In 2013, BennettKnows was merely a brief idea developed in the dorm room. During an undergraduate course at the University of Rhode Island, similar interests in the music industry and an ambitious professor brought me and a sweet and edgy singer named Olivia King together for a mock interview that would spark a friendship of nearly 10 years. After learning about each other’s talents, interests and post-college goals, we developed an interview that the class would not only remember but would also inspire both of the paths that we would each follow. While Olivia asked me challenging questions about what I would bring to “the company,” as a young media personality that others couldn’t, I would ask her why I should sign her to my record company. In a room full of aspiring public realtors and marketers our interview brought a spark of color to the class that day. I remember ambitiously asking Olivia, “would you be down to sing? If I was a real record label, you would have to sing.” “Of course,” she shyly chuckled without without hesitation. I think she ended the interview with a full-on acapella performance of something soulful like Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.” Although I may not remember the exact song, at this point I’ve seen Olivia perform many numbers including both singles and covers, I certainly remember the performance was met with an overall applause. “Would you be down to do that again but on the radio?” I would ask her after class. Later that year, I launched my own show on the WRIU with Olivia King being my first special guest interview ever! That’s why it’s so fitting that Olivia King is the first artist that we spotlight in BennettKnows 30 Artist to Watch in 2022, almost ten years later!
Today Olivia King is a singer, songwriter, entrepreneur and so much more! However, she didn’t meet success on the major label we imagined in our interview years ago. After getting burned by a label deal in 2019, the Rhode Island singer took a step back and put all of her eggs into her own basket. Teaming up with her husband to bring every marketing idea she had for her music to life, Olivia met success as an independent artist with the release of her debut album D.I.Y. later that year. In 2020, the hard-working singer kept the momentum going releasing singles like “20 Something,” “Wasted Time,” and “Chills” once a month. With a combined following of 200K followers across social media and 5 million streams on Spotify alone, Olivia King has proven that you don’t need a major label or contract to have success in the music industry. However, being your own boss isn’t as easy said as done. Olivia works as a full time creator; not only recording new music but developing content like her campaign titled “Old To Me, New To You” where she revisits her old releases, the Life with Liv YouTube series that documents her day-to-day and executing marketing ideas like her “10 a day” campaign that connects her with 10 potential collaborators everyday. Yes, a lot of work but the hustle and dedication has proven successful landing Olivia on Spotify Playlists like New Music Friday, R&B Slow Jams and Discovery Weekly amongst many and a song placement in the “Be Your Biggest Fan” campaign featuring Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin.
Last week Olivia King released her first single of the year with “Run Forrest”. The playful track produced by Morgan Matthews finds the pop-soul singer laying down smooth and soulful vocals about a runaway lover that constantly leaves the relationship with a pop-friendly hook and stripped-down production. “Run Forrest run / just don’t tell me I’m the one / Run Forrest run / all is said and done,” she croons on the infectious chorus. “Run Forrest” is the perfect combination of the soulful sounds of Lauryn Hill and Joss Stone that inspired Olivia when she was young and the dynamic pop singles that her fans resonate with. “My audience is that young girl audience, so I always want to cater to them with the pop stuff but staying true to myself. I need to always sprinkle in that soul sound,” she explained in an interview with Flaunt Magazine. Olivia King doesn’t plan on dropping the ball in 2022! With plans of doubling her brand deals, releasing numerous collaborative EPs and expanding her influencer marketing company amongst many, “Run Forrest” is certainly just a taste of what’s to come this year! Make sure keep up with Olivia King on Instagram and TikTok because she’s an artist you should watch in 2022!