Interview: Rising pop sensation Olivia Somerlyn

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Olivia Somerlyn is setting the pop music scene abuzz with her music. Armed with solid vocals, a dedicated army of SomerLovers and Nick Jonas, Olivia is well on her way to becoming the next big thing.

The 19 year old San Francisco native has toured with pop heavyweights the likes of Big Time Rush, the Jonas Brothers, Victoria Justice and Jessie J. Olivia was also the honoured performer at Sony Pictures Classics’ Annual Oscar® Pre-Awards dinner party, where only the best musicians are invited to perform.

Recently, Olivia collaborated with Nick Jonas (yes, the Nick Jonas from the Jonas Brothers) on her new single "Parachute", on which Nick co-wrote and produced. The catchy pop tune earned her a spot in the third annual Macy's iHeartRadio Rising Star Program, where 25 hand-picked singers compete for the coveted opportunity to perform at the iHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas in September 2015.

Musichel recently caught up with Olivia, where she shared with us about her music, touring with Big Time Rush and working with the Jonas Brothers. Read our exciting interview to learn more about this rising star!

Tell us about your new single “Parachute”.
My new single "Parachute" was so much fun to write. I've always wanted to collaborate with Nick Jonas and it was incredible to finally make that happen. The song is about deciding to end a rollercoaster of a relationship because although it can be incredible, the low points just aren't worth it. It's a fun and empowering song.

What inspired your single "Better With You"?
I wanted "Better With You" to be a song everyone could relate to. I wanted it to make people think of the people and things that make their life better — friends, family, pets. For me, the song has really come to be about the SomerLovers. Performing the song all over the world and seeing the audiences from London to Chile sing along with me has been such a heartwarming experience. The song is much Better With their voices!

What was it like being on the Summer Break Tour 2013 and opening for big-name acts like Big Time Rush & Victoria Justice?
The Summer Break Tour was my first real tour. Before then, I had played many small shows in and around Los Angeles, but the Summer Break Tour was unlike anything I had ever experienced. We were playing large amphitheatres and arenas for thousands and thousands of enthusiastic fans! I couldn't have loved it more. Every day felt surreal. Big Time Rush and Victoria were all so welcoming and it was wonderful to make friends with other artists my age after keeping to myself and recording and writing in the studio for years.

You were also on tour with the Jonas Brothers last year — what was it like sharing the stage with the three brothers?
I have been a Jonas Brothers fan for many years, so touring with them was the definition of a dream come true! We played a show in my hometown, San Francisco, and my friends who used to be with me in the audience were there watching me open for them. I've always really admired their musicianship and songwriting and touring with them was a great opportunity that led to further collaboration. I wrote my new single “Parachute” with Nick Jonas and he produced the song!

Your pet dog Lukie has been in numerous YouTube videos with you — would you bring him on tour?
Lukie came on the Summer Break Tour! It was torture for my mom and me to be without him, so he met us a couple of weeks in. I think he really liked touring, actually!

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of touring?
The best part about touring is meeting all the SomerLovers I've created relationships with onTtwitter and inspiring new SomerLovers and meeting them, too. I feel so much more connected to them after meeting them face-to-face. I stay as late as the venue will allow me to stay so I can meet as many people as I can. It breaks my heart when they cut my meet and greet short. I would stay out there all night if they would let me!

Another advantage of touring is experience — I have learned so much this past year by performing and getting more comfortable on stage and watching the amazing performers I've toured with. Jessie J, whom I toured with in the UK, has always been one of my inspirations, and it was incredible to watch and learn from her show every night of the tour.

The only disadvantage of touring that I can think of (I just LOVE touring!) is that although you might not notice it while on tour, it is completely exhausting and wears down your immune system. I don't think most people understand how gruelling it really is. It's actually far from glamorous. Some days, I would wake up around 4AM for press and TV appearances and work through my show and my meet and greet and finally be finished past midnight.

Who in your life has made you a better you?
My mom has absolutely been the biggest influence in my life and continues to make me better every day! SomerLovers also make me better, too. I'm constantly working to make them proud. I want to succeed for them. The more success I have, the more I'm able to give back to them.

We heard you pranked Big Time Rush big time when you were on tour with them — tell us more about the prank!
I always had this silly fantasy in the back of my mind during the Summer Break Tour that I would rap Karmin's rap in BTR's song "Song for You." On tour, the boys take over the rap. At the end of the Summer Break Tour, all four boys surprised me and sang "Better With You" with me. It was awesome! So when we toured together again in South America, I wanted to prank them back! I dressed in leather, chains, and a backwards BTR hat and surprised them by rapping the "Song For You" rap. Their faces were priceless! My band also dressed up in pink skirts, wigs, and fairy wings and came out for the last chorus because the lyrics are "there's a million pretty girls all over the world." My drummer, who wasn't as comfortable showing his feminine side as the other guys, wore a squirrel costume, with the rationale of "there's a million pretty squirrels all over the world."

Will rap be an element in your new album then?
I don't think so! What happens in Guatemala stays in Guatemala! You never know, maybe one day, but for now, I think I'm going to stick with singing.

Lastly, describe your SomerLovers in one word.

Love Olivia Somerlyn? Vote for Olivia on Macy's iHeartRadio Rising Star contest. Simply go to her iHeartRadio Rising Star profile, click the 'Vote' button, enter your email address and validate your vote via email! You can also listen to Olivia's smashing new single "Parachute" on her artist profile page.

Photo credits: OliviaSomerlyn.comMark Davis / Getty Images

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