INTERVIEW – Olivia Swann Tells Us All About Her New Single ‘Salty’

Olivia Swann is a rising R&B artist who has recently released her debut single ‘Salty’ featuring Jane Handcock. The single is now available to buy and stream here!

After hearing this incredible R&B track, we wanted to know more about the inspiration behind the song and what it was like working with other talented artists! Here is what Olivia had to say: 

Hi Olivia! I hope you’re doing well. Why don’t you start by telling us about your debut single ‘Salty’? How did that come about? What’s the inspiration behind the track?

So ‘Salty’ is quite a unique subject for a song and it is, unfortunately, a true story! I wrote ‘Salty’ whilst at college as a result of a shitty housemate experience! I was sharing a house with a girl who stole my brand new pair of Jordan 12s. Bearing in mind I’d never worn them, she took them and posted selfies wearing her “new shoes” all over Instagram and was getting so many likes/comments about ‘her’ amazing style, so I just had to do something with my feelings, which turned into the creation of ‘Salty’! 

 I wrote it in California with writers Darcy Callus, Maya Batra and Jane Handcock, it was one of the quickest songs I’ve written! I guess when something is so fresh and has happened to you, it’s a very easy creative flow! I ended up collaborating with one of my favourite producers, Symphony, and he is also based out in LA. I love working with producers out there, and this record in particular definitely needed that throwback West Coast/R&B vibe, he made my sonic dreams come to life!

Even though I had a rough start with this story, honestly the best things ended up happening from this, I made ‘Salty’, and I eventually bought another pair of the Jordans! But as a sneakerhead, it is honestly one of the most disrespectful things she could have done to me. Like, seriously, why not steal a pair of Crocs, or fresh sandals, or a hoodie or something?!

The single features Californian singer Jane Handcock. How did this collab come about?

Honestly, this collaboration between myself and Jane is really a full-circle moment for me. I heard her music a couple of years ago, been a huge fan of hers since, and knew that we had to work together one day. Her voice and sound are so unique, I’m so drawn to her artistry and songwriting, and once I heard the production of ‘Salty’ I knew she would be the perfect feature. We’d been wanting to work together for a while, so this year, during Grammy week, whilst I was out in California, we tried to connect to make ‘Salty’ our first collaboration. We eventually pinned each other down, cut her vocals up in her hometown of Oakland, and then shot the video together back in Hollywood, LA. Luckily, just before Coronavirus hit really bad! 

Whilst we’re on the topic of collaborations, is there anyone you wish to collaborate with? Who would you choose and why?

One of the artists I’d most like to collaborate with is the masterful James Fauntleroy. To me, he defines the art of songwriting and I’m lucky to call him one of my mentors, but to actually get in the studio and work on a record together is definitely on my goals list!

You have worked alongside some talented producers and songwriters. One of which being Rico Love who has worked with Beyonce and Usher. What was it like working with him? Has he given you any good advice?

It was such a great experience working with Rico in the studio, he is the definition of a master of his craft. We like to work in a very similar way in terms of striving for perfection in each vocal & production. I loved how he led our session, wanted me to cut multiple takes and then we’d piece the song together line by line, even word by word if needed. The thing I admired most was his attention to detail, down to each individual syllable, to the breath sound and placement. All of these things showed me what it takes to create a legacy such as his, and how much he cares about the music and the artists he’s working with.

You’ve been working with him alongside other inspirational female artists such as; Sevyn Streeter, K Michelle, and Ling Hussle. What can you tell us about this project?

Last year, I was invited by Rico Love to be a part of his latest project ‘Rico Love Presents Emerging Women of R&B’ which dropped on May 8th! He flew me out to Miami to record the song, we had a great time in the studio cutting this. I feel so lucky to be on this project alongside some of my favourite artists in the industry right now, like Sevyn and Ling Hussle. Working with Rico is definitely a highlight of my career so far, and getting to work with the man behind some of my favourite records like ‘Sweet Dreams’ for Beyonce is such an amazing feeling. To be recognised and supported by him is a huge blessing. This is just the beginning of us working together, so watch this space!

You’re very passionate about the empowerment of women within the music world. What advice would you give to a young female artist wanting to get into the music industry?

The first thing I think is to be patient with yourself. Allow yourself to take the time to understand who you are, who you want to be, what your sound is, all of these things so then you’re prepared and sure of yourself before entering the industry where everybody is going to have an opinion on who you are and who you should be. And consistency is so key. Keep on persevering and don’t give up pursuing what you want. Often more times than not, what you’re doing might not necessarily at first be recognised or even understood, but something that’s authentic to you will always prevail, you just got to stay true to believing in yourself, and eventually you’ll turn all those peoples heads.

And finally, do you have any other plans for 2020 that you can tell us about?

 Despite the madness of COVID-19, it is such a busy year for me! The next thing to stay tuned for is the ‘Salty’ music video which is dropping so soon! I’m also really excited because I’m going to be dropping more singles this year, as well as collaborating with some really dope producers/writers in the US & in the UK. This quarantine won’t stop me!

Massive thank you to Olivia for taking time out of her day to talk with us! “Salty” is an absolute must-listen. Make sure you let Olivia know what you think of her debut over at her Facebook and Instagram!

About the author

Book lover. Concert Freak. Band nerd...that's basically all you need to know!

Head over to my Twitter where I talk about music and pretty much nothing else! - @em__media