Liv Austen was born just outside Oslo in Norway and originally decided to come to the UK to study at the Guildford School of Acting after her drama teacher told her that the best schools were in the UK. She attended the school for three years but all the time there was a fire burning.
Liv had played piano since she was eight and had shyly sat at the back of the church choir, not wanting to put herself forward but loving her music. After a teenage spell in Belgium where she took singing lessons with a teacher that would tell her how good she was, she remained firmly in her shell until her parents encouraged her to perform in a school music night. She covered Norah Jones and despite huge nerves, finished and felt the euphoric elation that she had “survived” something but that, whatever it was, it had made her stronger. The musical seed had taken root.
Liv listened to country radio and admired the honest story telling quality it had, the way that humour could be lyrically involved in songs of hardship and tragedy. Three chords and the truth had taken hold.
So as she finished and graduated from drama school, music would become her escape, her way of dealing with the day and night drama training. She would sit and write songs as a release not realising that moment by moment, chord by chord, music was claiming her creative soul.
Skip forward to today and Liv is playing the biggest Country Music festival held in the UK singing her own music and channeling all of that dramatic confidence into her stagecraft as she draws such a big crowd that security guards are continually trying to push the audience into its designated area. Liv smiles from the stage as everything comes together, as it all suddenly makes sense, as she plants herself firmly into the UK Country Music scene with the songs she has poured her soul into.
I was lucky enough to be there at this moment and the smile that beamed from the stage was hugely infectious as the crowd clapped and sang along before crowding around at the close of the set to meet her and try desperately to grab one of her recordings. They, like me, felt they had seen a new flower blossoming and it was a joy to watch.
Liv sang old and new songs and will release an album soon that will embrace the music she loves rather than try to stay within the genre lines that can feel like a trap for new performers. She will hopefully mix Country and pop into a winning formula. If it’s good enough for music guru Justin Timberlake and Country legend Chris Stapleton, I look forward to seeing her not only in the charts but on a bigger stage at the Country 2 Country festival in years to come.