LA Artist Olivia O’Brien Releases Stellar Debut

Eighties vibes mix with adolescent uneasiness on the 10-track Was It Even Real?

Los Angeles has always been a hotbed of young singer/songwriters punching above their weight and turning out albums that pack so much heavy emotional baggage you wonder why they haven’t been flagged by the TSA. The latest pop gem comes in the form of 19-year-old Olivia O’Brien’s debut full-length, Was It Even Real? With 10 tracks clocking in at a total running time of 32 minutes, the album is a quick listen, and songs about Instagram stalking and house party flirtations reinforce its adolescent qualities. But O’Brien’s deep and soulful swag, coupled with the ’80s production flair of tracks like “Just A Boy” and “UDK,” make Was It Even Real? a welcome alternative to much of today’s watered down and oversexed R&B. Considering O’Brien inked her deal with Island Records before she was old enough to vote—and provided guest vocals on a track that cracked the Billboard Top 10 on the Hot 100 before she signed said deal—it’s not surprising that her confessionals, while youthful, resonate far beyond her demographic.

You can check out her interview with Paper Magazine here, where she breaks down Was It Even Real? track by track.