Twenty-one-year-old singer-songwriter Olivia Rubini released her debut LP, “Silhouettes,” on Jan. 29.
Produced by Ritchie Rubini (The Caulfields, co-writing credits include releases on Wind-up, A&M, Sony/BMG and Hollywood Records), the 10 original songs on the album feature lush arrangements, were penned by Rubini, and document an emotional journey following the end of a significant, impactful relationship.
“‘Silhouettes’ is about taking a not-so-beautiful love story and making something beautiful from it,” says the singer.
While “Silhouettes” is Rubini’s first, full-length release, the Delaware native is no stranger to creating music. She’s been releasing songs since she was 15 and has released 10 singles since 2015. Her song “To You (Remix)” received more than 150,000 plays on Spotify, and her style throughout the years has evolved and transformed into a deeply personal reflection of her life and growth.
PW recently caught up with Rubini to talk about the debut album and her career.
PW: Let’s go back to the beginning. When did you first become interested in music? Who were some of your earliest influences?
OR: As a child, I grew up in a household surrounded by musicians and a wide variety of music, which allowed me to have such a deep appreciation for music, both as a listener and as a creative. From as early as I remember, music was always a huge part of my life, whether it be taking naps in guitar cases, listening to old-school rock with my dad, or taking home videos of my 6-year-old rendition of the National Anthem. Growing up, my favorite place to be after school was the studio, while I watched my dad, Ritchie Rubini, produce countless young artists. This unique experience, combined with my deeply entrenched passion for music, truly gave me the opportunity to begin formally releasing music as a young teenager in high school.
Since I grew up in such a musical household, I was blessed to be surrounded by genuine, real musical influences; lots of old-school classics like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Todd Rundgren, Hall & Oates, Eagles, The Highwaymen, Pink Floyd, as well as newer influences like Sigur Rós, Coldplay, John Mayer, and countless others (all of which have influenced my music heavily). I feel like this connection with such a wide array of music from an early age truly taught me to genuinely appreciate music as a whole and find relatability in every message which transcends eras and genre. Those classic influences really showed me the value of timelessness and performance.
PW: Your debut LP, “Silhouettes,” recently dropped. Talk a little about how the album came together. Are you happy with the final result?
OR: “Silhouettes” started with the idea that I wanted to create a record of real music with real musicians and well-written arrangements, much like my early influences who crossed genre lines and made music that felt good. This album, for me, is a huge milestone of personal growth as an artist, performer and writer, both musically and lyrically. I sort of ran with the idea of escapism throughout the record, which is represented in the arrangements, vocal production, and, most noticeably, the artwork. I think every song has a great, unique combination of genuineness and escapism, which was one of my goals for this record. With having that goal in mind, I wrote lyrics that were fiercely real and organic while being catchy and relatable. This thread of relatability and vulnerability is definitely present throughout the storyline progression of the record and that was immensely important to me as a writer; I wanted to be an honest storyteller and portray genuine emotion that connects with people.
Honestly, I’m absolutely elated with the final product…This record was a big step forward in my transformation as an artist by creating a full, cohesive body of music that I had full control over. As I’ve gotten older and released more music, I’ve become more comfortable with voicing my opinions and standing by my creative ideas, and this truly allowed me to create something I’m utterly in love with.
PW: You wrote most of the lyrics for the album. Can you talk a little about your writing process? Where do you find your inspiration for your lyrics?
OR: The writing process for each song on the record was slightly different; a few songs were collaborative efforts, others were written in minutes, and others took months of writing and subtle tweaking. Regardless of the individual processes, all the lyrics in this album are very personal, genuine, and a bit vulnerable at times. Whether the song flaunts a sassy, empowering message, or confronts issues of self-doubt, the lyrics are real, which is something I put a lot of emphasis on throughout the record.
The ideas and emotions presented in the album all come from personal experience; over the last few years, I had found myself constantly writing down lyrical ideas or phrases of emotion, so through my own writing I was able to slip back into various mindsets to really dig deep and release those feelings through music. The album is a roller coaster of emotions and is truly a healing process, which reflects my own personal experience, which fostered my growth as an artist and as a writer.
PW: You’ve released 10 singles since 2015. How has your music evolved over the years? How would you compare yourself in 2021 to the artist you were in 2015?
OR: The musical and artistic evolution throughout the last six years is pretty insane. At 15, I didn’t know who I was as an artist and I most certainly didn’t have the life experience to write as I do today. As I’ve gotten the opportunity to create more music and have more experience writing and recording, I’ve become far more sure of myself and my artistic visions in all aspects of the creative process. When I started making music in 2015, I had ideas but lacked the knowledge necessary to put those ideas into action. I think the progression of this knowledge is even apparent to the listener while going through my discography.
Without a doubt, I’m beyond grateful for those 10 singles, and I’m still extremely proud of them for what they are, because without them, I would not have “Silhouettes;” I think it’s necessary to appreciate the small stepping stones while simultaneously being proud of personal growth. I think that now I am more aware of myself as an artist and I have a clearer idea of who I want to be, what I want to create, and the messages I want to convey to my audience. Further, throughout this album, I had such immense control over every aspect of every song that they’ve become so much more significant to me than any of my previous releases, which is an intense, passionate feeling.
PW: Being from Delaware, you must have some Philly connections. What are they?
OR: Taking small day trips to Philly has always been an exciting thing to look forward to. Although my family takes an annual day trip to get cheesesteaks and Italian pastries for my dad’s birthday, one of my fondest memories from Philly is from when I was about 12 or 13. My dad randomly decided to drive me up to Philly and show me around South Street and take me to Jim’s, which I had never had before (since my family usually goes to Pat’s or Tony Luke’s). I remember it being a really breezy spring day, so the weather was perfect for walking around town and listening to my dad tell little anecdotes about his experiences in the city. I’ve always enjoyed driving up to Philly, whether it’s an impromptu decision or our annual visit. Nothing feels more East Coast than Philly, and coming from an Italian family, there’s something very welcoming and homey about Philly that I’ll always love.
PW: What’s ahead for you, assuming the pandemic eventually ends?
OR: After this pandemic ends, I hope to start doing a lot more live performances while continuing to create and release new music. Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in several virtual shows, and I feel as though I’ve become a more confident performer, partially since I have so much new music that’s enjoyable to perform in a charismatic way. As a young teen, there was always a bit of uncomfortability in performing, but I’ve definitely moved past that and have found my presence on a stage, so I’d really love to show that off once concert venues open up again. Until then, I’d like to continue doing recorded/live performances on social media in hope of curating a larger audience for those eventual in-person shows.
Besides live shows, I have plans for some upcoming music that I’d like to start very soon; the more content I can create, the better! I feel like right now I’m on a bit of a creative kick so I want to take full advantage of that in the coming months, regardless of the pandemic.
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