Olive Louise is one of the strongest new talents in the world of dream pop and indie soul music. Her discography is a masterful blend of melancholia and high-energy rhythms, all elevated by her unbelievable vocal talent. Louise’s upcoming single, “Special,” will serve as a continuation of that sophisticated and thoughtful style when it is released Nov. 29.
Louise’s artistic capabilities have given her an outlet to cope with the tragedies in her life. The singer lost both of her parents before the age of 15, an experience that she translates into poetry and heart-wrenching music.
“The events in my life have forced me through so many huge changes,“ Louise said in a press release. "I never could have seen my life going the way it has. It’s had a profound effect on what I resonate with. I understand not fitting in and moving around and trying to make sense of things without time to, and so that’s the imagery I’m drawn to and the music I write reflects my lived experience.”
Louise’s music is characterized by soaring strings and vocal harmonies, falling under the genres of dream pop, indie folk and Americana. Her music is enhanced by the visual persona Louise has created through her au naturel and Victorian-influenced appearance. A huge motivator in her music is the concept of not gilding the lily, and leaving what is already beautiful alone.
“My father used to tell me, ‘you don’t paint apples red or flowers more vibrant,’ and that is always in the forefront of my mind,“ Louise said in a press release. "I don’t want my imperfections washed out. You can be soft and have grit."
The songs preceding “Special” offer a tapestry of differing styles all serving the same purpose. "Tears (Remix)" was Louise’s first release in 2019, in collaboration with Joell Oritz. The song combines rap verses with her strong voice and wailing upper harmonies. The song is an interesting collaboration of style, both rooted in mutual pain and relatability.
The theme carries on through the rest of her music, with different songs highlighting different facets of her talents. "Fool," "Undefined" and "The Cure" all shine a spotlight on Louise’s haunting voice.
The first on the list couples her voice with a riveting, satisfying melody that can only be classified as dream pop. "Fool" showcases Louise’s ability to turn her natural talent into something avant-garde and perplexing, yet never failing in its beauty.
"Undefined" is a song that serves as an allusion to its title, with no real structure and just Louise’s voice flowing ethereally over a multipurpose beat. "The Cure" is a heartbreaking ballad, featuring nothing but a stunning piano and violin background along with vocal acrobatics from Louise.
Louise possesses an incredible ability to utilize her influences while still maintaining a unique and personal sound. "Bad Things" is emblematic of Melanie Martinez with unconventional lower harmonies and creative use of sound effects. The song is also a testament to Louise’s intuition which she portrays through her lyrics.
"Moroccan Oranges" is quiet and ambient, carrying an incredible lyrical flow in the verses and a folk-pop chorus, complete with a syncopated beat, violin riffs and a pounding bass drum. All of that, combined with the heart-breaking lyrics, gives the track a Lana Del Rey-inspired sound.
Louise’s sound shifts with the introduction of jazz in some songs. "Nothing's The Same" opens with a piano riff that is emblematic of '50s soul but with a modern twist. The inclusion of a drum machine and distorted harmonies lends the song a pop edge that nicely complements the rest track. "Swallow the Ocean" contains a pulsing bass underlayer that resonates with the trumpet riffs in the latter half of the song, a further demonstration of Louise’s penchant for jazz.
Louise’s upcoming single was written about a culmination of experiences in which she felt nervous and out of place, left wishing she could feel comfortable in her own skin. The song is a testament to all those who relate to Louise’s experiences, in the hopes that they can someday feel more self-assured.
“I created this character in the song, this perfect person, that comes along, understands how I’m feeling, and says ‘let’s go look at the view,’ because that’s what I had almost always wished for in those times,” Louise said in a press release.
“Special” is a deeply relatable number, possessing the same overall style as the rest of Louise’s music, but with a show of steadily increased maturity. The song highlights the natural melancholy quality of her voice, allowing even her most upbeat songs to be subtly mournful.
Louise has been acclaimed by Refinery29, ELLE Magazine, Wonderland, American Songwriter, LADYGUNN and selected for Spotify’s Fresh Finds playlist. Her haunting and heroic sound resonates with lovers of storytelling and confessional poetry.