What do the Jonas Brothers, Jessie J and Big Time Rush all have in common (besides millions of adoring fans)? They have all toured with Olivia Somerlyn, a name you may not have heard until now, but that you will most definitely be hearing in the future.
It may seem as though this 19-year-old San Francisco native is relatively new on the scene, but Olivia has been working hard in the studio for over six years. “I’ve been writing my own songs since I was 13, and when I was 14, I began to travel back and forth between LA and San Francisco to collaborate with other writers, record my songs, and develop my music style,” she explains. “I worked on my music behind the scenes for years before being signed by the Jonas Group Management Company (she is managed by Kevin Jonas Sr.) and CAA (Creative Arts Agency).” All of Olivia’s hard work creating her musical sound (which she says “tends to have the rhythms of classic pop combined with a lyrical focus on storytelling”) eventually paid off when she had the chance to tour with some of her favorite artists, who are now some of her good friends.
“Touring with Big Time Rush and Victoria Justice was such a blast. We all came out and surprised each other during our sets. BTR even sang my single, “Better With You,” with me! Touring with the Jonas Brothers was a dream come true because before we were friends, I was a huge Jonas Brothers fan, and I’ve always wanted to open for them. I opened for them at the same venue that I had seen them in concert years before, and my friends who had attended the show with me came to see me! It was surreal.”
Famous friends and crazy tours aside, Olivia is a relatively normal girl, just like the rest of us. She is a massive Downton Abbey fan (“I actually was able to visit the castle where it’s filmed while I was on tour with Jessie J. It was amazing!”), loves Sofia Coppola films, such as 2006’s Marie Antoinette (“I love the use of a modern soundtrack with a period piece”), and spends loads of time on Instagram and Twitter (follow her on both @OliviaSomerlyn). While many of us use these sites to post the occasional selfie, Olivia uses them to interact with her fans (or SomerLovers, as she affectionately calls them).
“Because of my strong and active following (over 66K followers), I’ve trended on Twitter worldwide and in the US over 15 times at least,” she says. “It’s very important to me that each and every SomerLover feels connected to and loved by me. I want my relationship with my fans to be more like friendship. I post as many Instagram pictures as I can so I can show my followers what it’s really like backstage, on tour, in the studio, etc. I want to show them everything I wanted to see when I was a fan.”
2014 is off to a good start for Olivia, who is not only working on songs for her new album, but has also had the opportunity to perform one of her songs (“Only In The Movies”) in front of an Oscar winner (Cate Blanchett) at the Sony Pictures Classics pre-Oscar dinner, a moment which she considers to be one of the biggest accomplishments in her career. She has also recently released her latest single “Parachute” a track that not only her self-professed “Somerlovers” have been going crazy over, but which is a fun, summer-ready pop anthem that will appeal to both her younger fans and a new set of listeners that can’t help but bop along to beat and appreciate Olivia’s rock solid vocals.
When asked if she had any advice for someone who wants to get where she is now, Olivia simply said, “Enjoy the journey because it will be long.” With her catchy songs, enviable social media skills, and infectious positive attitude, Olivia’s onward journey in the music industry may be long, but it will undoubtedly be filled with even more achievements that she can be proud of.
Lauren Mahaffy is a Syracuse, NY native and a recent graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in music business. As much as she would love to be in LA eating burgers at In-N-Out and working at a record label, she is currently spending some time at home with her dog, Princess Sparkle. When she is not job hunting, she can be found binge-watching TV shows on Netflix, posting funny gifs on Tumblr, and singing Miley Cyrus songs in the car. Read her embarrassing tweets @laurenmahaffy