Welcome to my country music journey.
When I wake up and glance at the date these mornings I nearly have to pinch myself just to make sure that I am actually awake. The reason why? Well, because this time last year, as unreal as it still feels for me to say, I was celebrating the release of my debut country music album, ‘Another Heartache.’
I guess it’s kind of funny to tell you the truth, because when I think back to the launch night, my first thought is always the exact same: Where has that time gone?! It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a whole year. And yet, at the same time, when I think back over everything that’s happened to me during the course of that year, it’s equally tough to believe that it’s ONLY been a year!
By the way, if this makes it sound like I spend a lot of time lying in bed daydreaming in the morning, then let me just point out that I don’t. That’s far from the case! And as you guys are just getting to know me, that’s probably not the first impression I should be aiming for! I’m still working a full-time job as well, so my mornings are just like everyone else’s in that my alarm always seems to go off too soon!
But while I don’t lie there for ages daydreaming (although there may be a moment or two where I see myself on the Opry stage, but what country singer doesn’t, right?), I do try and take a moment to be grateful for how lucky I’ve been so far, that’s for sure. I think it’s important for anyone who gets to do something they love to remember to do that. But as anybody who’s ever worked in this business will tell you, there’s a WHOLE LOT of time, effort, and work that goes into a career behind the scenes just to make it to that moment where you can finally step up onto the stage and into the spotlight and do that one thing that makes all the rest of it so worth it: sing for people!
So I know I’m lucky to be doing what I am, but I know I’ve worked hard to make it this far, too. And I know the hard work is something the has to keep going as well.
But just singing for people, well that’s pretty much how all of this started for me. I’ve been doing it since I was about five years old, so I’m told! My family own a pub, Tom’s Tavern, in my hometown of Ferbane in county Offaly, which is right in the heart of Ireland for anyone who doesn’t know. And apparently I never needed too much encouragement to join in with whatever bands we’d have playing, and that became a regular thing for me. It’s safe to say I got the ‘music-bug’ at an early age, I think! And not just for singing, either. I also play the tin whistle, and, like a certain Mr. Nathan Carter, the button accordion. And like Michael English, too! I’ve been lucky enough to tour with Michael on a couple of occasions already, so I’d better not forget him!
Actually, just a few months ago, the son of country music star Merle Haggard, Marty, played a show in Moate (a town also in the Irish midlands), I found myself in the middle of an after-show session with both Nathan and Michael, all three of us playing the accordion at once. Definitely fun, and definitely a night to remember!
But to get back to how this all started for me, things just reached a point where people were asking, and asking quite often, if I’d recorded anything. But I hadn’t. And to be honest, I hadn’t even really thought too seriously about it. But I felt like I was almost disappointing people when I kept having to answer no. So eventually, I did begin to think seriously about it, and I finally decided to record an album. And that’s what I did in April of 2015, with the fabulously talented Sheerin family. That album became ‘Another Heartache‘, and it was launched this time last year. Which is why I have to take a little moment to compose myself when I look at the date these days!
The launch was held in a famous country music venue in Ireland, The Well in the town of Moate, and I was joined on the night by my special guest, Robert Mizzell, another of Irish music’s biggest names. A well-known country radio presenter, and great supporter of country music, called Joe Cooney, was actually presenting his show on Midlands Radio 103 on the night of the launch, before rushing to the venue when it ended. While he was still on-air he was reminding his listeners that the launch was on, and at the same time texting me and asking me how was the crowd looking! I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous in all my life! And that night was only going to be about the third time I was going to perform with a full band behind me, too. But thankfully over 500 friends, family, and fans showed up in the end, and I remembered the words to every song!
Since that night, I’ve known for certain that the only thing I really want to be for the rest of my life is a performer. Even though I still get nervous before every single show I do! And I think I always will. I’ve performed on tv, at concerts in front of hundreds of fans, and at festivals in front of thousands, but every single time I’m a bag of nerves before I go on. But I’m learning to get used to it and to deal with it better, and I think I’m growing in confidence all the time as well. And the minute I start to sing….my nerves vanish in an instant, and there’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather be.
I hope I get to do this for the rest of my life, I really do. And I can’t believe it’s been happening for a year already. I guess time flies when you’re having fun!
Love Olivia x
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