Born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1971 (of Jamaican, Indian, and Dominican descent), R&B/rap femme fatale Olivia specializes in sultry, smooth, and sexy sounds à la Janet Jackson, TLC, Salt-N-Pepa, and so on. Born with the talent of perfect pitch, Olivia began developing her singing in the church choir and by singing Michael Jackson songs for friends, as well as taking voice, guitar, and piano lessons as a teen, eventually inking a recording deal with Clive Davis' J Records in August 2000. April 2001 saw the release of Olivia's self-titled debut and hit single, "Bizounce.
Olivia 'Bizounce'-s Up Chart, On Debut Album
'I'm grateful for everything that's going down,' says singer, dubbed 'First Lady' of Clive Davis' J Records.
It's a daunting task for a 20-year-old singer: helping to establish the reputation of a legendary industry mogul's new label venture. Yet to Olivia, the first artist signed to Clive Davis' J Records, it's not all that overwhelming.
"It's pressure, but they weren't trying to bombard me," Olivia admitted. "I was just trying to live up to my abilities and live up to what they put me up as: 'The First Lady of J.' " Olivia's first single, "Bizounce," has climbed to #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and is fast becoming an anthem for women who are fed up with their mates.
"I wrote [the song] by seeing a whole lot of different situations around me," she said of the track, which she is now remixing with DJ Clue. "I had to write that for all the people who don't know how to tell the other person to 'bounce.' You're in a situation you know isn't right — for what? "I'm grateful for everything that's going down with the song because I didn't think it was going to be that serious," she continued. "I just put it out there for a little shock factor, and when you get the rest of the album you'll be like, 'OK, she's for real.' " On her self-titled album, due out on May 15, Olivia mixes R&B with elements of jazz and hip-hop. Her rhyming skills are also on display; born Olivia Longe, she was nicknamed "O-Lovely" by friends back when she used to rap.
"It's a whole bunch of elements that make up me," said Olivia, who makes her home in Queens, New York. "You won't get lost, though, because each track coincides with the other." The fast-paced "You Got the Damn Thing," Olivia's next single, finds the singer courting Mr. Right; on the ballad "Are You Capable," the singer asks if a man is able to satisfy her "in a certain way," she explained.
Last August, industry legend Davis offered Olivia — who was brought to his attention by some execs at his former label, Arista — a contract almost immediately after she auditioned for him "in his big-ass living room." "I think it's a good thing," Olivia said of her deal with J. "[Davis'] got new artists and [established] artists that came over with him. He's got something to prove; I got something to prove. It's a good situation I'm in."
Common misspellings: "Olivea", "Ollivia".