We are Olivia Penalva fans first, humans second! Getting to chat with Olivia about everything from ‘Judge Away,’ to Tiktok vitality to ‘You Love It’ was a proper dream sequence. We know you guys love killer singer-songwriters as much as we do, and Olivia Penalva is right in that wheelhouse! Let’s dive head first into this interview!
Stream ‘You Love It’ here!
We want to talk all things ‘Judge Away,’ Tell us about the inspiration behind the song? How long was the process of creating it?
‘Judge Away’ is a very special song to me. Out of all the songs I’ve ever written, this one just came so naturally and easy. I felt like it was something I had coming for a while. I had spent a lot of my life putting too much weight on the opinions and feelings of those around me that I had noticed it began to change how I felt about myself. I woke up one day and realized how crazy it was for me to judge myself based on the things that other people didn’t like about me. ‘Judge Away,’ was my very nice way of telling people to F off because their words no longer held the power that I used to give them. And from there I brought the idea to my good friend and co-writer of the song, Troy Samson and ‘Judge Away’ was born.
We are OBSESSED with the ‘Judge Away’ music video, where did the idea for the concept come from?
I am so glad people have been loving the video. It was by far, one of my favorite shoots ever. I teamed up with Working Holiday to create something that anyone who watched, could understand and relate to. I didn’t want to do something so literal to my life for this project because it wasn’t about me. I wrote this song for every person who had lost their voice in the judgment or felt misunderstood. I wanted carefree and fun and that’s exactly what we did
‘You Love It’ was just released, congratulations! What are you hoping fans take from this track? What does it mean to you?
Thank you so much. I feel like this song is like looking into my diary. I was nervous to release it because it’s so personal, but again I know I’m not the only one who’s felt this way and that’s why I had to share it. I just hope that it reminds people that no matter what they’ve been through or how they feel about themselves, it doesn’t mean they are unworthy or undeserving of love. That it is possible for them. It means everything to me because I’ve been able to experience the kind of unconditional love that made me realize just how wrong I was. And I know others will find that too.
Can you take us behind the making of ‘You Love It’? How did this track come about and what sparked its inspiration?
This song was written as a love letter to the people in my life who have loved me, even when I’ve found it hardest to. I wrote it over zoom with my two friends Ryan Stewart and Giordan Postorino back when the world was shut down. I’ve always been able to be very open with those guys which I think is why this song came out as raw and emotional as it did. If we were gonna write this song, we were gonna say the things that were hardest to say. Sometimes It’s crazy to believe that someone could love us when we struggle to find any good reason why, but it’s possible and I am so grateful to share this song with these guys.
With how much we loved your, ‘Judge Away’ video, we have to ask, is there going to be a video for ‘You Love It?’ If so, can you give us a sneak peek at what we can expect, and if not, what visuals would you imagine to go with this track?
As of right now, there is no video in the works for ‘You Love It’ but it’s not something I would ever say no to. That’s one of my favorite parts of releasing music so you never know. For now, I do have a lyric video that just came out that I made myself. I’ve always enjoyed creating videos and so for both ‘Judge Away’ and ‘You Love It,’ that’s exactly what I did.
Your relationship with your pen is one of the things that we love the most about your artistry, where do you draw your inspiration for songwriting?
Most of my inspiration when songwriting comes from things I’ve experienced or things people close to me have. Anything from heartbreak and mental health to self-image. Things myself and many other people have struggled with before. I’ve always had a very emotional side since I was a kid and I learned to apply it to my music throughout the years. I think a lot of us just want to be understood and when I write I know that I can help people do that because I’ve been there.
Some of the biggest artists in the world hail from Canada. What has it been like growing up in such a strong music scene?
It’s super inspiring to see people who grew up very close to me achieve such a huge dream. It makes it feel attainable and possible in ways. It’s been amazing growing up in the music scene and I’ve learned so much valuable information over the years. I can only hope to one day make Canada as proud as the artist who came before me.
When you look back at the artist you were at 13 releasing your debut single, what is the biggest difference you see in your creative process compared to where you are now?
So much has changed in ways and so much hasn’t. I am definitely more confident in my writing than I was back then. I was so young and nervous but I practiced and I worked hard to make myself better every day. Back then I was so young and in order to be heard, I was encouraged to write about young people things like ferris wheels and butterflies. But I was such an old soul and wanted to write about such deep and emotional things, things I couldn’t yet relate to as I hadn’t lived through them. The older I got and through my experiences, I was finally able to write those songs. The personal songs that connect me with my audience through shared experiences. I think as an adult I am just able to be more open and honest and with that comes better music.
We’ve seen you talk about shows like Bridgerton, The Summer I Turned Pretty, and more on social media, if you could include ‘You Love It’ on the soundtrack of a show, which would it be?
It would be an honor to have my songs in any show but if I had to pick it would 100% be Bridgerton. To hear a song of mine be done with that kind of instrumentation with an orchestra, would be unbelievable. I could picture it and honestly, it would be perfect for Collin and Penelope’s love story. I’ll start manifesting 😉
‘Love Me’ was a huge success on TikTok, what do you think it is about TikTok that has become such a huge tool for artists today?
Thank you, it was a really exciting time. I think Tiktok is a great tool for artists to get noticed and have their music be more accessible to their fans. It allows us to interact with the people who invest their time into our music and content and it lets us share a little glimpse of our lives and who we are. For that purpose, I think it’s great. It can be really fun and I myself have found a bunch of artists I am now huge fans of because of the platform.
We know picking favorite lyrics is like picking favorite children but is there a specific lyric of yours that shines through as an all-time favorite?
I think my all-time favorite line as of this moment is from ‘You Love It’. The line, “Got scars on my skin like graffiti.” I think that line speaks to me because it represents all the wear and tears from the things we’ve been through. Whether they are literal or metaphorical scars they represent all the hurt. And I think the comparison of scars to graffiti is so beautifully sad. As if someone’s body and soul have been vandalized with all the pain they’ve endured. But the fact that they are scars means that they are healing.
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