Interview with Olivia Morreale: the Pop Artist Turning Dreams into Reality
Indie-pop artist and producer Olivia Morreale is set to release her debut EP, SPACE DREAMS, on June 11.
The release will feature four tracks: "No Answer," "Parasomnia," "Another Moon," and unreleased single "Matter of Time." Created in collaboration with songwriter and producer Eli Koskoff, SPACE DREAMS is a dreamy homage to powerful women of music across multiple genres, including jazz, alternative R&B, 70s funk, rock, and bedroom pop. Conceptually, Morreale explores the mind and what happens when we fall asleep, allowing listeners to escape to their own imaginary world and engage with her one-of-a-kind soundscape.
We spoke with Olivia Morreale about her most recent single "Another Moon," upcoming EP SPACE DREAMS, and her influences.
At what age did you start playing music?
I started doing musical theatre when I was around nine or ten, and it developed into singing and songwriting later. I think my first show was the Sword in the Stone, and then I did Peter Pan... I played Peter Pan. I never knew you could be a pop artist, I just thought you could be in musicals.
How would you describe your sound?
I studied jazz and songwriting, so my sound really brings a jazz element to pop music. Moving forward, there will be a lot of disco elements in my music; I think jazzy disco is really interesting to explore. I’m R&B influenced, but I wouldn’t say I’m right in there with pure vocal R&B. My music has this quality where you’re almost in a dream-state and all of those genres are happening-- it’s like listening to music through the lens of a weird dream.
"My music has this quality where you’re almost in a dream-state and all of those genres are happening-- it’s like listening to music through the lens of a weird dream."
Who are your musical influences?
Amy Winehouse is my main influence-- vocally and as a songwriter. I also love Stevie Nicks; I’m influenced by a lot of women who are not afraid to just create really great art. I feel like the platform for women’s voices to be heard in that way is growing, and that’s been really inspirational.
What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on?
I was in an all-girl band, which was really cool because we wrote about our experiences as women, as well as doing other things. That brought a lot of confidence to my artistry because I was surrounded by four other women who were doing great things.
Talk to me about your latest release “Another Moon”.
“Another Moon” is a song off of the project SPACE DREAMS, which I’m going to be releasing in June. I wrote and co-produced the record with my friend Eli Koskoff; it’s a duet, and we tried to bring a dreamy vibe into the song. There’s a verse and a chorus, but we tried to base it more on overlapping themes than traditional song structures. Lyrically, it’s about escapism-- about building a new imaginary world. There’s a video coming for the single (after the release of SPACE DREAMS).
Tell me a little bit about your upcoming EP SPACE DREAMS.
We wrote the songs over the course of a couple years because we wanted to write everything together, but I finished production on the songs on my own over the pandemic. It was challenging, but it led to some really interesting stuff, including visual elements. The singles I’ve released so far will be on the EP, and then the last song is sort of a slower, almost folk ballad. The EP is going to be a really diverse set of songs, but it’s still really cohesive.
How do you create your visuals/album covers?
I released “Parasomnia” a couple of months ago, and I hadn’t planned on making a video for the song originally, but then I met someone who I really connected with visually and we wanted to work together on something. We shot this huge video at her house and it was sort of like a warped Alice in Wonderland concept. The song is about your subconscious and what happens in your mind when you dream, so we tried to keep the video aesthetically tasteful but also slightly disturbing. For “Another Moon”, my friend and I decided to shoot random footage in outdoor places around LA without any specific agenda. We went to Bombay Beach, which is this abandoned beach, and Slab City, and we got random video content with the stuff we found when we got there. Now we’re editing it all together and choosing the shots we want to use.
Talk about your experience as a woman in the music industry.
I studied jazz voice, and a lot of the jazz world is men. There’s a lot of sexism, and as a singer you have a different repertoire than a lot of the instrumentalists, which is perceived as a lack of knowledge sometimes. It’s kind of a knock on your self-confidence because it’s like, “I don’t know that Sonny Stitt record, but I know every song that Ella Fitzgerald has ever sung.” It took me a while to realize that I have the same intellectual curiosity as any man, and that it wasn’t a ‘me thing’. It’s really unfortunate, but it’s also helped me to not care about certain small things and I’ve learned that being assertive about certain things and just showing that you know what you’re doing is really important.
What advice would you give to young girls hoping to break into the industry?
I’m working on this right now, but I would say that if there’s something you want to do or learn, you should deeply learn it and have patience in the process. I’m learning how to use synths right now, and it takes a long time-- people do just that for their entire careers. Things take a long time to learn really well, so it’s important to be patient with what you do.
Listen to "Another Moon" below and pre-save SPACE DREAMS below.