Can you talk to us more about your next single “Down To Earth Cool Chick”?
It’s a different perspective that I want people to hear addressing a common female stereotype. There are so many tracks out there talking about how it’s cool to have expensive things, but I don’t believe that material things define who we are as people. I am the same person whether I’m wearing red-bottom pumps or a pair of TOMs or handmade shoes from the farmer’s market. That’s what Down To Earth Cool Chick talks about. I’m basically trying to send a message about the importance of spending money on developing skills, self-improvement, and awesome experiences rather than short-term materialistic things.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Before I started writing, I was in a session with a local rapper in Los Angeles in 2008. I was really just singing hooks back then – definitely not writing very much. He asked me what I wanted to write about, and I replied, “materialism and how I just don’t get it”. He looked at me like I was crazy. It was a time when making music about being flashy is the “cool” thing to do… apparently, pop music still hasn’t grown out of it. I guess that’s one specific event that led to writing this song years later, but it’s really been a lifestyle that I’ve been living since I was a kid. I wanted to give a voice to the down-to-earth cool people that didn’t feel like they had one.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
We don’t have plans just yet, but when we do, I would want it to be a comedic video. I think it fits the vibe.
How was the recording and writing process?
I wrote this song on my acoustic guitar by myself in a small studio apartment in Los Angeles. Most of the songs I’ve written on this album were in that apartment. I actually wrote them without the intention of singing them myself, and I was really hoping that major label artists would pick them up to put them on their albums. Flash forward to 2018, and they’re all on my own album. Before this album, I didn’t see myself as a singer-songwriter, and now, I fully embrace that description.
What role does Hawaii play in your music?
When I first moved to Hawaii, I didn’t know what I was going to do with my music. It had been a few years since they were written. There were so many times that I thought they were going somewhere while I was living in LA. There were a few artists that were interested in the songs and even recorded their own versions of them, but nothing was moving forward. I needed a change, I wanted to be with my boyfriend, and I moved. I had no idea that moving here would change my life and career so drastically. I went from being entirely discouraged to keep going with my music to going on a world tour and finishing my first full-length album. The people of Hawaii really showed me a lot of love – or “aloha”. It’s been amazing being able to live in such a beautiful place with such awesome, down-to-earth cool peeps. I feel at home here.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with or covering someone else rather than on your own original music?
I think collaborations are a really cool way to create something awesome with ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of alone. When I’m singing a cover, I try my best to do the song justice. I also kind of see singing covers as a way of collaborating with the original artist. I usually don’t like to sing covers exactly as they sound on the album. I like to put my own spin on it – change the genre, change the instrumentation, change the gender perspective, whatever I hear fits.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
Yesssssss! This is the second single I’m releasing off of the album. It’s a full-length album with twelve tracks – all recorded and produced here in Hawaii. I’m pretty excited about it, and fans have been waiting for a debut album since 2007. I still can’t believe I’m finally working on my own project, and not everybody else’s and they’re mama’s projects.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
Any plans to hit the road?
We just finished our world tour for I Can Do Better this year, and we plan to do an even bigger tour when the album is released. As the singles are released, we’ll be doing shorter tours to meet fans around the world.
What else is happening next in Olivia Thai’s world?
I’m really excited to be adding more people to my team. That’s my main focus right now – building a team that believes in the music. I’ve also been designing more merch. We’re almost finished with the whole album, and of course, after that’s released, we’ll be doing another tour. I just want to make sure that I’m always working on making things better.