Interview: Olivia Somerlyn speaks about her new single ‘OXO’ in our exclusive chat.

We caught up with Meghan Trainor and Nick Jonas’ BFF Olivia Somerlyn about the release of her latest single ‘OXO’ and touring with Meghan Trainor.


The last time we spoke to you was just after the release of your last single ‘Parachute’, what have you been doing since then?

Since the release of the last single we put out the music video and a behind-the-scenes clip, then I just took a bit of time out to record and write. I’ve been touring pretty much non-stop for the past eighteen months or so and the turnover with ‘Parachute’ was so quick, we wrote and recorded it in one day and then released it a couple of weeks later. So with ‘OXO’, the single I’ve just released, it was a concept that I’ve wanted to write for a very long time and I’m really, really happy because I just found the perfect timing to do it. You know, sometimes you’re just going through a live session with a producer and you start writing lines and playing with, maybe a guitar, and you say “I’ve had this concept in mind for years, maybe,” and that’s what happened with ‘OXO’. So I kept writing for a couple of months and then I got the opportunity to tour with Meghan Trainor in the UK and also in Europe which I was so excited about because I just think she’s incredible and I had no idea that we’d end up becoming friends and becoming close, I just loved her music and thought she was a really cool person, but she knew the Jonas Brothers also and I just heard that she was a really cool person and that she was so much fun. Then from the Meghan tour I flew straight to New York to start touring with Lindsey Sterling in the US which was so much fun and I love Lindsey too, she’s incredible. So then in the middle of summer we released ‘OXO’ and the reason I decided to release ‘OXO’ is because it’s my favourite but when I played it for people, everybody loved it. And when I began playing it on tour with Meghan, the majority of tweets that I got after each show were about how it was their favourite song so I think that was proof to us that it should be the next single. We also worked on the lyric video for the song and, I have a very elaborate music video concept that I haven’t been able to do yet but I’d love to do that as well, but the lyric video was so much fun to do. And the plan next is to go back to LA and start finalising either an EP or album and start the radio promotion for ‘OXO’.

For anybody that hasn’t heard it yet, how would you describe how ‘OXO’ differs to music you’ve released before?

Well ‘Parachute’ was a lot more of a dance song and before that I’d never really done anything else dance but it went to number one on the Billboard Dance Club chart which was just unbelievable to me and I still haven’t really been able to catch up to that and now ‘OXO’ has actually been remixed and is at number eleven on the Billboard Dance Club chart this week but it’s set to go top ten next week and it just keeps going up and up and up and it’d be amazing to have another number one. But yeah ‘Parachute’ is a lot more dancey than ‘OXO’, ‘OXO’ is more pop based but it’s just one that really, when I was in the studio recording it, I just felt like it was such a special song because when I was doing the vocals I just couldn’t stop dancing and I was so happy making it and it’s just a really unique song. I love the guitar parts too, it just has really cool instrumental parts and then as far as the vocal and melody, I really like how the pre-chorus appears as a pre-chorus and then it also appears in the actual chorus. Conceptually, it’s about people who tell us our goals are impossible and how they help us reach our goals because they become our motivation and we push to prove them wrong and that’s something that I’ve always thought was true, and people are coming up to me after shows and tweeting me that they can relate to it as well. Melodically, I don’t like to think of it as verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, I just wanted to write little pockets of hook and I love how that turned out because it makes every part of the song special and doesn’t focus on just the chorus.

The lyrics to the song are quite relatable and inspirational, if you had to get one of the song’s lyrics tattooed onto you, which would you choose?

Oh my God, this is such a funny question! Do you know tyDi, he’s one of the DJs that remixed ‘OXO’? He said that he bets in five years’ time I have a tattoo and I said I’m not going to so we’ll see what happens but now it looks like I have to get a lyric tattooed on me and it’s so funny that you asked because it happened really recently. Let’s see… what’s my favourite lyric? That’s another thing about this song because you know how in the lyric video you can see my notebook open and you can see how the lyrics are written, that’s actually how I wrote the song. On the day of writing, I had all the lyrics in my notebook and I basically just opened that up and added a melody to it and I didn’t actually write it back out for the lyric video because that’s actually how I wrote it. All the lyrics really mean a lot to me but I love the lyric “you brought me down but I built back up, and without a fight how could I have won?” because I think that’s how I started the song. I started with the “OXO, I owe it to you” hook but right after that I wrote that “brought me down” line because I think that really is the theme of the song. But I’m not really a tattoo person so I probably won’t get a lyric tattooed.

As we mentioned earlier, in the lyric video for the single, there are a lot of famous faces including The Jonas Brothers who you’re obviously linked to and Meghan Trainor that you’ve toured with. Other celebrities such as James Maslow, Alyson Stoner and more also feature. How did they show their interest?

A lot of the people are actually people I’ve toured with. Obviously Nick Jonas and I wrote ‘Parachute’ together. Kevin Jonas and his partner Brian actually produced the video so Kevin and Joe are in it and I guess basically we just had the idea over contacting fans and asking them to do the ‘OXO’ dance just because when I performed that track, you could see everybody in the crowd doing it and it was really, really cool. Then I thought I’d reach out to some of my friends, a lot of the people in that video are my friends and basically every single person that we asked was willing to be involved and that meant so much to me. The videos just kept coming in and I was just so touched. It was so much fun to see everybody getting involved.

If you could have any celebrity in the world appear in your lyric video, who would you choose and why?

That’s a hard one! It’s funny because actually before I knew the people who are in the lyric video, it would have been them! Nick especially out of all of them, I am a huge Jonas Brothers fan so it probably would have been them. I’m also a huge Katy Perry fan so if Katy Perry was in the video, I probably would have fainted. I’m also a massive Coldplay fan so anybody from Coldplay, Chris Martin especially. I love his songwriting, I think he’s incredible. I’m also a big Downton Abbey fan and I was joking with Kevin that it would be amazing to get the Downton Abbey people in it. I just loved having the Somerlovers, the fans, in the video.

Also as you mentioned earlier, this week ‘OXO’ climbed to number 11 on the Billboard Dance Club chart. Do you ever get used to seeing your music doing that well in the charts?

No. I don’t think I could ever get used to it. It’s just so exciting to see it jump every week. It was number 18, now it’s 11 and it’s going to be number 8 next week and it’s like “Oh my God, it’s top ten,” so I just take every week as it comes and celebrate every time. It’s funny because when ‘Parachute’ went to number one, or even when it was doing well, I was like “This is crazy, I’ve never been to a club in my life!” because I wasn’t 21 at the time. It’s unbelievable even just hearing it on the radio, ‘OXO’ hasn’t been pushed on radio yet but with ‘Parachute’, every single time it was on the radio, I felt the exact same amount of excitement.

Now that we’ve had a couple of singles from you, can we expecting an album anytime soon?

I don’t know, I’ve definitely got a collection of songs that I’m excited to release but every time I write a new song, I just feel like I want to keep writing and keep working on the album but there’s a point where you just have to stop making and put together your favourites and release it but it’s hard to make that call. I think right now I’m just focusing on the ‘OXO’ release and pushing it on radio. I just really hope that I can reach as many people as possible with that song because I think the message really means something. I know there’s a lot of songs about haters but I wanted this to be a more positive perspective on the matter, I hope I do reach people because that will give me a better platform to release the album. There’s so many songs that I love and I have so much fun performing them, I think that’s the reason why I love touring so much. I’m such a perfection so I never want to release an album until it’s perfect or it’s the right time but I’m still performing the songs without them even being out there. I don’t have to worry about releasing an album because people are still hearing the songs. It’s hard for me though because people tweet asking when certain songs are being released and I never have a specific date, I really wish that I did.

We sent a tweet out fans to send in questions so we’re going to ask you a few of those to finish up…

I want so many! I’ve always wanted to be able to talk to animals. I guess I could use that as a superpower because I could have a bird fly me wherever I wanted or have a strong animal do something that needs super strength and you’d have loads of amazing animal friends.

I saw this tweet! I actually have no idea. I guess right because I’m right-handed but I’m not sure how it works. I’ve never really thought about it before. I’ll have to check. I’ll be focusing on it now.

With who would you like to do a duet?

That’s hard, there’s so many. I think my answer’s probably similar to the lyric video one. I love Katy Perry, that’s no secret, she’s amazing. I love Chris Martin from Coldplay, I’ve always wanted to do something with them. Nick Jonas, I know we wrote ‘Parachute’ together but it would be incredible to do more with him. Meghan Trainor would be really fun to work with too. There’s so many people.

As far as songwriting, definitely my own life or stories that my friends tell me. Even just things I hear in general, if I hear a really cool word I’ll write it down in my notebook and start something off of that. Most of the time it’s personal experiences that I want to share with people or that I wish artists would share with me, something that I think I needed to hear when I was younger.

That’s tough. I think probably right now it’d have to be ‘OXO’, especially because of the arm movement. It’s really fun to get everybody involved and fun to see more and more people do it each time as their learning it and figuring it out until the point where everybody’s doing it. It’s really cool and it’s the last song of my set so it cool to see everyone getting involved.

Admittedly I’m not the best person to ask about sports but everybody else likes them so I guess I’ll say the 49ers.

I’m not the biggest candy person but at Halloween I used to love Reese’s Pieces so I’ll say that. I guess it’s almost Halloween so start thinking about that.

It changes a lot but I guess I love to wear white the most. The Somerlovers have a joke about that actually. They’re like “Oh, you’re not wearing white I see” if I’m not wearing it. It’s funny. I just love the colour.

‘OXO’ is out now. Buy it here.

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