Music Insight Series // Olivia Reid
At The Marketing Mixtape, our goal is to support and provide inspiration for musicians looking to take the first step towards their dream. Olivia Reid is an inspiring singer-songwriter from Sacramento, California. As a student at the NYU Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Reid refuses to fit into a mold, often pushing the boundaries to create unique sound arrangements and powerful lyrics. Her success is not only limited to music --- she also owns a company called Breeze Street Media which functions as an indie label, music publisher, and production company. Her most famous single “Above the Clouds,” her collaboration with Australian duo, SYDE has over 15 million streams on Spotify. Keep reading to get a behind-the-scenes look at being in the music industry today.
How did you get into the music industry?
I’ve been writing songs since I was about 6 years old and playing guitar since 8. I grew up fascinated all genres of music, but it was always just something I did for fun. Around 14, I started writing top lines professionally (wrote and sang the lyrics & melody) for producers in the indie-electronic world online, and I realized then how little I knew about the “industry” side of music.
I ended up applying to colleges to learn more about the business and production side and was super excited to land a scholarship to attend NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music- which I study at now in New York City. I started songwriting with other artists, learning production techniques, interning, and traveling to learn from new people.
What's your role in the music industry, both as a musician & as a music business professional?
As a musician, I’m a singer and guitarist on stage, as well as a songwriter and producer in the studio. I do a lot of songwriting and production for other artists too, including some scores for short-films and commercial music.
On the business side, I own a small business called Breeze Street Media, LLC that functions as an indie label, music publisher, and production company. At the moment, I self-manage my own artist project and the Breeze Street catalog, and I try to learn new entrepreneurship skills from everyone I meet. I’m hoping to grow Breeze Street Media to be a bigger team in the near future!
How would you describe your sound as an artist?
I’d say my sound sits between a few different genres. It’s an alternative that blends folk-based, organic sounds with experimental, electronic synthesis and melodic vocal layers. I usually end up somewhere outside the boundaries of expected lyric structures, and always have very visceral ideas in mind when it comes to my production and sound design.
Where do you find inspiration for songwriting?
My songs are often inspired by concepts of nature or something I’ve witnessed in the world, which then serves as a basis for me to create a lyrical narrative around. I often write songs that I thought I was writing about a fictional character... and only later do I realize it was all a metaphor for something I experienced myself. Stories from my own life, from friends, from the news, from poems, from my travels, from my lucid dreams... all end up in songs.
I first heard your music when listening to “Above the Clouds,” your collaboration with SYDE - how do you think you have grown as an artist since that was released in 2017?
That’s awesome! “Above the Clouds” I wrote the song in my freshman year dorm room, and at that time Will, Mitch (SYDE) and I wanted to write the most positive, feel-good tune ever. Since seeing how many people connected with that, I feel like I’ve grown a lot in accepting my own style as something that matters and is worth sharing with others. I know there are people who will always be more talented, more skilled, more connected than I am in the music world, but at the end of the day, the one thing I can be my best at is doing my thing. At that point, I really started thinking about what I wanted “my thing” to sound like, and have since grown a lot in my own production as an artist.
How do you balance your music career with the management of Breeze Street Media?
I love making music and creating something out of nothing. Since Breeze Street is centered around music and visual content for both myself and other artists, it’s been a process of scheduling everything minute by minute to figure out that balance. It’s been hard to do --- especially while I’m a full-time college student. I’m still learning how to divide my time, especially while trying to keep a healthy balance in order to experience life like any other 20 year-old! I try to spend a good amount of time in nature, exercising, doing yoga, and eating healthy so that I can be efficient both as a business professional and as an artist.
With your work as both an artist and a producer, who are some of your main inspirations in the industry?
I have so many! I think my big influences include everyone from Sylvan Esso, Bon Iver, Florence Welch, and Fleet Foxes, to Erykah Badu, Norah Jones, and John Mayer. That being said, I’m inspired by all genres of music. I could go on forever!
What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?
Be kind and always spread love! The world is so full of darkness right now but musicians play a significant role in a lot of people’s lives - never underestimate how much your music can mean to someone. Don’t underestimate the power of hard work! I try to focus on forward movement and trust when things feel right. I don’t always know if I’m headed in the right direction, but forward always seems like a good way to go. :)
Want to hear more?
Watch Olivia's new music video for Norfolk Drive here:
Subscribe to her new YouTube channel (in collaboration with VEVO):