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New Artist of the Week: Olivia Ellen Lloyd

By Ciara Bains

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Be it from the poetry of her lyrics or delicacy of her voice, Olivia Ellen Lloyd radiates a warm and effortless sound of wisdom. Her music - folky, rustic and expansive - tells winding tales of grief, loss and personal growth with a raw openness inspired by the greats of traditional Americana.

Growing up and learning to play music from her father, who was a well-known performer on the local music circuit, Lloyd’s songwriting is deeply connected to her heritage and geographical roots. As residents of Shepherdstown in the West Virginia Hills since the before the state’s founding, her family’s Appalachian core runs deep; something Lloyd herself nurtures and celebrates in her music. “West Virginia is my cowriting partner for a lot of these songs. I am proudly an Appalachian songwriter, and I spent about a decade trying to ‘find’ myself, when I realized it was there all along”.

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Lloyd’s most recent single ‘Loose Cannon’, released January 10th, is a candid contemplation on navigating life’s path. “I spent my first year of non-college adulthood moving around every few months and unable to lock down a solid job”, explains Lloyd. “After that, I immediately settled down with my ex-husband and lived a very externally ordered life, but it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing; I felt like a failure at 23-years old. I wasn’t adventuring or creating or writing music, but everyone was complimenting me on how ‘together’ I was. This song is about how it doesn’t matter if you’re put together or not, if you’re not living a life you want, you’re probably not going to be particularly happy”.

Despite facing substantial hardship in early adulthood due to the deaths of both her father and best friend, Lloyd always found an ease of expression in her songwriting. Since having stumbled upon a session at Sunny’s Bar in Brooklyn, NY, Lloyd has worked on perfecting her craft as both a songwriter and performer, resulting in the creation of her debut album, Loose Cannon set to be released on February 26th via Brooklyn Basement Records.

Photography by Steffania Orru