Singer-songwriter Olivia O’Brien is familiar to millions of pop music fans thanks to her triple-platinum self-composed collaboration with fellow singer Gnash, “I Hate U, I Love U.” The Napa native is headed this weekend to Sonoma Valley to perform a fire relief benefit concert at Gundlach-Bundschu Winery on Dec. 11.
“I’m stoked to announce a killer and very unique benefit show in the barn,” said Jeff Bundschu. “Olivia is a local with a global following, a big voice and a bigger heart. She’s coming straight here after the last show of her tour to raise money for fire victims. Your teenage kids almost certainly know her so ask them to take you! It will be a great night for a great cause.”
O’Brien, now 18, has been singing and writing songs since she was 7 years old, and taught herself to play both guitar and piano.
She attended Justin-Siena High School in Napa but left after the first semester of her junior year.
She had been posting her original songs on SoundCloud for fun, not thinking anything would come of it, until singer/rapper/songwriter Gnash reached out on Twitter in 2015, after hearing her cover one of his songs. Midyear, when he asked her if she had any original material, O’Brien sent him a voice-note of the beginnings of “I Hate U, I Love U,” which she wrote at age 15.
She left Justin-Siena once her song became a hit, she says, because her relationships with some of her classmates became more difficult “after the song became popular.”
Gnash invited her down to Los Angeles to record and the song rose quickly through the Billboard rankings and ended up a top five hit.
O’Brien has just released a debut EP, “It’s Not That Deep” via Island Records. The record includes the new singles “No Love,” “RIP” and “Empty,” plus two new tracks, “Tequilawine” and “F%^& Feelings.”
“These songs are based on what I’ve felt, experienced, and observed from the time I’ve spent in the past year in L.A.,” said O’Brien about her new album. “I hope that my music can inspire people to be real and honest, which are the most important values for both my music and life. I want the focus of my career to be on the music and what I have to say... which gets lost sometimes in social media. I hope you can listen to these songs knowing that the words came from me and that I tried to put as many aspects of my life into this project. and most importantly, just don’t take the trivial aspects of life so seriously because ‘It’s Not that Deep!’”
O’Brien continues to write and record new songs with the goal of “creating music that people can identify with and enjoy. I’m looking forward to releasing more music and showing who I am as an artist and songwriter.”
In terms of who she is listening to and influenced by, she says that SZA is her favorite artist right now.
“She inspires me endlessly and I would love to work with her,” she said. “Someone I’ve looked up to for years also is Kehlani... I’ve been listening to her since before I ever made music and she definitely influenced a lot of my early stuff.”
Who: Olivia O’Brien
When: 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 11
Where: Redwood barn at Gundlach-Bundschu Winery
Benefit: All proceeds benenfit the Napa Valley Community Foundation and Sonoma County Resilience Fund
Tickets: $15 at www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1589714