Psychology freshman and country musician Olivia Ooms said her journey in the music industry has been rocky.
“Nothing in life is straight forward… especially with music,” Ooms said.
Ooms said that being in the music industry has shown her that life is unpredictable and ever-changing, but she has also learned to let go. These lessons are the focus of Oom’s new single “Hideaway” released on all streaming platforms on Jan. 29.
“I wrote ‘Hideaway’ about learning to just let go and give the rest up to God,” Ooms said. “I have struggled so much with needing to micromanage my life and if things don’t go my way, then I get frustrated.”
Ooms said that she has learned to not concern herself with what other people think about her, which is important in the music industry.
“I’ve met with a lot of people in Nashville who tell me that I need to sound a certain way or do certain things because it’s what’s ‘in,’” Ooms said. “I just like to be true to myself.”
“I’ve met with a lot of people in Nashville who tell me that I need to sound a certain way or do certain things because it’s what’s ‘in.'”
Ooms describes herself as an honest, down-to-earth artist who fights conformity.
Ooms said she has had producers laugh in her face and tell her she can’t make it big as a young, female country artist.
“Even if I don’t necessarily do music for the rest of my life, I definitely know that I can make some sort of name for myself,” Ooms said. “Being a female has nothing to do with [it].”
Ooms has used music to cope with her mental health as well as to connect with God and her faith.
“Throughout high school, writing music was a really good escape for my mental health,” Ooms said. “I didn’t really know what I was going through and didn’t have anyone to talk to.”
Members from the Cal Poly music appreciation club said that they were impressed with the high-quality production of “Hideaway.”
“Some of us thought some of the production flourishes made it feel overproduced, but others enjoyed it, so that seems to be more a matter of personal taste,” computer science junior Julian Rice said.
Ooms said that she has been singing for as long as she can remember. Her first experience in the professional industry was as a child actress and model. Ooms regularly did background work for Disney Channel shows like “Jessie” and “Kickin’ It.”
On the set of “Kickin’ It,” a woman heard Ooms singing in the schoolroom and gave her a producer’s card. That producer was Andrew Lane, and he was Ooms’s first producer in the industry. He taught her valuable skills like how to establish stage presence and how to use a microphone properly, Ooms said.
Ooms, who now has 31.1K followers on Instagram, established a following when she was in sixth grade after filming a music video with a young, popular artist named Carson Lueders. Since then, her Instagram following has gradually increased.
Ooms flew to Nashville in the middle of the pandemic with her mom Jane Ooms and her boyfriend Brandon Bova to record “Hideaway” in COVID-19-safe studios.
Jane and Bova are Oom’s two biggest supporters along with her other family members.
“I often see what Olivia is doing and I can’t believe how much she has grown in such a few short years,” Jane said.
Jane said that over the years numerous people have commented on her daughter’s drive, sense of self and capability to do what she sets her mind to.
Bova said that he was proud seeing Ooms release “Hideaway,” especially after being able to see the production process in Nashville.
“She’s been fantastic her entire career,” Bova said. “She’s like her own little powerhouse, and I’m just there to help her with whatever she needs.”
Ooms said that she looks forward to performing live again, an aspect of her musical career she’s missed during the pandemic.
“Performing live was my favorite thing and when that stopped it was like a piece of me was missing,” Ooms said.
She hopes to be able to perform at wineries and restaurants when she moves to San Luis Obispo next year. Ooms also hopes to connect with her peers through her music.
“I really want to connect with the college town and the people on-campus and grow a community of people who want to come support my music and see me play live,” Ooms said.