Even though LIVVIA has been making moves in the music industry since 2010, this past year has been a new beginning for the pop singer/songwriter. She has a new top 40 radio hit with “Damn” (which has so far peaked at No. 31 on the Pop Songs airplay chart), a new record deal with 12 Tone Music Group, and even a new name, after making her recording debut at age 15 as Olivia Somerlyn.
“New name, new me, you know?” LIVVIA tells Billboard‘s Pop Shop Podcast (full episode below). “It’s sort of like starting from — not necessarily the beginning, but it’s a fresh start.”
A big part of that fresh start is the success of “Damn,” and LIVVIA can hardly believe the song’s climb. “It’s definitely surreal,” she says. “I just love looking at the chart. I’ll go back and just Google the chart because it’s just so cool and amazing and surreal to see that.”
What is it about “Damn” that seems to be resonating with fans? Basically, it’s the fact that (almost) everybody can relate to heartbreak. “It’s a breakup song, but it’s about the fact that you’re making a hard decision but it’s the right decision,” she says. “So I’m seeing it as a good thing in the end and it’s hopeful as well. It’s nostalgic but it’s hopeful, and it sort of works for people who have just broken up with somebody or are in a relationship that’s sort of rocky and they may be considering breaking up. The only person that it’s not going to work for is somebody who’s super happy in their relationship. But I definitely know people and I’ve even gotten messages and tweets from people being like, ‘I’m in a fully supportive and wonderful relationship and I still love “Damn,”‘ and I like seeing that comment ’cause lot of times I’ll get the comments [where] they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can relate to the song so much,’ and I’m kind of like, ‘I’m sorry?'” she laughs.
Fans just discovering LIVVIA from “Damn” can also enjoy her 2018 release “Catch a Body,” featuring Quavo — her first music under the new name. She was thrilled to enlist the Migos rapper for the track after playing the song for someone who had worked with him before. “We sent it over and he just recorded something and sent it back pretty quickly,” she recalls. “It was right around the holidays too, so it really felt like opening up a Christmas present.”
So when can we expect to hear some new music from LIVVIA? While she’s “always in the studio working on new things” and would love to release an EP or even her debut full-length album, she and her team want to let “Damn” breathe. “People are responding so well to it, [so] it’s not a super rush to put anything new out right now,” she reasons.
In our interview, we also talk about how she got her start alongside the Jonas Brothers (even revealing that she’s still pet-sitting their tortoise Shelly, years after they first dropped her off), what it was like balancing schoolwork with her career as she earned an economics degree at UC Berkeley last spring, and what she learned from the many acts she’s toured with over the years, including the JoBros, Jessie J, Meghan Trainor and more.
Speaking of the Jonas Brothers, on the podcast, Keith & Katie also discuss the trio’s super-successful comeback with the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Sucker” and what’s next for the reunited siblings.
The Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard‘s weekly charts. You can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard‘s senior director of charts Keith Caulfield and deputy editor, digital Katie Atkinson every week on the podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider. (Click here to listen to the previous edition of the show on Billboard.com.)