Olympia’s Savvy Seven

Olympia Red (1)

  • Who was your first musical inspiration? Why?
Probably the people around me. I grew up in a household where everyone played music socially, without ego… and maybe not always at great skill. But it imprinted on me the sense that anyone could play music. It was a really natural way to learn, and pick up an appreciation of music. The rules (scales, chord patterns, tone, etc) came later.
  • How did you get started in music and did you ever even think you’d get this far?
My first gig was at an open mic night at the Wollongong Youth Centre. I used to play my own work, playing a sort of world-inspired folk music. These weren’t great songs, however I was – even then- hard to put in a box, and I accepted this without a second-thought. This has been a really important foundation to my work, and understanding of myself as an artist. Or maybe, being comfortable as an outsider. There’s a kind of freedom in that.
I have always written songs, and I always will write. I didn’t think I would’ve created an album of music that connected with people as Self Talk has, however I’ve still a long way to go. I’m my biggest critic, and I haven’t impressed myself yet.
  • What has been one of your most defining moments in your career?
One of the most significant moments in my career happened when Lanie Lane discovered a track called ‘Atlantis’ from a self-released EP, and she fell for it hard.
Lanie, who had a considerable following, not only shared my music on social media, she called around Managers and Booking Agents insisting they put me on the books. Lanie was interviewed as part of a TV show called ‘Stories so Far’ in which she was asked which three songs she’d take with her on a desert island, and again she spruked Atlantis. The husband of the show’s producer is in fact Peter Luscombe (Rockwiz, Paul Kelly), and this opened up the opportunity of working with Peter on the show.
I’ve always resented the adage that ‘all you need is one song’. It’s not how I like to work – I want all the songs to be the best they can be. But you’ll never know what resonates with people, and this song really did open up doors for me.
I was working in the Northern Territory at the time Lanie discovered ‘Atlantis’, and I remember talking to Lanie for the first time – squeezing my head between the kettle and the wall – the only place I could get reception in this shitty little hotel room. When we got off the phone, I saved her number as ‘Lanie Fucking Lane’.
With every message/phone call, I’m reminded of this incredible champion in my corner.
  • How has your music practice changed over time?
I work a lot harder now! I guess you could say I work non-stop.
  • My top business tip for new artists is…
Don’t wait for things to be perfect to start working, i.e the right studio, balance between social/music/day job, having the best gear, etc. Conditions are never perfect – you just gotta start. Now.
And another important lesson I’ve learnt – if you happen to be given an opportunity, work really hard and give it your best. If it’s a support gig, don’t bitch about the pay (which is usually not high – support gigs are really about the opportunity to expose your music to a new audience), be there on time, make sure all your gear is in good order etc.
Don’t take any opportunity for granted.
  • My biggest career mistake has been…
Possibly doubting myself for too long, and letting this hold me back.
  • In my opinion, the most important issue facing the music industry is…
Money, money, money.

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