I have interviewed and reviewed a lot of artists who are based in….
Los Angeles: none that moved there from Hawaii. I was unsure whether Hawaii has a big music scene. Fortunately, JoLivi was on hand to correct me – explaining there is a range of musicians playing in the state. She talks about the music climate in L.A. and discussed her new single, Love Who You Wanna Love. What’s more, the young star reflects on her choice memories from last year and whether she is coming to perform in the U.K. JoLivi’s experiences, both bad and good, have enforced her songwriting and guide her as a lyricist. I was excited to find out what inspired her and how she is doing; what she has planned for the remainder of this year – and how she wants to be a strong voice for women around the world.
Hi JoLivi. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! I’m doing wonderful! Thanks for asking. My week has been crazy. We just finished wrap on my music video for Love Who You Want to Love!
For those new to your music can you introduce yourself, please?
Of course. I’m JoLivi: born and raised on the island of O’ahu, Honolulu. I went to college at Colorado State University, and after I graduated, I moved to Los Angeles where I have been pursuing my career ever since! My music is a little Alternative, R&B and Electro.-Pop.
You are based in L.A. but originate from Hawaii. How does the music scene differ in both areas? Is there an active music climate in Hawaii?
Hawaii is huge for music. A lot of talented musicians and artists are from there. You know like…BRUNO MARS! The genre of music is local-based; Hawaiian/Reggae. My grandfather was also a musician and sang Hawaiian music.
What are the biggest differences you have noticed in L.A.? Are you very inspired by the people and the city?
What I find fascinating about L.A. is that nobody is really from there: everyone is there to pursue a dream.
In a lot of industries besides the arts, you get to meet people from all over the country and the world. ‘Transplants’ they call us (L.o.L.).
Your songs deal with love and hardships. It is quite a common commodity in music. How would you say your music differs from your peers?
I probably wouldn’t say it differs when it comes to hardships. Artists tend to be very emotional humans. We wear our hearts on our sleeves. We write songs about what we experience and what we feel our listeners and fans will relate to. Of course, we write about the same kind of heartbreak but we all experience it differently – our stories are all one of a kind.
The videos for the tracks Games and Chains have been viewed thousands of times. Is it quite daunting getting that sort of feedback and numbers?
It’s incredible that I can write songs that people can connect to. It’s therapy for me to get all that emotion out. My main goal in this art is to put my experiences in music and let others laugh to them…or cry…or dance!
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Love Who You Wanna Love is your current single. Can you tell us the inspiration behind that song?
In any circumstance, I believe everyone should love who they want; change how they must and be whoever they aspire to be. Just being able to live without judgement is how I see the future.
It follows your E.P., Just for You. How does the E.P. differ from your earlier work? You have faced tragedy and relationship breakup. Is it a darker work than your earlier material?
My earlier work was before the storm. It’s that feel-good music. The driving to the beach; no care in the world kinda music. Just for You was written about the three years I spent in a relationship that was probably always destined to end. I don’t believe anything I write is necessarily darker but it’s definitely more emotional and lyrically deeper.
You have said (in interviews) you want to be a strong voice for women. Do you think there are enough similar-minded artists out there? Do female artist get overlooked and discriminated against would you say?
I want to be a strong voice for anyone and everyone! I do feel close to my WOMEN because we do go through tough times. If we cry we are too emotional; if we don’t cry we’re not womanly enough.
If we stand together we look like we are whining… I mean it never ends. WHY can’t we just be!? As women in this industry, we also have to be sexy enough or funny enough. WE SHOULD JUST BE GOOD enough. No matter what.
Which singers and artists have inspired you most in your career so far?
James Taylor. Always has been! I grew up listening to him; inspired by his lyrics and his guitar playing. And of course my girls: Bonnie Raitt, Carole King; Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday; Nina Simone, Sia; Beyoncé, Alanis Morissette…I could go on forever.
With music, I feel it always depends on the mood you’re in or the things that are happening in your life – or in the world at the present time. If you asked me this after my breakup I’d probably say no music (L.o.L.). It was so hard to listen to anything without being reminded of the good times and the bad.
2016 was a busy and memorable one for you. Which memories stand out from the year?
Radio tours; Chains‘ release; Love Who You Wanna Love‘s release. My amazing team growing and growing. The discussion of the future and all of the beautiful people I would love to inspire through my music.
Obviously, you have new music out but what other plans do you have for 2017? Will you be touring the new E.P. a lot?
TOURING, for sure.
I will definitely always have the last E.P. as songs I’ll sing but I’m hoping to finish another E.P. in the next few months.
I am sure many in the U.K. would love to see you perform. Have you played here before and is it somewhere you are thinking of visiting?
I studied abroad in London and performed at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. It’s a magical place (the U.K.). I hope to be able to have the opportunity to do a world tour (or just to perform there).
Are there any new artists, either locally or mainstream, you suggest we check out?
My wonderful and talented friend Rilan. His passion for music inspires me all the time. We have collaborated a few times but have yet to produce a track. I’m hoping for a lot of that this year!
What advice would you provide any young songwriter coming through right now?
Never be afraid to be vulnerable in your music: the best work comes from your most trying times.
Whether happy or sad: give everything you have.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name any song (not yours as I’ll do that) and I’ll play it here.
(L.o.L.) That’s a hard one…hmm…
Let’s do With Every Heartbeat – Robyn