Texas native Olivia Lane has been singing and writing songs since she was 16, and released her debut EP in 2016. Since then she’s racked up over 20 million streams, been featured in Spotify’s Wild Country playlist and named as one of Rolling Stone’s ‘Country Artists You Need To Know’. This week she’s been making her UK live debut, with a string of shows including a set last night in front of a packed audience at London’s The Slaughtered Lamb.
Accompanied by her guitarist Justin, Lane opened her acoustic performance with So Good It Hurts. The rock-influenced number showed off the drawl and power in her voice as it rang out through the room, and I also loved her quick delivery and how much detail she packed into the lyrics. She hit some big notes throughout the song and it definitely set the template for the rest of the evening.
Throughout her set Lane drew on a range of musical styles, from the poppy feel of the bright, knowing Quarter Life Crisis (which she toasted the audience before playing) to the sultry, sharp twang of Devil And You, which highlighted her bluesy tones and belt. She also came across as very engaging, balancing honesty and wit as she talked about the stories behind her songs and the influences on her new music, as well as cracking jokes, bantering with Justin, encouraging audience members to model her T-shirt and being unafraid to laugh at herself when things went slightly awry.
One thing which really impressed me throughout Lane’s performance was her ability to connect with the audience and capture universal experiences. Songs such as Let It Hurt – which balanced a light melody with sweet, breathy vocals and lyrics that tug at the heartstrings – and the plaintive yet defiant The One were filled with passion and openness that was really refreshing. Similarly, the wistful, optimistic The Cape captured a wish to return the bravery of childhood, with its soaring chorus and great imagery, and her mash-up of original Friends Don’t and a dreamy take on Kiss Me had a great blend of yearning and cheekiness.
Two standout moments of the set came when Lane laid down her guitar and let her vocals come to the forefront. The lilting, delicate Hey 3AM showed her softer side, with its sweet yet sad feel and delicate melody. It was a very vulnerable moment, with Lane pouring every ounce of emotion and passion into her performance, and got the biggest cheer of the night. Meanwhile, the subdued Perfect Skin was full of immersive detail that put the emphasis on Lane’s crystal-clear vocals and had the perfect balance of frankness, warmth and reassurance. I’m not ashamed to admit it made me cry!
Lane closed her set with You Part 2, which combined an uptempo melody with lyrics that she almost rapped. I loved the kiss-off feel of the song and her willingness to switch back and forth between tempos (much to Justin’s chagrin!) as well as the soulful touches in her vocals. She followed that with her most recent single, the summery yet funky You Got Me. For me the song summed up her whole performance – a huge singalong chorus, raw and honest lyrics, sweet and smooth vocals and some big notes towards the end. She was rewarded with an enormous cheer from the crowd and it’s clear she’s won over plenty of new fans.
Overall Olivia Lane delivered a set that was a great introduction to her sound. She showed off her vocal range and the myriad of styles she draws on in her music, as well as being unafraid to open up on stage and creating a genuine relationship with the audience. Throughout her performance she could be seen grinning like a Cheshire Cat and it was clear she was having a great time, with the crowd consequently feeding off her enthusiasm. It all added up to a winning combination and personally I can’t wait to see her back in the UK soon. In the meantime, we’ll just have to wait until she releases her new music in April…
Set list: 1. So Good It Hurts 2. Quarter Life Crisis 3. Devil And You 4. Friends Don’t/Kiss Me (Sixpence None The Richer cover) 5. Let It Hurt 6. The Cape 7. Hey 3AM 8. The One 9. Perfect Skin 10. You Part 2 11. You Got Me Performance date: 6th February 2019
See Olivia Lane live in the UK:
7th February – The Colonel Fawcett, London (The Round Up with Two Ways Home, Jake Morrell and Foreign Affairs)