Olivia Lane may have sung about a "Quarter Life Crisis" on her self-titled EP, but, as one of country's hottest new stars, there's only sunshine on the road ahead for this native Texan with a voice as big as her home state. That's partly because of the impact her music has already made on her fans; and partly because everything Lane does is with pure, unparalleled optimism. As evidenced on her self-titled breakthrough EP, Lane's an artist able to effortlessly meld a freewheeling spirit with poignant, inspirational lyrics and an irrepressible drive. Because she knows as well as anyone how easily music can inspire a smile, and how a song can change a life. Lane makes her own sunshine – she's even written a track about it - but what's most magical is how intent she is in helping others to do the same.
“A lot of my material is about following your dreams,” Lane says. “About being inspired. Life is wonderful, and why not sing about it?” She certainly lives that ethos: Lane’s been following her dreams since she was a small child, singing songs for her parents in their Houston living room. And after touring with the likes of Kip Moore, Frankie Ballard and Easton Corbin, Lane will soon return to the living rooms – and backyards – of her fans, with the launch of her "She Fits" tour, where she'll hop from town to town and play to contest winners. It's pure Lane: though she may routinely inhabit stages much larger, she'll always jump at the opportunity to look anyone who loves her music in the eye, and smile.
Lane's breakthrough onto the Nashville landscape has been fast and furious – after arriving to town soon after graduating from University of Southern California, she partnered with Ilya Toshinskiy (Sheryl Crow, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan) and songwriter Aaron Scherz (Maddie & Tae, Keith Urban), and immediately found a kindred creative spirit. And once her debut EP came out in 2016, one thing was truly clear: that hers is a voice that is fearlessly fun, hopelessly optimistic and exactly what the genre needed.
“Country music, everyone has their own definition,” she says. “For me, it’s a lifestyle and it’s true lyrics. If you’re writing something that’s true to you then that’s country. How I grew up, my lifestyle and stories – that’s number one to me. Stories are everything.”
An accomplished writer, Lane’s lent her pen to six of the seven tracks on the Olivia Lane EP, and recruited some of Nashville's best songwriters to collaborate, from Jim Beavers (Chris Stapleton, Tim McGraw) to Danny Myrick (Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw) and Scherz among others. And it's a succinct sampling, skillfully produced by Toshinskiy, Scherz, and Lane, of all she has to offer: from the sweet, sentimental, banjo-propelled anthem "Lightning," to the sassy, quick-talking "Quarter Life Crisis" and the powerful lovelorn ballad, "There's a Guy," it shows a performer who is deeply connected with both her sound and her stride.
And what a unique sound it is: Lane's music is a combination of country elements – mandolin, banjo, lyrics sweetly laced with Texas twang – with a pop energy and locomotive rhythms that capture her ever-moving spirit. Part of that essence is her vast ability and in-depth musical knowledge, which she takes huge pride in – referencing everything from Michael Jackson to classic country greats. She’s often compared to Jennifer Nettles and Sara Evans, but she’s just as quick to point out a Frank Sinatra tune as she is a Sugarland song. “I love the big voices, like Reba McEntire,” she says. “But my fourth grade teacher would play us Frank Sinatra after recess in an effort to calm us down and, of course, the annoying Olivia would learn ‘World On a String’ and belt it out, which my teacher would hate! I love everything, from Katy Perry, to Jason Derulo to James Taylor. I just find it all so inspiring. Because as a kid, I would lock myself in my room and listen to music for five hours until dinnertime. I’m still that kid.”
Lane’s been following her dream ever since then. Her mother, a regional Texas singer, was the ultimate role model, encouraging her daughter by playing her the greats – Linda Ronstadt, Patsy Cline, Elvis – and making sure she could express herself in any way possible. “She noticed I was this crazy child with a loud voice,” Lane recalls, laughing. “So she put me in community theater and choir and completely opened up my world.”
At sixteen, she convinced her parents to let her move to Los Angeles, just so she could be in an environment that challenged her to push forward. “I moved to LA because I wanted to move to an entertainment capitol,” she says. “Then I went to college out there at USC and did theater, wrote songs and completely fell in love with it. I said, you know what? I could probably do this for a living.” She packed her car and drove all the way to Nashville and never looked back.
Already selected as one of Rolling Stone Country’s "10 New Country Artists You Need To Know," for iTunes Country New Artist Spotlight, as one of Entertainment Weekly “Breaking Big” artists and for CMT’s Listen Up Music Discovery Program, Lane's been garnering media buzz since the moment she stepped into the spotlight. She also recently made her national television debut on Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family" and thrilled baseball fans when she sang "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch at a New York Mets game in September. Always an open book, she shares every minute with her fans through YouTube videos and social media. “I want to be very open with my fans and friends,” she says, “and be open in my life – because life is great. If I can make someone’s day with a selfie or a song, then that’s just amazing.”
Though Lane just released a deluxe version of the Olivia Lane EP, she's always working on new music and thinking about the road ahead, guided by fans and her own endless sense that anything is possible. As she sings, on "Lightning," "here's a simple truth: do what you dare to do." It's a message she sends to others every day – most believable because it's also one that she lives herself.