Inspired by her life experiences both good and bad, Jolivi has worked tirelessly since bursting onto the music scene in 2013, to create songs with emotional depth and meaning. Her new EP Just For You was released in April and has won her a whole new army of fans, in large part thanks to her smash hit single “Games.” Now with big plans for the future and dreams of playing Madison Square Garden, she kindly agreed to this interview to chat song-writing, social media and musical influences.
PW: How would you sum up yourself and your music up in a couple of sentences?
JoLivi: I am a lover not a hater. I believe everyone has a voice and a way to express themselves whether in the arts or in any other profession. I think my music is soulful, vibey with some pop thrown in there.
PW: Which bands and artists did you grow up listening to and how did they influence you? Have such influences changed over the years?
JoLivi: I grew up with a mother who instead of having a library of books she had like 10,000 albums! She had everything from James Taylor, Jonathan Brooke, Bonnie Raitt, Prince, Michael Jackson, Susan Tedeschi, Alanis Morissette, David Bowie, Elton John, Karla Bonoff, Stevie Nicks - I could go on forever. I guess I can say I was influenced by the longevity those artists and bands had. From previous generations to mine and on just myself in particular…each of those artists have played a part in my career and in my personal life.
PW: When did you first realize you wanted to be a performer? Was there an album you listened to or concert you attended that made you think 'yeah, I want to do that'?
JoLivi: My grandfather was a Hawaiian singer. He had the most beautiful voice I will ever hear till the day I die. And his voice lives through me. It wasn't something I realized I wanted to do. It was something I always KNEW I would, even at a young age. In terms of of outside influences, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey were two female artists I saw live at a young age. I was immediately drawn to the stage!
PW: You've since gone on to be been championed by several music outlets, but does that sort of recognition actually matter to you or are you more focused on the thoughts of your fans and creating the music that YOU want?
JoLivi: The reason I love the female artists that inspire me, is the same reason I'm aspiring to be one. They write music that reminds me that my feelings are valid. Whether I'm heartbroken over the loss of a family member, a lover, or even a pet. There is no better accomplishment in this industry then when a fan is truly inspired by your music and your lyrics.
PW: How easy/hard do you find the song-writing process and who/what most inspires you?
JoLivi: Sometimes the lyrics just flow right out and sometimes finding just that one word takes forever. I'm inspired by the current events in my life. When everything is fine and going smooth lyrics are a little difficult to find. Also, I can't take past experiences and write about them later because the feelings are no longer present to me.
PW: Which song, in your opinion, is the greatest ever written and why?
JoLivi: Easy..."Your Song" by Elton John.
I don't know if there's a why. The song pretty much speaks for itself. There's no underlying meaning - it is what it is - AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL!
PW: Tell me about your EP Just For You. Could you pick a favorite track from the collection?
JoLivi: It’s an album based on one relationship. A relationship that I can't explain in actual sentences. That is why they turned into songs. "Don't Matter "started as my favorite and then in a couple weeks "Do It" became my favorite. It changes all the time in relation to the way I'm feeling.
PW: The EP features your huge hit "Games." Did you ever expect the song to get the reaction that is has from both critics and fans?
JoLivi: The production of this song, to me, is incredible. It’s haunting and alive. Lyrically I put my tears into this one. There were times in the studio I'd be laying down my third harmony and I'm trying to hold back my tears. I'm sweating from belting for 6 hours and I'm giving everything I have to have my listeners hear what I'm feeling.
PW: What was it like working with renowned producer Brandon Frieson and what did he bring to the creation process?
JoLivi: Brandon is a huge mentor to me. He never let me slack and time was never an issue, meaning if it took all day to get that perfect run then we would be there all day. But then we would take a break, go outside and talk about life in general. Not to find inspiration, but to remember that there is life outside the walls of the studio.
PW: What's been your favourite live performance to date?
JoLivi: That's hard. Really hard. All of them. Every single one. Whether it was for 10 people or 10,000. Having even just one person come up to you at the end of your set and tell you how your music made them feel is the same as if 100 people did.
PW: If you could play one venue anywhere in the world, which would it be and why?
JoLivi: I think any female artist who grew up with this dream would say the lovely Madison Square Garden.
PW: If you could share a stage with three other bands or artists, who can be living or dead, who would they be and why?
JoLivi: James Taylor is my number one for sure! His music is my drug. When I'm down or happy or any feeling, I want to listen to James. All the time.
Sara Bareilles is my second. Her albums got me through so much heartbreak. The loss of my grandfather. The loss of my person. She's humble and kind and a lyrical genius if you ask me.
I would say Beyonce as one or two or three..ha! All of my choices…but at the same time I appreciate that she is someone that I strive to even be half of. She is just on a whole other level where no one else is or should try and reach. NOT IN ANYWAY DO I MEAN THAT negatively. She is the Michael Jackson of my time!
PW: What are your touring/performance plans for the rest of the year? Will you be playing any festivals this summer or just focussing more on your own shows?
JoLivi: I would LOVE to play some festivals. I have some shows coming up in July in Florida and Hawaii and more!
PW: Are there any plans for you to head overseas and play in Europe?
JoLivi: OF COURSE. I would love to. I studied abroad in London and also played AIDA in "Aida" at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
PW: What are your thoughts on social media and do you agree that it's a necessary and useful tool for bands and artists today?
JoLivi: I think it’s fabulous, your fans always knowing what you're up to. It makes them and myself feel like they are growing in my career with me!
PW: What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
JoLivi: Working on another album and hoping to jump on a tour with a special someone!
PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate ambition as an artist and with that in mind, whose career would you most like to emulate?
JoLivi: Ultimately it’s to inspire. And after I get there, helping charity organizations. I want to give back. I feel that that is one of the reasons I have the voice I have and it’s to use it towards some goodness! Like MJ said – “heal the world... make it a better place..”.