The phrase "Good things come to those who wait" definitely applies to R&B ingënue Olivia. The 20-year-old singer/songwriter has been waiting for that big break, and it has come in the
The phrase "Good things come to those who wait" definitely applies to R&B ingënue Olivia. The 20-year-old singer/songwriter has been waiting for that big break, and it has come in the form of her self-titled J Records debut, "Olivia," due out May 15.
"I've known that I wanted to do this since I was 15, but my mother always told me to wait," Olivia says. "Whenever people ask me about the business, I always say, 'Patience is a virtue,' because I might not have gotten a deal with [J Records founder] Clive Davis otherwise."
Olivia, whose last name is Longe, was introduced to Davis through producer Joshua Thompson. Known for his work with Joe and Babyface, Thompson produced Olivia's six-track demo. It was his manager who set up a meeting with Arista executives, which led to a later meeting with Davis.
"When I got there, he was actually playing the songs for all the executives that were coming to J Records," says the singer. "I walked in, and they gave me a standing ovation. Then, we went upstairs to talk, and he put the contracts down and said, 'Are you ready to sign?' We went into his living room, sat down and said a little prayer, and I signed right there."
From the sexually driven "R U Capable" to the lush "When Two Souls Touch," Olivia offers a range of emotions on her debut. "I love that Clive let me explore every part of me on this album," the singer says. "You're getting a variety on my album."
According to the New York native, "Bizounce," the album's first commercial single, is "an empowering women's song-letting guys know that you don't have to stick around and take any crap from anybody."
The response to the song, currently sitting at No. 11 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, "has been off the hook," says Olivia. "I did a show in St. Louis, and when I did the song, the crowd went nuts. Everybody knew the words. They were on the dancefloor, bugging out and having fun -- it was crazy."
Executives at J understand that, even with a hit single, the key to breaking a new act is visibility. For Olivia, that means continuously hitting the road for an ongoing promotional tour, which began Feb. 15.
"The one thing that I want to get across about Olivia is that she is the real deal," says Ron Gillyard, J Records senior VP of black music. "She is a songwriter, a singer, and a rapper. When you have someone as talented as she is, you want to put that person out there for the world to see."
In addition to her rigorous touring schedule, Olivia has also made appearances on "Soul Train," BET, MTV's "DFX," and "The Source Sound Lab."
Olivia couldn't be happier at J. With a roster that includes such musical veterans as Luther Vandross and fellow rising stars Alicia Keys and Jimmy Cozier, the J roster has become one big family.
"Luther gave us the biggest compliment," says Olivia, who is currently co-writing a song with Keys for Vandross' new album. "We were all in L.A. for the Grammys, and we went out to lunch. Luther looks at Alicia and me and says, 'It's a wonderful thing to be sitting here next to you two labelmates to see how much you two love each other, when people always think that girls on the same label are supposed to hate each other -- you guys are like my Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin, back in the days.'