More than a year ago, music listeners travelled out in droves to catch the legendary Olithea Anglin wow audiences with her stunning voice at Rockwood Music Hall. As luck would have it, the woman has not slowed down in the least since then. With the release of her latest single, The Enemy, already making magic for her brand new EP ‘To Be Seen and Heard’, it is easy to become entranced yet again. To give a little more insight into her one of a kind musical world, Miss Olithea was happy enough to elaborate upon it all.
Right off the bat, the musician went into the development of her latest single and EP. “The Enemy was a happy accident that continued to grow into a song. I just got a looping vocal pedal, a RC-202, and I was doing improv just [for] practice. I was honestly getting frustrated by it because I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I took a deep breath and told myself, ‘just speak’, then I quietly started saying the lyrics. I ended up liking it, so I just kept adding to it. I was really questioning where in I fit in this current climate. Do I fight for the light or do I sit back and watch the world burn? It was also just supposed to be a single then, like another happy accident, an EP came to be. I think it fit perfectly on the ‘To Be Seen and Heard’ because as a black woman my voice is at times erased from the narrative. I found it imperative to show the real human emotions black women have but aren’t allowed to express.”
Olithea has also found ways to bring out the visual aspect of her music as well. “Greenlight was my first conceptual music video. It took me way longer than I wanted to release it because well, money, ha-ha, but also I wanted to be completely sure of my vision. In the end, I think it looked so great because the people I worked with I trusted and they really put their all into it. I really look forward to the future of making more videos.”
2018 is already well underway for the musician on a high note. “[There is] SO MUCH [coming]. I have my little book of goals that I look at daily just to remind myself of the path… I also feel that I have to prepared for the path to change and just to go with it. It’s a cliché, but I do believe that when you make plans, God laughs. I wasn’t expecting to make an EP, but once I felt it and saw where the music was going I knew I had to do it. I am so happy with how it came out. I am truly proud of the work.”
2017 held some memorable moments too. “There were so many!! I think going on my first tour [was a big one]. I planned it all myself and me and my band had a great time. I learned so much as well on what to do better next time.”
Genre-wise, Olithea admits she is fluid amongst it all. “I think the real question is what is my genre?! It’s definitely under the umbrella of soul but I’m not sure exactly which kind, if that makes sense? It’s been called experimental soul or even atmospheric soul. Both sound great, so no complaints here! I think all the music I make is still evolving and will evolve each time I play it. Songs tend to sit better when you play them for a while. I consider music a living organism that can morph so its ok to take more risks. I think that’s what a lot of my peers are doing and it’s a very exciting time for soul music.”
As the new year keeps trucking along, Miss Olithea has her hopes for the future. ”This will sound silly but, I hope we can all find a common ground. So many people are oppressed and marginalized as though their voice doesn’t matter. That’s where I feel like music plays a big part because it can be used as a tool to start a revolution. Music is powerful and when used correctly, it can be instrumental in creating change.”
Other mediums help to this artist to stay inspired. “This is hard, I love so many different ones. Especially artists that incorporate music into their work. Solange’s work for ‘A Seat at the Table’ was really monumental for me. Her music was not only beautiful, but attention to detail in the visuals that came with the songs were stunning. Seeing so many black women just being real spoke to me. I also love Kehinde Wiley. I have been a fan of his for a few years. How he portrays black people is so vibrant. His use of color really inspires my synesthesia.” On that note, music is not her only craft that she excels at. “I love theater. I started in musical theater, so it always feels like home. There is something about the storytelling that is very inspiring to me.”
Musical exploration will always continue going forward. “I LOVE looping. I loop a lot already and I want to create a show just based on looping artists in NYC. There is something so interesting about doing music this way because there isn’t a wrong way to do it.”
The mindset in her craft keeps Olithea on her toes in regard to her creative growth. “[I know] that my work as an artist is never done. That idea of being comfortable isn’t real. There is so much to explore musically. There are thousands of sounds I haven’t touched or thought of. I have to find them!!”
Within her medium, the scene is a difficult place to observe. “It varies on the day honestly. Some days I think it’s inspiring and others emotionally exhausting. Things happen so quickly especially on social media that most artists aren’t able to just be artists. That’s the part that does suck the fun out of it.”
When not working, Olithea tries her best to relax. “[I will try to] sleep!! Who am I kidding? who does that anymore?”
Give Greenlight a watch and a listen below:
Listen to more Miss Olithea below:
Miss Olithea, an artist on Spotify
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