Today we’d like to introduce you to Olivia Kuper Harris.
Olivia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
As a kid, I was a goofball. I remember reenacting pop music videos and album covers with friends. Our most memorable photoshoot was Britney’s Spears “Oops!… I did it again” cover. I stood in my beaded curtains and posed just like Britney, but it didn’t have the same effect. Then it dawned on us that Britney was wearing a tiny crop top and low rise jeans. I was in my pajamas!
Then there were the home videos. My brother was the director. I was the star. My friends were our accomplices. And ketchup was blood.
Whenever I get stuck in the crazy whirlwind of the entertainment industry, I look back and remember those simple times back in Texas and the joys of being creative just for fun. It gives me clarity and reminds me not to take myself too seriously along the way.
I grew up in a home with music and art everywhere. And singing was something we all did together on a regular basis. My parents were folk dancers and the sound of world music often radiated through our living room.
In high school, I studied music and got into jazz. My mom was always making sure I had productive ways to stay busy, so one summer I attended the Berklee summer music program. I sang “Lover Man” on the mainstage during their Singer Showcase and got my first standing ovation from a real crowd. It was then that I realized that I could make a career out of this.
But just jazz wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to explore acting too. I went on to study theatre at CMU and moved to LA the week after graduation.
Baz Luhrmann’s film, “Romeo and Juliet”, drew me to the city of angels. I could sense the energy of LA as I watched the Montague boys riding down the highway at sunset, screaming at the top of their lungs in the wind as trees flew by.
That first summer in LA, I was cast as Juliet in a rock musical version of Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Juliet” film and felt like I was living that dream. The production was put on by LA-based theatre company, “For The Record Live” who I’ve been performing with ever since.
In 2017, I auditioned for the Postmodern Jukebox Talent Search. As I belted out “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5, the lamp in my audition video was noticeably off-center and my mom said, “you’ll never win a competition with a crooked lamp in your video!”. Lucky for me, Scott Bradlee didn’t mind and I’ve been touring the world with the group since.
Today, I’m happiest when I’m making the music I want to make. So I strive to work with amazing musicians, writers, and producers to create music I enjoy. This takes me down a more interesting and fulfilling path than if I were to strive for anything else.
Has it been a smooth road?
Failure, obstacles, and unknowns are just part of the equation when it comes to being an artist. This career isn’t for the faint of heart. My experiences with failure continuously change my life course, but always lead me down a more authentic path.
I was once cut from two shows I’d been a part of that I thought would change my life. At the same time, I ended a four-year relationship with the person I thought I’d be with forever. I thought I’d lost everything. However, that same year I was able to travel and tour the world for the first time with no obligations in LA keeping me from fully committing to the present moment. Those experiences I ended up having on the road changed and strengthened me, my goals, and ultimately my trajectory. Turns out, I had everything to gain! If you can’t already tell, I like to stay pretty positive. I’ve been through enough to know that all we can do is move forward.
I still face obstacles in my career all the time, and I know that every time I put my heart into something, it’s a risk. But my calling is to sing and perform, and so I’ll keep putting myself on the line for the rest of my life.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I’m creating a new album, JUICY, that captures a new, fun, sassy, and empowered chapter that I’m excited to share with everyone! I’ve launched a campaign to fund its creation and the early bird opportunities to be a part of it are going fast at www.oliviaisawesome.com!
I perform regularly around Los Angeles. You can follow me on all my socials (listed below) to find out where I’m playing next! I sing jazz, soul, funk, and pop. Come say hi! And if you happen to be in Europe this November, stay tuned as I’ll be posting my PMJ tour dates to Instagram!
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
My favorite thing about LA is that I’m surrounded by creative drive! You can work with the best of the best here. My least favorite thing about LA is traffic!
- $25 to help fund and get a digital download of Olivia’s new album JUICY at www.oliviaisawesome.com
- Website: www.oliviakuperharris.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/olivia.kuper.harris/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/olivia.kuper.harris/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/olivia_k_harris
- Yelp: https://www.patreon.com/oliviakuperharris
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/user/oliviakharris
Anna Grace Barlow