February 22, 2017
Olivia Holt is the latest Disney actor to make the successful transition from television to the recording studio. She released her self-titled EP in 2016. Now she’s working on a new album, to be released this year. Olivia took a break from her busy schedule as a singer and actress to discuss her transition from television to music. The Tennessee native also talked about the success of her first EP and what’s next.
SoundExchange: You’re one of a number of actors who started on Disney and then launched a successful music career. Does the Disney experience provide a solid foundation for a career in music?
Olivia: There are only two words that can answer this question. And that’s: the fans. Being able to work with Disney for the time I did and building that fan base helped tremendously when making the transition over to music. Because the reality is, when the fans love the show you’re on, odds are, they’ll probably love the music you’re making, too. So when I started releasing music, the fans I had from my shows were reacting so quickly to the music I was putting out. I thank them so much for being so loyal and appreciating not just what I do as an actress, but as an artist as well. And I thank Disney for helping me build that platform.
SoundExchange: It’s fair to say that 2016 was quite a year for you. Tell us about your transition from television to a career in music. What challenges did you face?
Olivia: It’s been a really interesting transition. Music was my first love and then acting quickly took over and held back on my music for a while. So when the time came and I got back into music, I started to realize how different that world was and how it was changing the moment I stepped back into it. We now not only have radio, but we have online streaming. And there are so many more faces you have to meet and play for before anything happens. I’ve learned a lot about the type of artist I want to be and the type of music I want to make. I’ve had some struggles, but they’ve only made me want to be better and soak up more knowledge as I continue on this crazy journey.
SoundExchange: “Phoenix” was released in May 2016. You said a few times that this song was important because it was the first time you were able to sing as yourself rather than as a character you were playing on television. Do you feel that you’ve found your voice?
Olivia: I definitely feel that every day I’m much closer to finding my voice. I’m growing not just as an artist, but as an individual. And taking those emotions I feel or new experiences I have every day and laying them down as lyrics in a song is helping me reach and grasp it. And I love this journey I’m on to find it.
SoundExchange: Girl-power anthems like “Phoenix” always seem well received. Are you proud of that song and the message it conveys?
Olivia: One thousand percent, yes. The first time I heard “Phoenix,” I knew it had to be mine. Those lyrics are what I strive to live by everyday. We have to believe in who we are and know our worth and stand up for ourselves and use our voices. “Phoenix” is a song to remind us that every challenge we face or every fall we take, we’re not going to let that stop us, and we’ll rise from the ashes. That message is so important for me to convey to every person out there.
SoundExchange: You recently released a video for your song, “History.” Talk about working with your former “Kickin’ It” co-star, Leo Howard. Was it easy to shoot a video with someone whom you have such a… “History?”
Olivia: I’ve known Leo since I was 12 years old. We’re going on like seven to eight years of friendship now. So, easy to work with would be an understatement. He’s such a talented human being. And having played love interests in the past on a show for four years and having such solid chemistry on-screen, it was a no-brainer to cast him in this. And I am so incredibly proud of this video and what he brought to the table to help create the vision of this story.
SoundExchange: What’s next for you musically? Are you planning to tour to promote your new album once it’s released?
Olivia: Well, I’m currently working on new music and getting ready to do some radio promo which I’m super pumped about. And as far touring goes, there is nothing penciled in quite yet, but fingers are crossed tight.
SoundExchange: As a new recording artist who’s building her career, how important is it to receive performance royalties from SoundExchange, and would you encourage other recording artists to register with SoundExchange?
Olivia: As an artist building my career, I personally love that SoundExchange has this incredible accountably factor in what’s actually being paid. And I would absolutely refer it to other artists because it’s a simple and easy way for them to see how their songs are performing in the marketplace.