Strong, empowered and confident; there are few words more fitting to describe the sound of Canadian pop phenom Olivia Penalva.
At just 20 years old, the west coast songstress has continued to prove she’s a relative tour-de-force. With over 6.5 million streams under her belt, and more than 43k YouTube subscribers already taking notice of both her inspirational message and honest lyricism, it’s not hard to see why.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to write songs that really talk about things that may not always be happy — but are important to share — all while helping to lift people up out of whatever may be going on in their lives,” she explained. “I also want to motivate my fans and let them know they're not alone in what they're going through. It’s so important for music to have a message that people can relate to — which makes it mean so much more.”
The past decade has been nothing short of an exciting journey for the singer/songwriter, who has come a long way since singing along to the radio in the family car. Thanks to a comment made by her mother, the young would-be musician soon found her voice — and it didn’t take long for the accolades to start rolling in.
“That was the moment I decided to start taking lessons, and just writing my songs,” she recalled. “Back then, I was very influenced by jazz, which really blended into what I'm doing today. That’s just the way things mesh. I’ve always wanted to tell stories when I sing — to really connect with people — even from the beginning.”
Olivia’s career kicked into high gear after scoring her first Top 20 single at Canadian radio with Christmas for Two in 2013 — with the track going on to win an Independent Music Awards (IMA) nod for Top Holiday Song. By 2016, Olivia was named Starlight Music Chronicles TEEN Artist of the Year, while her acoustic version of Florida Georgia Line’s H.O.L.Y. was chosen by Whiskey Riff as one of their top country cover songs.
That spring, Outside the Stars broke the Top 100 on Canadian Radio, while her EP Weightless took home Top Pop Award at the IMAs. Success continued with her release of Skyline (The Madlucky Remix), which earned her two iHeartRadio Future Star Awards, in addition to charting in the Top 30 on three different formats.
Four years later, the musician’s Dream You Home would make it to No. 7 on the Top 10 Hot Adult Contemporary charts, as well as rack up over 500,000 streams on Spotify alone.
Over the years, Olivia has had the opportunity to work with a number of major players in the music scene, including producer Brian West (Nelly Furtado, Maroon 5) on her single Ferris Wheel, and Josh Cumbee (Madonna, Nick Howard) on Project 46's Forgettable.
It’s these connections and more that have helped the musician’s sound continue to grow and evolve — and despite its obvious challenges, 2020 has been no different.
Earlier this year, in addition to hearing her cover of Have a Little Faith in Me featured on American Idol, Olivia unveiled a pair of brand-new offerings, adding Vanilla, as well as the current single No Rush — thanks to a deal with UK-based record company FrtyFve —to her already extensive resume.
Next up, Olivia is set to release her highly anticipated third album in Spring of 2021.
“I'm really excited. It's definitely taken me some time, but I feel like I’ve grown so much as a musician and songwriter that this next record is going to be something really special,” she said. “It’s been an incredible ride so far, with so many people supporting me and listening to my music, I couldn’t be more grateful. I can’t wait to see what comes next.”