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Emerging Artist Of The Month: Olivia Cure

Our Emerging Artist series returns for 2024 with an exciting jazz musician who sings in three languages!

Olivia Cure has rapidly become a popular member of the local arts scene, having battled through long Covid and a change of countries.

She spoke to Dom Kureen about her journey to this point and plans for 2024.

 

Hi Olivia, when did you first realise you had passion for music?

I’ve always been around music – my dad loved vinyl and plays saxophone and clarinet, while my mum plays piano.

It was when I started living in France that I joined my first band aged 13 — we did covers of Toto, Scorpions and Deep Purple.

Since then you've had a keen interest in jazz... 

Yeah, I joined my first jazz band aged 15 as lead singer and pianist, it was my first time playing with adults (aged 21-27) and gave me a more professional image of the music scene.

I was already listening to jazz but that really ignited my passion for it.

I ended up doing a Jazz Performance degree, learned to scat, and continued with a move to Berlin.

From there I got a lot of contacts.

 

It hasn't all been plain sailing has it?

There have been a few setbacks along the way for sure.

I had long Covid symptoms for a couple of months after coming back to the Isle of Wight.

The first lockdown was a challenge, but I learned to play guitar and later teamed up with a musician called Lewis Berry during that period.

Even though it was a bit of a struggle at times, I decided to put everything into making a full-time career of music.

 

How have you found the Island's music scene?

It took me a while to find my feet, but in the past few months I’ve met a couple of musicians called Jim Thorn and Jon Thorne, who have given me tons of opportunities.

I’ve performed at Monkton Arts, Northwood House and recently joined a gypsy jazz band where I sing in French.

It has allowed me to perform the music I really love.

 


So jazz is a genre you're drawn to?

Jazz has always been my love; I’ve always connected with it.

What I like about it is how versatile it is.

I also love rock, reggae, metal… Combining all of those things is what makes it interesting I think – which is probably why I like composing as well.

 

Speaking of composing, you’ve done film scores and things of that nature – how did they come about?

My first opportunity came when a friend of mine asked me to write an original score for a student film (Relevé, see below).

It was quite a rushed project, but I felt instant inspiration with the topic.

I tapped into my African, Latin, and Brazilian influences to link to the source topic.

 

With your father being an artist, have you put music to any of his work or other similar animation?

I’ve worked on all sorts of projects with him, which haven’t necessarily been finished.

We worked on a video game together, but the game never came out.

I also put something together to celebrate 20 years of a Japanese Animation website called Catsuka.

 

Would it be fair to say that you've had quite a few inspirations from Japan?

Yes, a lot of people think of Disney as their childhood, but I think of Tokyo's Studio Ghibli as being that.

Every time I listen to one of Joe Hisaishi's scores, I end up crying.

I would love to emulate what they do, not that I want to make people cry but to create emotive music!

 

 


Other than your parents, has anyone else had a major direct impact on your music?

Lee Gibson was a teacher I ended up fighting to work with for my final year at university.

I auditioned and she thought I had potential and held me to account.

I work a lot better with that pressure and she told me she believed I could make it, which I took to heart.

 

In terms of musicians who have inspired you - which artists are the ones that spring to mind?

Composition wise: Randy Newman, Joe Hisaishi and Danny Elfman have been inspirations.

Jazz wise: Melody Gardot, Norah Jones, Esperanza Spalding, Jamie Cullum and Avishai Cohen are part of a long list, but there are too many to reference really!

I have influences from all over the world, and I think you can hear that in the music I create.


Esperanza Spalding

 

Do you find that crowds vary in different countries?

There are cultural differences.

In the south of France people are very vocal and enthusiastic – a festive environment.

On the Island I’ve found people are respectful but less overt with their emotions until after the performance.

That said, I’ve become quite emotional at how nice people have been after the gigs over here.

 

Is there any specific venue or event you would love to perform at?

I’m just happy to play music I love wherever it is!

If I’m at a place where if I feel people have had a good night then it’s amazing.

Writing for the London Symphony Orchestra (below) would be epic, but I haven't really thought of a specific venue.

Who are local musicians you would recommend people check out?

Jon Thorne (double bassist) is a prominent musician on the Island. He knows I’m a fan girl at this point!!

Tom Barker (pianist) of the Duke Ellington trio is another one who's definitely someone people need to check out.

 

How can people see you live or find your music online?

I’ve been updating my site and have a load of gigs in the pipeline.

I have some gigs lined up, including two at the Garlic Farm (on the outskirts of Sandown) on Sunday January 21 and Saturday February 24.

 I'm currently working on releasing my own music and am gathering the musicians to record this year.

*

You can find a full list of Olivia's upcoming gigs on her newly revamped website.

You can find her YouTube channel here.

 

Previous Emerging Artists


Charlotte 'Tink' Beadle

November 2022: Josh White

December 2022: Phoenix Lopes

January 2023: Meg Rasmussen

February 2023: Ben Stubbs

March 2023: Tink Beadle

April 2023: Luna Carina

May 2023: Jay Eatwell

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