Senior “Olivia Hale” Releases EP on Spotify, Apple Music

Olivia Haleblian has spent the last few months singing into her headphone mic in her bedroom, recording her debut EP, Forty Winks. It’s a soft-toned, crystalline daydream — with a lo-fi nature that’s nearly nostalgic.

“It’s an old saying for short nap, especially in the daytime,” said Haleblian, ‘21, of the EP’s title. “I kind of stumbled upon the name and instantly knew that was going to be it — I just loved it.”

The six-song, 12-minute EP released on March 5, and it’s a short and sweet taste of what’s to come from the Marist College senior. It is available on most streaming platforms including Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud and Amazon Music under her artist name, “Olivia Hale.”

The EP blends mellow indie-pop with R&B for easy, library-listening tunes. The opening track, “My Morning = Your Afternoon,” is a raw, simple lullaby that captures the vision for the EP at large, Haleblian said.

Haleblian has fully taken hold of the DIY-music era, recording most of the EP through her headphone mic in her room. She kept her heart full and her expectations low throughout the process — chasing her own daydream.

“I did it for myself to kind of see that I can,” Haleblian said. “This is all for fun — just to see what it’s all about. Pretty much all the songs on the EP I recorded here at Marist, from my room in my little headphone speaker. I would record it into my Beats headphones into GarageBand and send it back.”

Haleblian said that she was hesitant of sharing her work over social media, but has been overwhelmed with positive feedback from family, friends and the student body at Marist. “When I posted it people were responding and sharing it,” she said. “I was like, ‘This is crazy, people are listening to me.’”

Haleblian’s boyfriend, Conrad Hsiang, produced the EP under his artist name, Public Library Commute — who has upwards of 20,000 monthly Spotify listeners. “He’s been making music since high school,” Haleblian said. “We just kind of work on things for fun and put it out there.”

The lo-fi quality is notably transparent on the final track, “Home.” She wraps up with raw recording of her finishing up the record, a staticky “Okay,” and a muffled affirmation from her producer saying, “That sounded perfect.”

Despite Forty Winks being her singer/songwriter debut, Haleblian’s musical portfolio has been building up for most of her lifetime. She attributes her theater roots for her skills and performance confidence.

“Musical theater is so dramatic and so articulated, and I love that, and sometimes I have showtunes on repeat,” said Haleblian, having been in multiple high school and community theater shows, including 13 and Seussical.

After following scripts and adopting roles for most of her life, Haleblian has found her sound. She looks to R&B and old soul like Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and Amy Winehouse for inspiration.

Haleblian said she is planning a larger second project to be released in a few months, as well as some singles to curb her creative itch along the way.

“I have all these songs in my back pocket,” Haleblian said. “The second I released it, I wanted to work on new stuff. I want to really have it clean and crisp and really craft a sound that I like — and that I think people will like.”

Tara GuaimanoComment