Olivia Rudeen
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Olivia Rudeen

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF
Band Pop Folk

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A Collaboration Between Jeff and Olivia

YA: How old were you when you started singing?

Jeff: I’ve been singing since I was a wee-tot, but it wasn’t until I was 11 and started listening to Boyz II Men that I started to take it a bit more seriously. I’m a big melody/harmony fan.

Olivia: I’ve been singing my whole life (my parents have a video of me when I was four singing a song about my stuffed bunny rabbit),but I really started taking it seriously when I formed a band at the age of 12 and even more seriously in high school when I was in several choirs.



YA: Is your family supportive of your career choice?
Jeff: Very much. I have an amazing family and I love them very much.

Olivia: My family is ridiculously supportive of my career choice. I know that it’s a parent’s prerogative to hope that their childrens' lives are as easy and painless as possible and I definitely picked one of the most difficult industries to find success in, but my parents wish above all else for me to be happy and nothing makes me happier than making music.

YA: Where does your inspiration for your music come from?

Jeff: Inspiration can strike from anywhere. While most of my singer/songwriter style songs are influenced by personal encounters, situations or relationships, my Country, Pop and Rock songs for other artists usually come about from a great deal of people watching (sunglasses help)… or feeding off my co-writer(s). Where does your inspiration for your music come from?

Olivia: I look for inspiration all around me. It’s a songwriter’s blessing and curse that you’re constantly analyzing every little thing that you see or hear for something that might spark a song. I’m mainly inspired by what’s going on in my life and the lives of the people I care about and by other songwriters, some who I know personally and others who I don’t, who challenge me with their writing and push me to be better.


YA: Tell us a about your lyrics?

Jeff & Olivia: “Better Off” is a song about closure. Getting it is not generally easy nor a pain free process. It’s about airing some your dirty laundry and making sure your perspective is heard (at least you tell yourself that). “Better Off” is about the journey and the re-introduction of emotion all the way through “being OK”. It doesn’t mean that you don’t still care for that person, but that you realize it just wasn’t meant to be.

YA: How long does it take for you to write a song?

Jeff: It varies… Sometimes the song will write itself very quickly in less than an hour and others take more. The average is about 3-4 hours.

Olivia: It totally depends on the song. Some songs fall out of the sky and into my head and it’s all I can do to keep up with writing the lyrics down as they’re coming to me. Other songs take much longer, sometimes it takes weeks or even months to keep tweaking them until I’m happy with the final result.

YA: What’s it like working together instead of individually?

Jeff: Some people stay away from co-writing because it’s less comfortable than being in a room by yourself. When writing with/for new people for the first time you can be a bit self-conscious about what you are just willing to blurt out. Olivia and I have written many songs together across various genres so there is a pre-existing level of trust and comfort. We work very well together.

Olivia: Working with another person who you trust and admire as much as I trust and admire Jeff is something that very few people are lucky enough to find, so I’m grateful. We challenge each other to try new things and to get better at what we already do. It’s also a lot more fun to sit in a room with another person who can laugh with you about the terrible lines you spit out on your way to better ones.

YA: How long before the show Jane By Design aired, did you find out it would be played?

Jeff & Olivia: The process started a few weeks before the show aired.

YA: How did they find you out, and was it a shock for you?
Jeff & Olivia: We are both part of the Durango Song Expo, which is a bi-annual songwriting conference to bring together writers, composers, music supervisors, publishers and other industry professionals. At each event, there is a lot of exposure to songwriters and their music. We connected with a music supervisor at this event who ended up placing the song. It was a very exciting moment for both us.


All photo rights belong to studio.
YA: Which musician would you compare yourself to?

Jeff: As an artist, I mostly focus on acoustic and pop/rock genres that would fit in more of the TV/Film or singer/songwriter genre. I would say Edwin McCain, Howie Day, Joshua Radin, and a few others in that realm.

Olivia: I get compared a lot to Ingrid Michaelson, Colbie Caillat, and John Mayer. I think this is mainly because of the tone of my voice and the way that I use it.

YA: Who do you listen too?

Jeff: I’m all over the board from mid-90’s Matchbox Twenty, Gin Blossoms, 2Pac and more, all the way to modern day Pop, Top40 and Country. Every now and then putting on some throwbacks like Shai, Boyz II Men or Brian McKnight never hurts. Also it’s always a great treat if you’re able to experience the songwriter performing the song instead of the artist that cut it.

Olivia: My favorite artists are Miranda Lambert, Brandi Carlile, Sugarland, and John Mayer. Recently, I’ve been obsessively listening to Sara Bareilles’ new EP.

YA: We ask this to everyone: Do you have a favorite book and why, or what book are you currently reading?

Jeff: One of the last books that I read was “Do The Work” by Steven Pressfield… A very inspirational, quick and cheap read for those who dream big.

Olivia: On The Road by Jack Kerouac. I just absolutely love the language he uses and the way he pieces words together in such an unexpected way. I also love anything by Cormac McCarthy. He’s a master of detail and finding the beauty and humanity in simplicity. The last book I read that I really loved was The Help.



You can purchase the song here on iTunes.

And click here to watch the full length episode on ©abcfamily. - Young Adult Magazine


Olivia Rudeen first picked up a guitar as a child and has never put it down. Not even old enough to drink, twenty year old Rudeen has already been playing in bars for a couple of years, and has an outlook well beyond her years. A student in UCD’s Music Business Program, Rudeen recently decided it was time to jump in to songwriting with both feet and took a plunge that immediately paid off.

Listen Up Denver! got to catch up with Rudeen while she was in Nashville, a place she is visiting more and more of late. “I am in Nashville to work with other writers because this is truly where the best songwriters are. I am also meeting with publishers and producers. I am just getting a feel for the town,” she said.

Well, she may only be getting a “feel” for the town, but the town is sure feeling her. After a few short trips and as many meetings as she could schedule, Rudeen has already seen the fruits of her labor. “Jeff Zacharski and I, a writer in Los Angeles who used to live in Denver, wrote and recorded a song on our own recently, and it got placed on a TV show. This was the first time I had that happen, so it’s pretty cool,” she admitted. ”Jeff and I have been working together for a little less than a year, and we have been performing together and writing together in as many genres as we can, just trying to be as versatile as possible.”

Rudeen and Zacharski met at the Durango Songwriters Expo, and the conference opened doors for them both, and started pointing Rudeen in another direction. “I never saw myself on this side of the industry,” she said. “I used to think I would never sell one of my songs and have someone else sing it because they are so personal. I learned that there is a distinction between songs I write for myself and songs I write for somebody else, but all my songs do have to come from a personal place, otherwise they are never going to connect with anybody else.”

Although she has not released a ton of material yet, Rudeen already has a lot of experience under her belt. Now that more people are hearing her music, recording opportunities are also coming her way. “I released a five song EP in 2010, and haven’t released anything since then. I have been working on another EP, and Jimmy Stofer is producing it. Jimmy has worked or played with bands like The Fray, Bop Skizzum and Rose Hill Drive and we have been working on the EP since January and really fine tuning it,” she revealed. “I’ve been asked to work on a full length album, but I think with the way people consume music now, it makes more sense to release music more frequently in smaller doses. When you limit the amount of songs you are putting out there at one time, it forces you to make tough decisions, and only put your best work out there.”

Things have started happening for Rudeen because of many factors, and aggressively pursuing her dream since the moment she realized it is probably the most obvious one. “I started playing guitar when I was nine. I remember because it was the same year that I got braces; so that year was both traumatic and awesome. My mom had a guitar lying around the house, and I started playing around with it. I wanted to take lessons, and learn the right way from the beginning,” Rudeen said. “I remember looking in the Park Hill community newspaper for a guitar teacher, and there were only two ads. One said, ‘I will teach you Blink 182 songs,’ and at the time, that’s what I wanted. The other said, ‘I will come to your house,’ and that’s what my mom wanted. Mom had the final say. We lucked out having Paul Murin be the guy that came to our house, and I worked with him for seven or eight years. We have even performed together a few times recently.”

Three years after first picking up a guitar, Rudeen was ready to get on a stage. “I formed a band with some friends when I was 12. We played Bar Mitzvah parties and random events. Through that band I learned a lot about the music business by making mistakes,” she admitted. “By the t - Listen Up Denver!


So I’ve taken a couple songwriting classes at UC Denver with some really talented songwriters and performers but no one has impressed me more than Olivia Rudeen with her amazing songwriting. She can take any chord progression and turn it into the catchiest song ever. Her folkish songs really tell you a story and let you know what she’s feeling.



I had the privilege of seeing her live streamed performance last night at the Monument Sound Studios and it was great. She is not only a stellar guitar player but she’s got the voice to back it up. She can play rock music, folk or pretty much anything including writing hit songs for country artists.

So you should really check out her music at https://www.facebook.com/oliviarudeenmusic and like her because she will really inspire you.

- Stu
- Hear Today Gone Tomorrow


"All of the songs will stick in your head…The last piece on the EP is titled “Austin,” and you never would have convinced me a 19-year-old crafted this song. The song has a melody and quality about it that you would think would be beyond one so young." Charlie Sullivan, Colorado Music Buzz Magazine (10/13/10) - Colorado Music Buzz Magazine


"Olivia Rudeen makes upbeat Americana: Just picture the Dixie Chicks playing at a Nederland backyard BBQ." Thorin Klosowski (Sept. 15, 2010)
- Westword.com


Discography

Until Now - EP (2010)
Almost June - EP (2012)

Photos

Bio

As a singer/songwriter based in Denver, Olivia reaches out to music fans with her emotional and intelligent songwriting and her unique voice. Olivia’s brand of upbeat folk pop encompasses her love of country, rock, pop, and folk.

Olivia has shared the stage with a diverse range of national acts, including DeVotchKa, Lee DeWyze, Charlie Mars, Madi Diaz, and Harper Blynn. Recently, “Better Off,” a song written and performed by Olivia and her frequent collaborator Jeff Zacharski, was featured on ABC Family’s scripted one-hour drama “Jane By Design”. “Better Off” is now available on iTunes.

Since the age of 12, Olivia has been performing and writing music. Her love of music goes back to the nights when her father used to sing her to sleep with his own personal brand of lullabies by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel, and James Taylor. The early exposure to great music helped Olivia find her own voice.

In 2010, Olivia recorded and self-released her debut solo EP, Until Now. This record was produced by Justin Peacock and recorded in Colorado at The Hook Factory and Monument Sound. The disc features five original songs with performances from some of Colorado’s best musicians.

Since that release, Olivia has performed extensively in Colorado at venues such as Summit Music Hall, The Soiled Dove Underground, and The Walnut Room. She also completed a West Coast/Southwest summer tour and several shorter regional tours. In 2012 Olivia was one of the featured headliners on the 97.9 Big Country Stage at the Greeley Stampede in Greeley, CO.

In 2010, 2011, and 2012 Olivia was selected to showcase at the Durango Songwriters Expo. Olivia and her writing partner Jeff Zacharski won the the country category of the WWAHM Songwriting Contest at the 2012 Durango Songwriters Expo in Santa Ynez, CA with their original song “I’m Still Wrong.”

Olivia’s second EP, produced by Jimmy Stofer (The Fray, Rosehill Drive), was released on September 18, 2012.