Stereoboard - California Girl: Introducing Olivia Somerlyn / by hyfn


If you’ve happened across any of Jessie’s J’s current arena shows, you may have noticed a little dose of Californian sunshine nestled at the start of the bill. Olivia Somerlyn has landed on this side of the pond and is doing a mighty fine job of enjoying her stay. Having recently released her latest single, ‘Better With You’, Somerlyn has been mixing stops at Highclere Castle, or Downton Abbey to many, with opening up for one of the UK's biggest pop stars just a few months after making her live bow with a US trek in support of Big Time Rush and Victoria Justice.

“I was a little bit nervous about how I was going to deal with the travelling and night after night after night, getting no sleep, but I loved it so much,” she said. “When Jessie J’s tour came about, I could not have been more excited. I love Jessie J and to tour the UK was just the perfect opportunity. I’ve been surprised by the number of people that actually were tweeting me, ‘I’m so happy you’re finally coming to the UK’. I had no idea that anybody was really waiting for me to come to the UK!”

Somerlyn is one of those up and coming types with a penchant for social media. Her Twitter account is a particular favourite and a medium through which she’s been able to develop a strong bond with her fans.

“Twitter’s really great because you’re able to reply back and forth really easily,” she said. “I find that, apart from meeting people at meet and greets or along the way on tour, Twitter is the best way to make personal connections with people who know your music. That just creates a stronger bond between the artist and the fan.

“It’s helpful in the sense that I want my image and career to be about more than just the music. Being able to have conversations with people, and really encourage them in many different ways, allows me to become something to them that’s more than just about the music.

“I take so many pictures and tweet and Instagram and post on Facebook so often because I want people to feel like they’re on tour with me, experiencing the same things. Back in the day when I was a fan, and just listening to music in the audience, I’d just want to know what was going on backstage, what’s it like touring?”

Another artefact from ‘back in the day’ surfaced just prior to Somerlyn’s live bow in the US, with a letter written by her 15-year-old self - to be opened in the event of her first major show - providing a few pointers prior to the lights going down.

“My friend and I sat down and wrote a few letters for ourselves to open at various points in our lives,” she said. “Pretty much the only one that I wrote was for when I first go on tour, for my first big show. It was basically: ‘Don’t forget what it’s like to be a fan in the audience, don’t forget what it’s like to be me right now, at 15, and don’t forget how much you want it and how much you’ve worked for it.’

“It is really important to remember what it’s like to be in the audience, and remember what the audience wants to see and wants from the artist. An artist that they look up to. I didn’t forget. When I read the letter I was like, ‘this is pointless! I didn’t forget at all.’ And I think I treat my whole experience as if I’m still in the audience. I almost feel like I’m a tourist in my own life sometimes.”