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Ghost Canyon

Olivea Watson Olivea Watson

'Real Soul Music'

A few years ago, shortly after moving to L.A. from The Big Apple to more seriously pursue her path as a singer/songwriter, Olivea Watson ( reached a difficult crossroads. Struggling to define her musical direction and facing nagging doubts about her prospects for making inroads on the local club scene, she caught her breath for a moment and decided to take a good friend's simple advice: “Let go.”

“Let Go,” the heartfelt, roots-rock/blues song that she wrote in response to her crisis of faith, is poised to be the latest breakthrough in the artist's suddenly blossoming career. The first single from her debut album Way Down Deep (set for release in September on Ramblin Rose Records, with distribution by Burnside), the track is about to go to AAA stations across the country.

“Let Go,” which has logged over 8,000 listens on Watson's popular myspace page ( ), is also set to be included on a compilation called Save World Hunger , released by Blasted Records in August; it will be available at Best Buy stores nationwide. The song is also the lead track on a compilation called “Music For Coffee Beings,” which is distributed in all independent coffee shops throughout Canada .

Taking it from the top and what were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? "Growing up and still today I am a huge Neil Young fan and always will be. So many artist inspire me with my own music and he is a big one. I also grew up listening to Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Fleetwood Mac, The Grateful Dead, Emmylou Harris, Big Mama Thorton, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Dolly Parton and so many more. They all factor into my music today, they are all such story tellers with this amazing soul behind them."

For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? "Always such a tough question....I would say Roots Rock with a Pop Flare. We are vintage sounding in the fact that we are more of an old school rock band."

Your album title 'Way Down Deep' is a very interesting choice, but is it named so for a more personal reason to yourself, perhaps? "Yeah, this record has been through so much and these songs are more than just what is written. They come from deep down in my bones, lots of history in this record for me."

Please tell us more about a couple of the more important tracks on your album and what they mean to you personally "'Let Go' and 'Goodbye' are big songs for me on the record. The song 'Let Go' - I wrote because I was having such a hard time getting my music out there and I had worked, over the years, with a lot of people who had screwed me over, told me they would help me and never were who they said they were. It has been such a rough road even just in that sense, as it is for most artists."

"Beyond that though, I think the turning point for me was I decided to go back in the studio and finish my record when I realized that all my hard drives with all my music I have ever recorded had gotten destroyed by the wrong adapter being plugged in to both of them. They were so badly damaged that it cost thousands of dollars to retrieve years of work. At that point I thought it was time to quit and that is was a BIG sign. Some one told me to just "Let Go" of it all and see what happens. So, the song "Let Go" came out of it."

"'Goodbye' - Around the same time in my life, after I wrote "let go" I wrote Goodbye. To me, it was my last song I was ever going to write, "Goodbye to my music". A little dramatic I know, but so true. I was so distraught and lost, thought this music thing just wasn't what I was supposed to be doing. That was huge thing for me to consider because my music is my only deep passion and it is a big part of me if not all of me. After writing that song though, few day's later I got my distribution deal. Funny how life works."

In a business where a quick hit is what radio is begging for does that put additional pressure on an artist writing a debut album? "I never really thought of that in that way. I write what I feel and what's brewing inside of me so I think I feel more pressure just from myself to write and honor this gift. Make sure I write what the truth is and hope it is hooky for people to listen too all at the same time!"

It's been announced that you were recently the winner of the prestigious Gibson Guitar New Musician Award for 2007! Congratulations ... but I'm wondering aside from the actual award did you manage to also get ahold of a free Gibson guitar?! "I did! I'm not sure what kind of Gibson it will be yet, I have to go to the ceremony this weekend and they let me know then. It is so sweet of Gibson and so generous, I was told is worth more than 5k. I feel funny accepting something so valuable for just being a songwriter/artist. I am so honored."

Indeed, how easy (or hard) is it to constantly create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderment's/accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "Again, I really never thought of that either! Gosh, your making me nervous!"

"I think if you create a sound that is totally you and your own you can't go wrong instead of trying to sound like someone else."

If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today ... and why?! "I guess Cydni Lauper - 'True Colors.' We can all learn a little from that song, to not be afraid to be who you really takes a whole lot of courage!"

Lastly, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! "Yes! They are amazing animals! How long they travel and how loyal they are to one another! I'm a big animal person. I have five rescue cats and two dogs! It's a farm at my house! I believe you have to respect animals, they are such a gifts."

Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk

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