What is your name?
Hi there, thank you so much for this interview. My name is Olivia Penalva.
What is your genre of music?
I am a singer/songwriter in the pop genre.
Give us a little bio about you.
I am a 17 year old from Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. I started singing when I was 11 and at 13, I scored my first Top 30 single at Canadian radio with my original Christmas song ‘Christmas For Two”. I started touring at radio in 2014 and was fortunate enough to work in LA with several amazing songwriters as well over the years. In 2015, I worked with producer Brian West (Nelly Furtado, Maroon 5) on my single “Ferris Wheel”, and with Josh Cumbee (Madonna, Nick Howard), on “Forgettable”, which was later release by Canadian J Duo Project 49. In the spring of 2016, I released my EP “Weightless”, which won the top pop EP award at the 2016 Independent Music Awards. From that EP, we remixed and released the track Skyline, which earned two iHeartRadio Future Star awards last fall, in addition to charting top 40 in three different formats and amassing over 5,000 spins. I feel very lucky to have had the successes I have in such a short amount of time. I have an incredibly talented and supportive team, who have helped me get where I am.
Are you a signed?
No, I am a very proud indie artist! At my age, I like being an indie artist, as I am more in control of where my career is going.
You released your latest song ‘ I Choose This Love’, what’s the story behind it.
I wrote this song with my favorite fellow songwriter, Robin Ghosh. When we sat down to write this, we were thinking about how love gets you through stuff. Whether it be love of a partner, a parent, a friend, a child, and that being there for someone no matter what is what everyone is looking for. It was easy to be inspired, as I feel incredibly grateful for the people I have in my life.
what was the recording process like?
The song was originally written as an acoustic love song, and Robin and I made the demo up. Then we were looking for the right producer to take this song to where we were imagining. This song was ultimately produced by a young man named Alex Klingle, a Vancouver BC based music producer, composer, and sound designer who has his music roots in electronic dance.
What was the writing process like.
The idea for the song literally popped into Robin’s brain at like 3 in the morning, so later that day when we sat down to write, he told me about his idea, and a couple hours later, we had the song.
Describe the track in two words.
You also released the video, what was that like to film?
I am really proud of this video. It really tells the love story that this song is all about. I have to give major credits to my videographer Lee Watkins of LMW Photos. We were initially brainstorming for a video with all kinds of different love, but realized how difficult that could be in less than three minutes, and so we decided to focus on one love story and the ups and downs of that. The two main characters are actually friends of ours and did such a great job of sharing their love story and their dreams. Lee directed and filmed this over three days, and the results are so emotional and inspiring. Everyone in the video is from Vernon, and everyone just stepped up and either acted in it, or gave us locations to film at. We had an amazing team in front of and behind the camera.
Any memories from the shoot?
Filming with my friend’s little boy was pretty funny as we had to bribe him with tiny little chocolate chips, and so in one of the scene’s he is looking up at one the actors playing his dad with a big smile, but he was actually waiting for his chocolate chips. He was a real trooper as that scene took almost an hour.
Do you have any gigs or a tour of your own coming up?
Yes, I started my summer gig tour just this past weekend, where I flew to Edmonton to play at one event for Canada’s 150 year anniversary, and at an art festival. I am performing throughout the summer mostly here in British Columbia at different festivals.
If So where will you be heading?
You can catch me in New Westminster on Canada Day, here in Vernon for a couple events in July and August, and back to Vancouver in August.
What made you go in to music?
At age 11 I loved singing and putting on shows for my parents, and asked if I could take singing lessons. That turned into entering local talents shows, which turned into local performances and eventually flying to LA in September 2013 to work with Sony/ATV writer Andrew Allen, who is also my manager along with his wife Julia Allen.
Do you play any instruments?
Yes I play the guitar and use it to song write and perform, and I dabble on the piano, which I currently only use to write songs.
Who are your influences?
I originally started out by listening to Norah Jones and Colbie Caillat, but my biggest influence is definitely Ed Sheeran. I love his music. I love that his songs are stories that really draw you in. Literally just him and his guitar.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
I wrote and release my first album at age 13, and it really was more about learning the process of it all. I can’t say that the style of the music is reflective of who I was, but the end goal was completing an album of original songs. It was shortly after that, that I first went to LA and wrote a couple of songs with Andrew Allen and Robin Ghosh. I really loved the collaboration, as they are such experience writers and taught me so much about song writing. To this day, I still much prefer collaborating, as everyone bring something different to the session.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Well hopefully still writing and making music! I can’t really imagine myself doing anything else.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I am still in high school, so that keeps me pretty busy. And of course I love hanging out with my friends. I love to travel and even just relaxing and watching my favorite shows.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
Norah Jones, “Don’t know why”
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
If you love it, then do it, and don’t do it half way.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
What TV show would you love to hear your music on?
I love rom coms, so it would be pretty cool to have my music on one.
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
My guitar, my set list, the lyrics ha ha, connect with the audience, and thank the venue.
You come off tour;
1/Where do you go?
Home to my bed!
2/Who do you see?
My puppies and my friends
3/What do you eat?
Lettuce wraps from cactus Club
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?