Olivia Dean is a singer-songwriter with vocals far beyond her years. Inspired by the soulful undertones of jazz and blues music, Olivia was one of the talented people to attend the BRIT school, where she perfected her craft before releasing a multitude of tunes which have given her widespread critical acclaim. Most recently, Olivia Dean has just been named as Amazon Music UK’s New Breakthrough Artist. Her music videos for ‘The Hardest Part’ and ‘Echo’ are certainly noticeable for their classic retro style, reflecting Olivia Dean for her old-school tone and sophisticated song writing abilities. Following the release of her latest single ‘Be My Own Boyfriend’, I caught up with Olivia Dean to find out about the making of her music, her strive to be more unapologetic as an artist, and what is yet to come from her music in the forthcoming months…

Olivia Dean: A Q and A with Amazon Music’s New Breakthrough Artist by Jessica Doran

Hey Olivia, it’s great to have this Q and A with you. Your music is that excellent balance between chilled and soulful, with toe tapping and body moving vibes.

For those that don’t know you, you are one of the talented people to be a part of the BRIT school alumni. How did you find this as a steppingstone into the industry?

I loved going to BRIT. I met so many like-minded and inspiring people there and I learnt a lot about the industry too. It’s a special place, you’re very much encouraged to be outspoken and individual.

How do you think your musical style has progressed since graduating from the BRIT school?/ How have you changed as an artist?

I feel like even in the last year I’ve grown so much as a person and artist. I’m a lot more confident in myself and my opinions. The coolest thing you can be is authentic, I think. Since leaving BRIT, I’ve had time to practice song writing and figure out what I want to say in my music but also how to say no and communicate what I want behind the scenes.

Let’s talk about your latest single ‘Be My Own Boyfriend’. I love the undertones of jazz and blues that you embed in all of your music. I wonder, how do you think this track speaks to your previous songs? Or alternatively, how does it differentiate from it?

Thank you! I definitely feel like Be My Own Boyfriend’ is a step forward for me. Everything up until now has been very much based on my relationship with another person and I wanted this song to be all about how I feel about myself. It feels bolder, unapologetic, and fun! I’m always reminding myself not take myself so seriously.


Olivia Dean

Olivia Dean

Let’s try and get a feel for your creative space – where do you usually do most of your song writing?

Lyrics can come at the most random of times so it’s hard to pin point one ‘creative space’. I guess my creative space is my iPhone notes/ my song writing book. I like to have a clear idea of  a concept and then get to the studio and flesh it out on the guitar or piano.

In what ways do you think lockdown has impacted your creativity/your song writing?

I’ve tried not to put too much pressure on myself to create during this pandemic, I can’t create when I’m feeling overwhelmed and this year has been so stressful – as I suppose is the case for a lot of people. It has really forced me to look within and examine how I feel about things more closely. I’ve got a lot better at articulating my emotions but I’m still learning!


How would you describe your own personality and how do you try to bring out this personality in your music?

That’s a hard question! It’s hard to really have a perception of yourself but I’d like to think I’m a happy, confident, and carefree person. Though I know, I can also be a terrible over-thinker and a perfectionist; I feel like both sides come out quite naturally in my lyrics.

Are there any music genres that you’d love to explore more?

I listen to loads of Brazilian/Bossa Nova and jazz in my spare time so I’m definitely exploring bringing those influences into my music.

I read that you’ve recently been learning to play the saxophone. Would you like to be playing your own instruments in your songs do you think?

Haha, I haven’t picked it up in a little while. It’s really hard – I need to book some more lessons! It’s such a beautiful instrument, it’s definitely a dream of mine to be brilliant at sax one day. I do play piano and guitar, there’s a few tunes I’m playing on my upcoming project – I’ve been playing since I was 16 and I love it!

Who would you most like to do a collab with and why?

It changes all the time but I’d love to work with Khruangbin – their music is so relaxing and has this beautiful old-school, dusty quality. Also Anderson Paak would be sick.

With lockdown hopefully coming to an end, let’s end this Q and A by letting our readers know where they might be able to see you play live in the upcoming months…

I can’t wait for live shows to come back, it’s my favourite part of being an artist. I’ve got 3 sold out shows in June – one in The Blues Kitchen & two nights in London at the Jazz Cafe. Aside from that I am planning to bring my ‘From Me To You Truck Tour’ back in the summer, we’ll be driving all over and playing shows from out the side of the van, so stay tuned!

You can listen to more of Olivia Dean’s music, including here latest single ‘Be My Own Boyfriend’ here.

Olivia Dean: A Q and A with Amazon Music’s New Breakthrough Artist by Jessica Doran