Today we have here, Olivia Castriota! But we will let her introduce herself today. Tell us about you!
Olivia Castriota: Of course! Thanks for having me. I’m Olivia Castriota and I’m from York, Pennsylvania. Currently in NYC.
Mentors Collective: Amazing. Tell us an inspirational moment from your childhood!
Olivia Castriota: My earliest memory of performing was at age three. I sang the “Funky Chicken” at the local county fair while confidently rocking a mullet and a rainbow striped jumpsuit. I’m pretty sure from that moment on all I wanted to do was sing. My grandma told me that I used to sing “tinkle, tinkle, wittle tar” on repeat and though I couldn’t pronounce the words properly, she was impressed by my “perfect pitch.” As a young teenager, I covered my bedroom walls from top to bottom with magazine photos. I would stand in the corner of the room with Christina Aguilera’s “Stripped” album playing through my headphones and perform every track. I wanted to be able to visualize people in the audience so I created my own. I love a routine so this phase lasted quite a while… I want to say a solid three years! I also used to scour the internet for hours at a time searching for singing competitions within a 200 mile radius. I grew up on a horse farm in the middle of the woods, so we had dial-up internet for a lot longer than most of America, which took ages to load. But I was committed and wanted to do anything in my power to be seen and perform. That mindset had kind of stuck with me my whole life.
Mentors Collective: What led you to this career path in music?
Olivia Castriota: Music has been my passion ever since I can remember. I’ve always been in love with performing and writing songs. It’s the daily vocal warm-ups and the band rehearsals, finding the perfect stage outfit, crafting the perfect curls, and curating an experience for people to remember. Popping my favorite Ricola cough drop in my mouth 20 minutes before curtain and the pep talks I give myself in the bathroom mirror. I love the heat from the lights, the stage, the cameras, the roaring crowd, the smooth electric slides on the guitar and the percussion that forms the rhythm. When I open my mouth to sing and watch the mood shift, it’s incredible. Receiving the energy, the love and the appreciation that the crowd gives you and knowing that for 60 minutes you gave them a piece of yourself that you’ll never get back. I never want that feeling to go away. So, I guess that’s just it… that feeling led me to this career path. The feeling of feeling so passionate and helping others feel too through my music.
Mentors Collective: What are some of the challenges you have faced as an artist that is continuing to grow and get noticed?
Olivia Castriota: There are so many challenges it’s hard to narrow it down. The thing about challenges though is it provides opportunity for learning and for growth. My challenges today are different from a year ago because I tackle issues and figure out how to make it work for me. I’m a hell of a delegator. If I don’t know how to do something, I find someone who excels at it and I ask for their help. Try it. I highly recommend.
Mentors Collective: Who and what are your biggest influences/inspiration nowadays that are making an impact on your sound?
Olivia Castriota: I typically get stuck on a few albums and stay there for a while. Growing up, my Mom introduced me to powerhouse females like Melissa Ethridge and Joss Stone. Today, my boyfriend is responsible for showing me a lot of music, new and old. On Sunday’s we do these little music education classes in our living room and watch music videos of whoever the artist of the day is for hours.
Mentors Collective: What do you consider to be your BIGGEST accomplishment?
Olivia Castriota: Honestly when you’re an independent artist, I think any and all accomplishments are pretty note-worthy. There are so many hats you have to wear and so many opportunities where it is way easier to throw in the towel and choose a new career path. Luckily, I thrive on my own blood, sweat and tears and it takes a lot to make me want to give up. If you aren’t close enough to me to see the daily grind, some accomplishments you might find amusing are; recording an album with Grammy Nominated Sean Hamilton (H.E.R.), performing at the World Famous Apollo Theater, singing the National Anthem at MetLife Stadium, being featured in 30+ publications like Rolling Stone, Pop Dust and Paste Magazine and reaching a million hits across all platforms. But like I said, the real accomplishment is my daily dedication and will power haha!
Mentors Collective: What is your most recent project and tell us the meaning behind it!
Olivia Castriota: “never lie about you” is a song I wrote during quarantine with two of my friends Riiza (@Riiza_liz) and Beck Pete (@itsbeckpete), produced by Tyzo Bloom. It’s the perfect end of summer song. It’s playful and sweet yet cool. Last year, I randomly heard a song Tyzo produced while shuffling through a Spotify curated playlist and it felt so good I stood up and started dancing in my living room. When the song was over, I immediately sent Tyzo a message on IG. I fan-girled a little bit and then asked if we could work on something together. I just became completely obsessed with his style and wanted to join in that musical world. So… we created “never lie about you!” The lyrics are inspired by a petty argument I had with my boyfriend. The kind of agrement where we both said some low- blows and then immediately regretted it. But basically I’m explaining it like; I lied about all those terrible things I said about you… they’re not true… I might say some petty/untrue things about you to feel like I won an arrangement but I would never lie about how much I love you.
Mentors Collective: What are some of your other passions outside and inside of music?
Olivia Castriota: My passions are endless. I love cooking, cycling ( I have a deep love for 50+ mile bike rides), I like crafting (You should see my craft box! So many fun things!!), piling my friend in the car and singing with the windows down, I love traveling and having a printed out itinerary, I love listening to people talk and tell stories and most importantly I love coffee. Anywhere I go I will be on Yelp searching for the best oat milk cappuccino within a 5 mile radius.
Mentors Collective: Olivia you’ve done such a remarkable job as an artist, making an impact, and creating tunes for us to love. So tell us, what is next on the horizon for you and what should we be looking out for?
Olivia Castriota: The horizon is this—keep making music and kicking ass. I have a few more releases lined up for the rest of the year and most importantly another Christmas cover! Thank you for having me here and enjoying my music. I’m excited for you all to see the new creations that is to come.