LIVt Interview: Bringing Authenticity to the Party

LIVt Interview: Bringing Authenticity to the Party

Almost after my interview with Seattle R&B singer Olivia Thomas – his name is Olivia Thomas life value — A group of people poured into Barbossa’s small basement green room. They were the opening band members and behind-the-scenes collaborators of LIVt’s entire musical career, and once they showed up, the room was filled with pre-funk. Everyone was taking a group tequila group photo and being aloof in celebratory, anticipatory fashion.
The mood shift was a dynamic one from the moment before, when Thomas and I were talking while she was wearing makeup. The palette complemented her striking sparkly orange down jacket and cropped pink hair — because after all, the night’s much-talked-about dress code was themed around her latest single, “Pink and Orange,” written by Dave Starring Dave Shanaé. Traces of both can be seen everywhere, right down to the tropical Skittles bag lying on the table. The color impresses me.

“I’ve been trying to show that it’s okay to be who you want to be, and I feel like I’ve had success with that. I also want to try to empower people; empower other people to do the same.” – Olivia Thomas (LIVt)

Olivia Thomas LIVt Seattle
Image credits: Elise Walker (top); Logan Weston (bottom)

This shift in atmosphere is a good illustration of what Thomas brings to the stage as an artist. On stage, contemplative moments can easily turn into the atmosphere of a raucous family gathering, but all are tied to a carefully curated, intentional aesthetic. Whether it’s the dress code or the custom neon sign that boldly says “LIVt”, everything is fun and expressive. Still, it all boils down to one key question Thomas began asking herself at the beginning of her solo career: “How do I be authentic?”

“When I started [going solo], I was like, well, I have to… make people care about what I’m saying and what I’m doing. Mainly it starts with being honest and trying to resonate with people,” Thomas reflects. “Anything you hear me say in my music or on stage: that’s legitimately me. That’s not my role…the brand is all Liv. “

Thomas acquired this authenticity after numerous trials and tribulations. She had to know for herself that for someone like her, the alternative was very unsatisfactory.

“I tried to do other things. I tried to have an alter ego. I tried to be very girly. I performed in high heels. I regretted and hated it,” she recalls. “I used to perform in high heels and it felt like I needed to be super feminine… [then] I thought: this is not what I really want to do. “

Thomas studied music at Washington State University and played in numerous bands before becoming a solo artist. Even working with a cover band was a fun experience that helped her develop her musical talent — but ultimately, it was time to face her inner fear of being a solo artist. In doing so, she quickly discovers that the more she ventures into the world alone, the more she knows she’s heading in the right direction.

“Sade to Infinity” Music Video

What we see today is a LIVt brand that is aesthetically cohesive and dynamic in its live performances. Offstage, it also found a strong counterpart in moving images. Growing up without adequate film and photography resources – despite always being drawn to the medium – Thomas has begun to conceive, storyboard and executive produce her own music videos.One of her latest projects is “Sade to Infinity,” directed by Bailey Williams and taking inspiration from the romantic scene between Rue and Jules in the first season of the TV show Euphoria; it features a candy-colored palette and joyous scenes of Thomas and her partner celebrating their love across Seattle.

“Sade to Infinity” is a positive song, but it’s kind of dark because I’m in [the George Floyd] Protests,” Thomas said. “My feeling was: Okay, I’m black, I’m a woman, I’m cool, there’s an epidemic; all these things that exist are a threat. My partners were all the same thing, and we were like, ‘God, we just want to go to another place, world, dimension, something, escape everything. That’s what that song is about. Create our own space. “

“The line says, ‘They’re probably going to kill us because that’s what they do,'” Thomas added, “so it’s like: How do we enjoy the present?”

“Sade to Infinity” by Void Flower, Thomas’ six-song EP, completed during the pandemic and released in late 2020. The album became a form of therapy—a way for Thomas to find a “pocket of goodwill” in a turbulent situation.

“I call it ‘nothing,'” she explained, “because we’re in this weird time warp. We don’t know when it’s going to end. Everything feels like six months, and only two weeks…I Love the imagery of flowers – these beautiful things; these crumbs along the way – that’s what these songs mean to me…find pockets of happiness in all this mess. Every song is trying to find a happy place. “

Flowers in the Void LIVt

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Thomas drew inspiration from the region’s sunsets, which are often filled with orange, pink and purple skies. Most of her music lately has captured the feelings these sunsets evoke.

“My favorite music is the one you play on Sunset Drive. That’s how I feel,” she muses. “Summer, 9:30, when the sun goes down, the music you’re playing; when I’m not lit, that’s my 24/7 vibe.”

Summer or not, this romantic sunset echo comes in the form of buttery R&B smoothness in her latest release.Thomas aligns this evocative auditory gut feel “The endless possibilities of good times, good nights, good rest of the day, where you feel a little bit like you want to be there because you want to remember this moment.”

Thomas even tested her own work for that feeling. While making “Pink and Orange,” she recalled the moment she took a drunken ride in an Uber, replaying a track with her headphones on.

“I rolled down the car window and I just let the wind blow and played this song,” she said, “and I was like, ‘This works! That’s exactly what this song is supposed to do. It’s a good night. , good times; I feel like anything is possible.’”

This anecdote brings me back to my first moments with Thomas in the green room. LIVt is a mature experience that cuts across artistic disciplines and invites everyone to have a good time in the most stylish way possible.

“Pink and Orange” Music Video


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