In House With Olivia: ‘Love & Hip-Hop’ Edits Are ‘Annoying,’ Missy Elliott Produces ‘Settle Down’
Olivia should change her name to Sassy. She’s witty when she speaks but she’ll also fire back some responses that may leave the person on the other end of the conversation thinking she’s got an attitude problem. But from her visit to The BoomBox office, it’s apparent the 31-year-old songstress just enjoys a little good-natured banter. Sometimes that can be witnessed firsthand while watching an episode of ‘Love & Hip-Hop,’ the VH1 reality show she stars on alongside Emily B. — the mother of Fabolous’ son; Chrissy — Jim Jones’ fiancee; and Kimbella — the mother of Juelz Santana’s son. The second season recently wrapped and showcased those three women dealing with relationship issues. However, Olivia’s ordeals with her significant other, professional basketball player Tarence Kinsey, were never the focus. Instead, her singing career was at the forefront.
Her recent single, ‘Walk Away,’ produced by Chris N Teeb, is the project she has her sights on. The song, which details the strength to say goodbye to a relationship, will appear on Olivia’s forthcoming album, ‘Show the World.’ She’s bid farewell herself to label deals with J Records and 50 Cent’s G-Unit roster, but has come out resilient through it all. The outspoken chanteuse explained what’s to come on her new LP, and in the process, divulged information on Missy Elliott’s studio sessions — dogs in diapers included — making a long-distance relationship work with Tarence, which ‘Love & Hip-Hop’ co-stars she supports and the lauded Hispanic singer’s album she wants to hear.
See Photos of Olivia’s BoomBox Visit
Why did you want to tackle this topic of domestic violence in your video for ‘Walk Away’?
A lot of people don’t really talk about it. And from the first time hearing the song, people, they generally get the idea that you’re just walking away because the guys cheating or whatever, he’s just no good. I wanted it to be totally different from the normal and I wanted it to have a message because a lot of woman do go through this. Statistics show [that]. People treat it like its normal, and they re just comfortable in their relationship no matter what’s going on. I wanted to bring it to light.
You recorded that song four years ago. Why were you sitting on it?
I’m a writer. I write the majority of my material. We were just figuring out what was the best song to come with after ‘December.’ I was like, “Do we come with another slow song?” or “Do we give them something uptempo for the clubs?” which is what most people would expect. I decided to go against the grain and give another slow song so they can kinda see where my album is going, the direction I’m taking, my vocal ability. Stuff like that. So I said we’ll just stick with ‘Walk Away.’ I think it works better. Thank god it worked out great.
Which producer on the album did you enjoy working with most?
Missy [Elliott] and I, she’s one of my good friends also and one of my favorite producers to work with, if we work at that hour, the best material comes out. I don’t know if its because you’re that tired. The material, the writing, everything just flows so much better.
One of my favorite records I did with her is called ‘Settle Down.’ Obviously it’s about settling down in a relationship and I’m saying, “I’m ready to settle down.” It’s a dope song. It gives me that Mary [J. Blige] ‘411’ feel but I’m singing like a Jazmine Sullivan. It’s a mid-tempo.
Describe that studio experience.
It was 4AM, bottle of Patron. Our dogs walking around in our diapers. Yes, we put our dogs in diapers because they’re boys. Scooby and Shaggy. When the dogs are around each other, they’re really excited. They’re like brothers because they’ve known each other for years. They’re Yorkies and they like to walk around and pick up their legs. So we found out if you put on the baby Huggies, like newborns, they still pick up their legs like they are peeing but it goes in the diaper.
[The studio experience with Missy] is always just fun. She likes to sit at the keyboard sometimes and come up with melodies or I’ll be humming something and she’ll do a track.it just depends on the mood ’cause we all know she’s cut from a different cloth.
Watch Olivia’s ‘Walk Away’
What’s the inspiration behind your album title ‘Show the World’?
There’s actually a song on the album called ‘Show the World.’ It actually fit with what I’m going through because I feel like I have something to prove, kinda like I have a chip on my shoulder. So I was like, OK this is very fitting, ‘Show the World.’
Is the album done?
Probably come out in summer. We’re probably adding one or two [tracks]. We have like 100 songs basically so we’re figuring out what were going to keep on the album. That’s been the biggest problem because there’s so many good songs. I don’t write to give album cuts; I write to make sure it’s a single. And that’s why ‘December’ and ‘Walk Away’ have a certain sound because I want people to walk away with music that you can listen to over the years. Not just something you can play this summer and then next summer, you’re like “That song isn’t good anymore.”
I read an interview where you admitted that you’re a closed person. Where do you think that stems from? When people watch you on the show ‘Love & Hip-Hop,’ they may have gotten that from you too.
I’ve always been a personal person, closed off, [open] just to my close friends. Not necessarily because of the industry, I just don’t feel like everyone needs to know your business. Why would you walk around like a billboard for everybody to know what you do? Then doing the show [‘Love & Hip-Hop’], I think it was a good idea for me to do it. Shout-out to Mona Scott and all that B.S. but sometimes they ask you to divulge information that you wouldn’t normally do and then they play on the storyline as if it’s such a big deal, they make it something else that it’s not. I understand they try to give you a storyline but don’t falsify information just to get viewers. That’s what bothers me most about the show. As much as it has it’s good points, it definitely has it’s bad points.
I know there were things about ‘Love & Hip-Hop’ that angered you, but what were you pleased with?
I was just happy that they finally talked more about the music. I’m the only person on the show who doesn’t have the drama. I feel that’s why they try to put me in the middle of it because I don’t come with anything. So they either make mine up or put me with somebody who has it. That’s what probably pissed me off the most. Let me just do my business.
When you look back on it, what really angered you besides that?
How they probably tried to portray me with the Yandy and Chrissy situation. I’ve known Yandy for eight years now, she was a part of my management company at Violator. And Chrissy, I’ve known since season one of ‘Love & Hip-Hop.’ I love ’em both so I don’t understand why you would try to put me in the middle of two people that I really am friends with and expect me to choose a side. Then make a long storyline like, “Ooh, is Olivia gonna choose a friend?” No, a–hole, she’s friend with both of them. We’re grown and not playing in a sandbox here. They cut out certain parts where I speak to Chrissy and say, “You know, I sat down with Yandy and everybody else.” But to the general public, because they cut it out, it looks like, “Oh, you’re having private meetings… you’re being a backstabber.” It’s annoying.
If you were a producer, who would you have eliminated from the cast?
I mean that’s an easy question so I’m not even gonna answer that [laughs].
You’re currently in a long-distance relationship with professional basketball player Tarence Kinsey, who lives in Istanbul, Turkey while he plays on the court. How do you manage the long-distance aspect?
I’m on a plane all the time. In between shows, in between host dates, I’m on the plane going to Turkey. He’s there for the season so he’ll come back in June. We’re on Skype all the time, He calls me every 15 minutes. We make it work.
How does he handle you being in the public eye so much?
He’s for everything I do. He’s very supportive. That’s one of the things I love about him. A lot of men are really insecure about women who are in the forefront and he’s not one of those people, thank god.
Who are you looking forward to hearing a new album from this year?
I would like Shakira to come out with another album. I love her. She’s dope. My style is really all over the place. I love Paramore, I love Coldplay. I love all kinds of music.
Watch Olivia’s ‘So Sexy’ Video