Olivia showing some of the virtuso skills that are winning her so many fans (photo credit Annella Bulch)
Olivia showing some of the virtuso skills that are winning her so many fans (photo credit Annella Bulch)

Happy New Year everybody, and welcome to the first installment of my country music diary for 2018! And in a way, the last installment for 2017! In typical ‘me’ style, there’s a little bit of catching up to do! Haha : )

The first thing I want to say is that I hope you all had the most wonderful time at Christmas. And to all of you who I had the pleasure of meeting out at shows and concerts, and on the road, THANK YOU so much for all of your support and good wishes for the year ahead. Your support so far – every single one of you – has meant so much to me, and always will : ) And likewise, a HUGE, HUGE THANK YOU to everybody who took the time to message me and send their best wishes and kindest regards that way, too. I felt like a very lucky young lady, indeed!

Olivia in conversation with Hugh for Hot Country.
Olivia in conversation with Hugh for Hot Country.

Every year, as I make a last minute dash around the shops looking for the kind of ‘perfect’ presents that you’re just never going to chance upon on Christmas Eve, I make the same promise to myself: Next year will be different, next year I will be organised, next year I will have every last present bought, wrapped, and under the tree a full week before sitting down to some turkey and mulled wine on the big day. Yep, next year….It will have to be next year, because it definitely wasn’t this year! Again!!

Now, as anybody who knows me will be fully aware (and I may have mentioned this just once or twice before in these diary entries, too!), when it comes to timing and organisation in my regular, ordinary life…well….it doesn’t always go to plan, let’s just say that! And generally speaking, that’s because there’s never anything much in the way of an actual plan! So just imagine what the sheer madness and business of the Christmas period does to me. It’s not good for the nerves. So anyway, as the wheel of life turned full circle once more, sure enough I got to about a week or so out from Christmas with almost nothing done once again. And so, before you all, I make this promise (again!)……next year….next year!!!

But for now, back to this year! And I have to admit, I’m enormously excited about 2018! There’s a lot of stuff planned for the year ahead and it will definitely be getting off to a busy start! By now I hope you’ll all have seen the hard work we put into my new video (I always feel a little bit guilty saying that – ‘hard work’ – about making videos, because making videos will always seem like such a cool, fun thing to get to do) for my latest single, ‘Back On My Mind.’ We went for something a little bit different this time, and you could even say (at a stretch!) that I ‘acted’ a little bit in this one! I’m not into Oscar territory yet, but I tried! I worked with my good friend Stephen Rosney on this one, and I’ve been delighted with the response to it so far.

Olivia with some fellow stars of the country scene; John Hogan, Simon Casey, Stephen Rosney, and John Molloy, at a recent concert in aid of the missions in Ecuador.
Olivia with some fellow stars of the country scene; John Hogan, Simon Casey, Stephen Rosney, and John Molloy, at a recent concert in aid of the missions in Ecuador.

We also made another video with Stephen since I was talking to you guys last, but this one was for the well-known old instrumental piece, ‘The Mason’s Apron.’ So many people had been asking me if I had any videos of me playing the accordion….and I didn’t. So we put that right, and now I do! And by the way, THANK YOU all so much for the support I’ve been receiving for ‘Back On My Mind’, it’s been amazing and I’m so happy that it’s become a favourite to so many of you out there. Not just fans, but all of the presenters and D.J’s all over the country as well. It won’t be long now until the video is all good to go too, and I hope you’ll all like it just as much as the song itself, and the other videos I’ve made,too.

And guess what? I’ll also have a brand NEW SINGLE going to radio very soon! It’s another track taken from my forthcoming album. And yep, that means album number TWO is also on the way! I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am about this, but trust me, I’m EXCITED! We have a lot of work done on most of the tracks for a while now, but there’s still a few little bits and pieces that we want to add in here and there, or maybe try just a little bit differently, before we finally sit back on the studio couch and say right….that’s it, it’s finished! But we’re close….really close. So close that we’ll be announcing details of the launch night very soon, too! The new singles, like ‘Don’t Think Twice’ and ‘Back On My Mind’, will be taken from this album as well. So keep an eye on my website or my official Facebook page for details. Because who knows, there might even be a little competition happening to go with it ; )

Olivia with TR Dallas (left) and Hot Country's Hugh O' Brien, at a very festive Tullamore Court Hotel.
Olivia with TR Dallas (left) and Hot Country’s Hugh O’ Brien, at a very festive Tullamore Court Hotel.

As well as all of my own usual shows over the Christmas, I was delighted to help out with some really great charity events that have been happening as well. As any artist will tell you, we’re always willing to lend our support to any good cause, if and when we can. But obviously with our own diaries and our own lives outside of the music business, it isn’t always possible to do everything we’d like to. One concert I was able to take to the stage at recently, however, was a superb event organised by the Psychic Medium Sisters, Celine and Natasha Bracken, for their Christmas Food and Toy Appeal. The girls did their part of the show first, when they really held an entire room of hundreds spellbound as they shared the messages that were being delivered through them. I know it’s not something that everyone believes in, and that’s fine. It’s not something that everybody has to believe in. I’d never seen anything like it before, so it was certainly interesting to me from that point of view alone. After the girls were finished, myself and some of my friends from the country scene, including Stephen Rosney and the Back Axles Band, Ciaran Rosney, John Molloy, Sabrina Fallon, John Rafferty, Max T. Barnes, and The Wrafter Family, took to the stage to help everybody dance the night away.

I know I began this piece by joking light-lightheartedly about my Christmas shopping dilemma, but on a serious note, for so many people Christmas is a horrible time of the year, full of worry, tears, and even worse – and it breaks my heart to even be writing words like this in 2018 – but full of hunger. For anybody that’s doing anything at all to try and help those people, I’m so full of admiration and respect. There’s a very true saying about how it might be impossible to help everyone, but we can all try and help someone. That’s what this night was about, and to all involved in organising it, as well as everyone who came out in force to make it such a success, including Offaly’s first ever Rose of Tralee, the lovely Jennifer Byrne, I tip my hat.

Sabrina and Olivia were delighted to help out the Psychic Medium Sisters with their Christmas Food And Toy Appeal concert.
Sabrina and Olivia were delighted to help out the Psychic Medium Sisters with their Christmas Food And Toy Appeal concert.

I mentioned my good friends John Molloy and Sabrina Fallon a few moments ago, and I can’t let this entry pass without sending them both the biggest of congratulations and the biggest of hugs to go with those well-wishes on their gorgeous new single, their duet ‘The Greatest Gift of All.’ If you guys didn’t already know, the song went to #1 on the Irish iTunes Country chart in December and I can’t think of two nicer people to have a #1 at Christmas. I think 2018 is going to be a huge year for both of these guys as well, as more and more country fans become aware of two great country voices. I’m as excited to see what happens next for them as I am for myself!

One last shout out before I go, and it’s to another Molloy, although he’s no relation of John’s. One of my biggest fans – in fact, he tells me he IS my biggest – is a man called P.J. Molloy, and if I had a show on the moon I wouldn’t be one bit surprised to see P.J. float in the door! In all fairness, he’s a huge supporter of country music in general, and I always appreciate it when I see him at one of my shows, as I do with all of my fans. Anyway, due to some very bad weather one week around Christmas, I had a gig cancelled at the very last minute…last minute as in when I was there, set up, and ready to roll! But there was snow on the ground and these things can turn out like that sometimes. I’d rather a gig not go ahead than anyone risk injury trying to get to one on a bad night. I think every artist would agree with me on that. Anyway, true to form, P.J. was there, and a couple more people, too. So we did what anyone would in those circumstances…we all headed for a drink together! Cheers, P.J!

Olivia had the pleasure of performing alongside the great Susan McCann earlier this month.
Olivia had the pleasure of performing alongside the great Susan McCann earlier this month.

My Christmas wasn’t all stress and work, though, even if I did make it sound a little bit like that! I still managed to enjoy a very Merry Christmas time, with lots of sparkle, lots of glow….and lots of wine! Haha ; )

But we’re into a new year now, well into at this stage, in fact, and there’s work to be done and music to be made! And my next stop is the Sunday World Country Music & Entertainment Awards where I’m delighted to say I’ll be performing next Monday night (February 5th)! You can read all about it in my next installment.

Much love, Olivia xoxo

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