I wrote a piece a little over a year ago entitled ‘O’ is for Olympia: The Rise of Olivia Bartley where I said, “Somewhere in between, Olivia telling bad jokes and blowing up amps, I have become one of her biggest fans, when late last year her debut album Self Talk made its way into my hands via a friend.” That statement still holds true today, as I eagerly await the release of her sophomore album, due out later this year. My hope for her new release is that she builds upon the success she had with Self Talk and takes command of her guitar into a new exciting direction.
But long before she was killing it on tracks like Honey and Smoke Signals, Olympia was curiously plotting along with a “lots to learn, lots of new audiences to hopefully reach” mentality back in 2013 with a song called Atlantis. As a relative unknown she worked hard to find someone’s ear that might help champion her cause so to speak. That someone was an artist called Lanie Lane who heard Atlantis and was blown away by the “sonic possibilities” of taking her own guitar work to a new level.
“I was very bored with the level of my guitar playing, I then heard an act called Olympia and was so blown away by the song Atlantis that I wrote a song in response to it,” explained Lane a few years back. “Through her music, Olivia – the woman behind ‘Olympia’, encouraged me to take my guitar playing to the next level. When I realised she was pretty much unknown, I was completely shocked. Her overall artistry was at such a high standard that I couldn’t believe no one had even heard of her yet! The song I wrote (entitled Olympia) is a response to Atlantis, but also a call to Olivia to always honour her uniqueness and to never lose sight of that when people come knocking at her door.”
And knock they did. Amongst her biggest fans were youth radio station Triple J and the SBS’s television show Rockwiz. Importantly, the exposure Atlantis received helped Olympia to eventually release her acclaimed debut Self Talk.
I’ll never understand how I didn’t stumble across Atlantis a lot earlier than I did. Better late than never, right? And as far as songs go, I love that rock bluesy twang that Olympia creates with her guitar. (By the way, the studio version of this song is quite dreamy, heightened by a magical score.) In short, it is a song that conjures up an array of feelings and thoughts. For me, Atlantis is also reminiscent of a time of youth, something that I cannot go back to, but relive through my own memories of it. And if you are wondering where the hell Olympia came across the inspiration to write such as beautiful song, look no further than here below in an interview she did about five years ago.
“It was inspired by a friend recounting a ferry trip across the Aegean Sea when an announcement was made that they were travelling over Atlantis. Delivered in the same monologue as the description of snacks available at the kiosk below, it was barely noticed. To think that Atlantis, this place of memory-aching rainbows under the sea, a place that was forbidden to artists and thinkers – even to think of, was located under the litter of travellers and ferry routes.
I imagined being on that ferry and leaning overboard looking for Atlantis somewhere in the evasive poker-face of the sea, and somewhere in the descriptions of fried foods.”
Photo credit: The header image of Olympia is courtesy of EMI Music’s publicity portal. I am not the uploader of the You Tube clip embedded here.