Chatting with Olga who’s new album is a tour de force that features Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars on guitar. She talks about her life and music.
Tell us a little about yourself? Where you born and where did you go to school etc?
I am full Austrian, born in San Francisco and grew up there and in the
area. I went to the Nueva School and had a Yehudi Menuin music
there. Thereafter I went into public high school and got heavily
in the drama department there and community theater (San Mateo
When did you first start listening seriously to music?
As far back as I can remember. Probably really noticed it about age three or four
I wrote my first song when I was four.
What music were you listening to back then?
Classical music and then when I was 7 I got a radio and listened to the
songs on the radio (80’s pop).
As you grew up when did you start singing?
As long as I can remember. I wrote my first song when I was 4.
Did you play in lots of cover bands growing up?
No, I did not play in any.
What kind of styles were you playing?
Growing up did members of your family play music?
No, no one did though on my mother’s side of the family there were some
classical musicians but they were all deceased by the time I arrived.
6. How has music affected your outlook on life?
It is the first thing I hear when I wake in the morning and the last
I hear when I go to sleep. I even hear it in my sleep sometimes… So
is a part of my consciousness and were it not to be there, I would feel
like I am missing a limb or something…
The influences in life, family, church, teachers, friends,
and experiences all mesh into a fabric of life. These subjects tend to
come out in most people’s songs. Are there one or two songs that have
specific meaning to you?
They all have meaning to me! And when I cover someone else’s song, it
also because there is some inherent meaning to me and I connect with
The best songs in my opinion are universal and they may have been
at a certain time about a certain person or event, but they will adapt
whatever situation you find yourself in presently.
Many people pick one or two artists that they feel are their main
influences, which artist would you say had a major influence on your
Jessie Mae Hemphill and Peggy Lee.
Music is a tough business, especially these days, what have you
able to do to better position yourself for success?
I started working in movies!
Anything specific you can share with other struggling artist.
Maintain a positive attitude which is extremely hard to do especially
these days. I am still a struggling artist myself and this is really
the only advice I can give; to stay mentally and physically sound.
Do you feel the local artist influenced you more or are you
more by the music you listen too?
I am mostly listening to the music that is in my head. I don’t listen
much otherwise as I find it interferes with my thoughts and ideas.
Otherwise I listen to old country and blues and 80’s pop songs when I
a break. And Italian language tapes and German podcasts!
Do you write all of your own songs?
How do you come up with song ideas to write about?
Life. I usually write about first hand experience otherwise I make it a
first person experience in the song.
You have Cody Dickinson, of the North Mississippi All-stars on
your cd as a guest artist, how did you meet Cody and get him involved with
I’ve known Cody and his brother Luther for over 12 years now; we met
I still lived in Boulder, CO and worked as a radio DJ. I met Cody first
actually, at a Ozomatli show where they opened up for them and also
Galactic. When I saw them play I was really struck by the fact that
they were young white kids my age playing the blues and that was so rare for
me to encounter. In addition, they were into the same style blues I was
(north MS hill country). Will-Dog of Ozomatli ended up introducing us
(the dressing rooms were next to each other) and said “you guys need to meet
cause you’re both into the same things” and that was that. We are
spirits and playing music with him is intuitive not to mention
I was working with another friend, Winn McElroy who produced,
engineered and mixed the album. I had laid down the guitar and scratch vocals
(most of which were kept) and told him I was going to have Cody play drums.
I had already talked to Cody about wanting to make a sort of 80’s pop
record and he loves 80’s pop. When he came in to do drums, he got inspired and
said “hey let me add some bass to that” and then the next thing was
that we ended up doing the whole thing together. It took about a year. Winn
also played guitar and bass guitar on a couple of tracks and he is
the one who took everything and made it into the polished finished sound we
were looking for. Winn really knows his stuff!
Do you think you might team up with Cody again in the future?
Yes, for sure. We have already been discussing ideas for new songs and
doing some recording again here soon.
Currently, what is happening in your career that you would like to
share with the readers?
Well the industry is changing so much it has become more and more
difficult to make a living in music. I realize that you can’t fight the
change you just have to survive and adapt to it somehow. I just read an
article that the major labels will cease pressing cds in 2012, which I
knew was coming; people don’t buy cds anymore and mostly only download
songs. Artists struggle more now than ever before and it’s ever more so
challenging to keep a positive frame of mind and attitude. What else
can you do?
The next immediate goal is to make 3 music videos for the new album. I
believe that people like to see the visual along with hearing the music
and so that’s my plan. I am also working in the film and television
industry quite a bit these days so I will continue doing that. My short
film “Statue” which I co-star in and features my music, just won
another award for Best Short Film at the Ocelot Robot Film Festival in Los
Angeles in early November.
Is there anything you would like to add or share with the readers?
Cody and I are playing a Christmas show in Como, MS on December 10th.
Here is a facebook link to the info. We plan on doing more soon!
Thank you again Olga for doing this interview. Thanks for taking the
to share your thoughts and plans with our readers.