18-year-old singer/songwriter Olivia Somerlyn is the TeenNick Top 10 Fresh Artist of the Month for May. I talked to her about her summer plans, which include opening up for Big Time Rush and Victoria Justice on the Summer Break Tour.
Congratulations on being named Fresh Artist of the Month!
Thank you! My TeenNick Top 10 interview was my first TV interview ever, and this is my first phone interview.
Yay! What's one thing you want everyone who reads this interview to know about you? For the past few years that I've been working on my music, it's been all pretty much behind the scenes work. I've been writing a lot, recording a lot, and just being a perfectionist. This is going to be my first tour, and I can't even explain how excited I am to share my music with everybody.
What are you looking forward to most about the tour? I'm mostly excited about meeting everybody before and after the show. I'll try to always be outside saying hi to everyone, kind of like I am on Twitter and online. I try to respond to everyone who tweets me, because it's just so much fun talking to everyone and responding to all the questions. I also can't wait to meet Big Time Rush and Victoria Justice, because I haven't met them yet! Everyone keeps asking if I've met them, but not yet! Hopefully soon!
What's your favorite Big Time Rush song? I have two. One is one of their more recent songs, called "Windows Down." I listen to it when I'm working out, and it's just so energizing and fun. It's always stuck in my head.
I went to the kick-off party for the tour at House of Blues a few weeks ago, and Big Time Rush and Victoria Justice did a little show. Big Time Rush played an acoustic set, and they played one of their older songs, "Nothing Even Matters," and it sounded so cool acoustically. That made it one of my favorites.
What was it like at the kick-off party? I was just in the audience, thinking, "I can't believe I'm going on tour with these guys!" There were people handing out flyers on the way in, and my name was on the flyer: "Big Time Rush and Victoria Justice and ME?" It was so crazy.
So, what are you bringing with you on tour? Tell me five things you can't live without.
#1. I want to bring my dog, Luke, but I don't know if he'll be able to handle all that traveling. That's making me really nervous, because how am I going to get through seven weeks without my puppy?
#2. This is my first time on tour, and my first time sleeping on a tour bus. I'll probably have to bring a really good pillow so I can get comfortable anywhere. #3. A notebook, so I can write lyrics.
#4. I want to figure out some sort of small keyboard situation for the tour bus, because I'm always writing songs, and it'd be really hard not to have that.
#5. Definitely my phone, because I am always taking pictures. I'm a Big Time Rush fan and a Victoria Justice fan, so I want to be able to share my backstage access. I know what it's like to be a fan, and wonder what goes on behind the scenes, so I want to be the eyes and ears of everyone who wants to follow me on Instagram and Twitter.
You're very active on Twitter. When you communicate directly with your fans, how do you stay focused on the good stuff and avoid the haters? Most people have been so nice and so positive, and even when they aren't, I just focus on the positive. I either ignore it or respond with something nice. I don't believe in fighting fire with fire, not just on social media, but in my personal life. I have a song on my upcoming EP about that, about standing up for yourself without having to sink to that level.
What's your favorite thing about performing live? I've performed live a little bit around Los Angeles, but since this is my first tour, I'm looking forward to figuring out what it's really like. I've been going to concerts my whole life, thinking "I really can't wait... I just wanna be on stage!" I can already kind of tell what my favorite thing is going to be -- connecting with the audience.
What's the best show you've been to lately? The most recent show I went to was Imagine Dragons, and it was just so cool. I love their songs, and the stage design was amazing. I've never been to a Big Time Rush or a Victoria Justice show, so I'm excited about getting to see them like 38 times this summer!
When is your EP coming out? Can you give us any hints about what it's going to be like? I'm hoping to release my EP in August -- right after the tour! It will have a few more upbeat, summer, catchy, fun songs than my first EP, so I hope people will want to sing along.
In honor of the summer tour and your last name, let's do some summer questions.
Favorite summer food? Seasonal summer fruit. All year, I wait for peaches and nectarines.
Favorite summer memory? My mom and I used to drive to Lake Tahoe every summer, and we'd listen to Coldplay's album Parachutes the whole way there, the whole way back, and the whole time we were there. Now, when I hear those songs it reminds me of my favorite summer days.
Favorite summer activity? Probably after this summer, it's gonna be touring! But I hope that at the end of the summer I'll get to drive up to Lake Tahoe and go swimming, or even just jump in the ocean and swim.
In part two of this interview, Olivia talks about her writing process and shares songwriting tips. Read it here!
Catch Olivia Somerlyn on TeenNick Top 10 all month long (Fridays at 10pm et, 7pm pt), and keep in touch with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also see her live on the Summer Break Tour, beginning June 21 in Los Angeles.