Trading her surgeon’s gloves for a microphone, singer-songwriter Olivia Hang (Oli) has dazzled us with her clear, bright vocals, touching melodies, and encouraging lyrics since her debut in 2012. After producing two albums, two EPs, and a book, Olivia now resides in Vancouver, Canada, where she has teamed up with Juno-nominated producer Dan Kearley to return to her musical roots and reinvent her sound in her latest single “Elusive.”
Featuring a more matured vocal style and fine nuances in arrangement, what has not changed is Olivia’s insistence on producing meaningful music. “Elusive” is an exploration into the genres of house and trip hop, as well as an expression of courage and self-love. It also showcases Olivia’s first composition and recording in French.
We tend to magnify the things we don’t like in our minds; the more we do so, the more scared and dislike we feel. We are, however, a lot stronger than we think; it is the fear inside us that stops us from being able to achieve our goals. Like going into the icy ocean for a swim or facing the freezing winter air—if we can muster up the courage to just jump in the water or inhale the coldness, we can find ourselves quickly adapting.
All you need is the courage to breathe.
I’ve channeled all my inner strength into this song Breathe, in hopes that when you listen to it, you will be able to find that courage.
The best part about dreaming is right before waking up—that point between awake and asleep—it’s a feeling of being caught between two states of being, like I’m in Peter Pan’s Neverland. It’s a feeling of wistfulness, as I am trying to grasp elements of my dream so that I can savor it after I wake up. Try as I might, once I’ve woken up I can never go back to the same dream. That’s why I wanted to put that ambiguous feeling, peculiar but not unpleasant, into a sound, kind of like a movie soundtrack for my dreams; that way even though I can’t return to my dreams, I can still relive some of the emotions I had experienced.
Thus Elusive is born.
Life is but a dream, and Elusive is the soundtrack for that dream. I dedicate it to all who listens to it in hopes that we can maintain these emotions of love, inspiration, and hope—it is what keeps us alive.
Every person faces the same fate: we are born into this world, we grow up, and we slowly age over time. Along the way, we are taught that we must be perfect; so we grow to fear any physical imperfections like freckles and spots, being chubby, getting wrinkles... But it’s these imperfections that make us the unique individuals who we are. Our bodies are like books onto which our life stories are written—every wound, scar, line helps tell our story. That’s why I believe we should learn to love and treasure ourselves, especially the imperfections, because they mark the milestones of our lives.
I used to take French as a third language at school. Never having high expectations for myself, I had originally just wanted to read the labels of French things I love, like cosmetics and perfume and wine... Never did I imagine that one day I could write songs in French! But it has happened! Writing and singing in French has tested my limits; to ensure we’ve done the song justice, I have worked with French singer Tresor Otshudi—I am proud and happy with the result of my very first French recording!
As a bilingual singer-songwriter, I’ve learned through the years that not all songs are suitable to be adapted into another language; some songs are “meant to be” in English, and other Mandarin—if you force translation the entire song is thrown off.
This song Read was originally written in English. I had no desires to write another version. However, through the process of arrangement and recording, a small persistent voice kept urging me, “Write me in Chinese!” I ended up finishing the Mandarin version within 15 minutes! Not only is it rare to have a perfect adaptation into another language, this Mandarin version fits well with our Asian-inspired arrangement and allows me to showcase a different side of myself vocally. I hope you will love it as much as I do!