I got involved with Olivia Sebastienelli at the last minute. My good friend and Musical Director Matt Bramhall called me late in the day for an acoustic gig with Olivia for “FASH MASH” and event in association with popular clothing brand ASOS. With not much time to prepare, we put together a nice, tight set which consisted of Olivia’s own original songs as well as a cover.
About Olivia Sebatienelli:
Olivia’s love of music has been with her since birth! Being driven around Croydon in her dad’s old Alfa Romeo’s was a bumpy ride with no such luxury as a radio let alone a CD player. The entertainment for every journey was the fullest range of music you can imagine, sang by the Sebastianelli sisters and their dad! It really is a diverse range of music that Olivia admires and enjoys.
Olivia got her first guitar when she had just turned 13. It was a bright pink Korean guitar by a relatively small brand named Shine. She recalls the day she bought it; “I went to a little shop in West Croydon with my dad. I remember being really embarrassed to try out the guitars because, espite being really enthusiastic, I had not yet had any lessons. I tried what felt like hundreds of top end guitars but found nothing I liked. As we were leaving I tripped over a lead in my usual clumsy fashion and as I got up I noticed this dusty old guitar. It was SO dusty we could barely make out the colour but as the pink came through I instantly fell in love with it. I just thought it was totally punk! When I took it home I played it till my fingers literally bled and then I realised I really did need lessons.”
After a few lessons from a family friend, Olivia began putting her knowledge to the test by learning a few cover songs. These cover songs were certainly not the conventional covers you would expect a young teenager to play – there was no Britney for this little girl. Olivia’s first cover was ‘Living On A Prayer’ by Bon Jovi, followed by ‘Down In A Hole’ by one of her favourite bands Alice in Chains.
After becomng more confident on the guitar, she decided to work out a song she had been singing since she was 8yrs old; ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ by Johnny Cash and since then many have compared her guitar style to that of Mr Cash.
After her guitar skills improved, she began writing her own material and she hasn’t looked back since. “I was always fascinated by women in rock and roll. Chrissie Hynde is, for me still the only woman who can hold a guitar as well as a bloke. Edie Sedgwick although not in a band, surrounded herself with art and music and was good friends with The Velvet Underground, she was Americas first IT girl, beautiful and mesmorising. The most intriguing female artist for me was Debbie Harry. She always seemed to perform with a stone cold expression on such a sweet face. It gave her an armoured, tough appearance, almost like she was hiding her emotions from everyone. That mystery has always intrigued me. I find tortured souls some of the most interesting people.”
There is a melancholy sentiment to every single one of Olivia’s songs. Twisted and entwined with catchy choruses and memorable verses, every song means something to her and she brings you into her world with every word that comes out of her mouth.
Working with some of the biggest names in British music today, a buzz is now growing around Olivia. Every song will embed itself in your head with a wonderful, dark, yet fun musical state. It is positively one of the newest and most fresh sounds to meet your eardrums in a long time.