned 18 years old. So I was just learning about everything then moving over to Interscope and meeting 50 (Cent), that was a whole other experience I had to deal with. All the politics and being amongst rappers you know (laughs). So now I just feel like everything is right and I’m coming into my own. This album is just amazing, I didn’t want to give you guys any material that I used on ‘Behind Closed Doors’ I felt like it wouldn’t be fair to you or me. I just did everything over and I’m really happy about the whole project.
UrbanBridgez.com: I think you were ahead of your time. You was the first to sign with J Records, alot of people don’t know that.
Olivia: Yes I was, Clive Davis (laughs)!
UrbanBridgez.com: What was the best advice Clive Davis ever gave you?
Olivia: Wow, Clive gave me so many different things and the one I remember the most & is dear to me is him introducing me to Luther Vandross. He was such a great friend and mentor to me, he taught me so many things about the business as far as the politics. Luther always told me that he saw my longevity and he always told me to push forward, no matter what! He’s like my angel to me. I’ve had so many memories with Luther and definitely contribute that relationship to Clive.
UrbanBridgez.com: You’re such a great singer, who are some of your influences?
Olivia: Most people don’t know this, but it was always Anita Baker. I’m an old soul so she was definitely always one my favorites. As I grew old, of course I was into Brandy and Monica. Brandy is still my favorite til this day! A big Sade fan as well, I have a wide variety of artists (laughs). But those are the ones that I’ve always loved to listen to.
UrbanBridgez.com: What were the best and worse things about being signed to G-Unit?
Olivia: The best would have to be, I had a different fan base I wasn’t use to. They opened me up to as far as the whole rap audience. And the worst would have to be being misunderstood. Because I was with them (laughs). So yeah, it was like a two-way sword you know. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Because there was alot of good and there was alot of bad. But I think the good did out way the bad, it was definitely a good stepping stone for me and I don’t regret anything! Being with them over there and we had a great run. I was with them for four years, me and 50 made alot of great hits (i.e. “Candyshop,” “Best Friend,” etc) we had a good time but I just told them I didn’t feel right. I felt like I was apart of the group and not a solo artist. I didn’t want to get lost in the shuffle and people to think that I was just there to sing hooks. That is what I was not (laughs). So I’m really happy to be by myself again and loving the feeling of being a solo artist like I was before. So I think everything came back around 360. I feel like I had to go through those things in order to be where I’m at now. Like I said before, I really don’t regret anything at all!
UrbanBridgez.com: Biggest lesson learned thus far in this industry?
Olivia: Just really who to trust in this industry. You don’t know who as far as the label and reps and things like that. But that’s why I keep the people who I’ve known since I was a kid around me til this day. I’m very loyal to the people who are loyal to me and the ones who’ve always been there for me. As far as the ones I’ve grown up with or family members, just people who have always been there from day one. This industry can tear people apart as for relationships, so that definitely would be it.
UrbanBridgez.com: You recently launched your new site and released a mixtape that I love, tell fans about those things.
Olivia: Thank you! The website is OliviaWorldWide.com, I wanted something fresh and clean and that’s what we did. It gives people more material to look forward to until the album comes out. There’s various videos on the site as well and you can sign up for updates. It will also have dates for a few things that I have coming up. I’m hoping to get some NY dates in soon, because most of the things I do are overseas, which is wonderful for me! But bad for you guys, because you guys yell at me all the time asking me when I’m going to do NY shows (laughs). But they’re coming up because I’ve been getting alot of request to do songs off the mixtape. As far as the mixtape, I just wanted to do something fun and give everybody some new material. My supporters have always been wonderful and from day one! So I just wanted to do another one, I did one in 2005 so I felt it was time to do another one until the album came. So I went in and had fun, brought in some of my friends, used all of the collaborations for the mixtape. I didn’t want to use them for the album because I felt like everytime you guys saw me, it was a collaboration so that’s why they’re only on the mixtape.
UrbanBridgez.com: What else is next for you after the album?
Olivia: So many things, I’m always looking for more movie roles. My acting coach is Tracey Morris, he’s totally wonderful! So I’ve been doing that, I have the VH1 show coming up, so we’ll be taping that. It should be done by the time the album comes out. I believe it will be out in October, so look out for that on VH1. Of course touring, there are so many different things coming up so I’m excited. There are things coming up that I can’t talk about yet (laughs). But know you are going to see me w hole lot this summer and to come.
UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for your fans?
Olivia: I love them so much and that’s from the bottom of my heart! I know alot of people say that and it might sound generic but I truly mean that from the different experiences I’ve been in. So I can honestly, wholeheartedly say that my fans are the best and I just really appreciate that!
Follow Olivia on Twitter: @1andonlyOlivia