Sue Bonzell: This is Up N Country on 93.7, The Bull. It’s powered by V Livecast. I’m your host Sue Bonzell. Let’s get this show started.

She has won the Rising Star award for the Edmonton Music Awards twice in a row, has been nominated three times, and she’s up for more awards. Olivia Rose is here. Hello, Olivia.

Olivia Rose: Hi, Sue. How you doing?

Sue Bonzell: I am doing great. Well, congratulations on your success, your awards. That’s [00:00:30] kind of a big deal. I mean, you’re in Canada, we’re here in the United States, so tell me about those awards.

Olivia Rose: Yeah. So like you said, I won Rising Star two years consecutively at the Edmonton Music Awards. The category is open to all different types of genres of music. I won that when I was 17 and 18, I believe, and that was amazing. Just to be even nominated, just to know that you’re in the eyes of your community and the city that you live in is really [00:01:00] amazing. And I’ve been nominated for a Rising Star in Alberta Country Music Awards and also right now, I’m in the ballot for Female Artist of the Year in this upcoming Alberta Country Music Awards. And yeah, just to be recognized by the community is something that a lot of artists… It feels really nice, because I think a lot of us are people pleasers. And so when you do all this really hard work on your own, it’s wonderful to feel like that hard work is being recognized.

Sue Bonzell: That is so [00:01:30] amazing. I can only imagine just winning those awards, and like you said, it just feels so good. And like you said, you’re kind of the people pleaser because you want to please the crowd, you want to please the fans, and just getting that recognition I think is just so amazing. Now, you said that you got these awards at a fairly young age. When did you start writing and performing music?

Olivia Rose: Yeah, so I’m 22 now and I started performing and singing since the time I could walk, basically. I grew up in a really, really small town of 1,500 [00:02:00] people in Northern Alberta and we didn’t have much for the music side of things. When I was in elementary school, our music program got cut. So my wonderful parents were driving me two and a half hours to the nearest large city of Edmonton to do choir, and vocal lessons, and co-writes.

I think when I first started getting into the whole business side of music [00:02:30] was when I was nine years old, actually. I won a competition called the [Winthrop 00:02:36] Star Search and I got to perform in front of 3,500 people, which is double the size of my town in Edmonton. And it was since then that I realized this is what I wanted to do. And at nine years old, I started going to gala events and the award ceremonies and really started getting into the community and meeting people. So I have tons of friends that I’ve known since I was [00:03:00] 10 years old that have gotten to watch me grow up and work on my music, and it’s been really awesome.

Sue Bonzell: I just love that. Is your family, are they musically inclined? Did that come from your family?

Olivia Rose: No, not at all. I’m the only musician in my family. I’m the only one who really plays an instrument even. My family are very hardworking, wonderful people who are full of nurses, EMTs, social workers, teachers, [00:03:30] people who love to support the community as I’m doing, I think, with my music. So the fact that I was able and given the opportunity to do my music and really pursue that was wonderful because, no, my family is not in the music side of things at all.

Sue Bonzell: Well, I can imagine, I mean, if you’re at that young age and you really already are showing this passion for something, it’s hard to say, no, we don’t want you to be a musician.

Olivia Rose: Yeah, [00:04:00] no, my mom-

Sue Bonzell: Follow the passion.

Olivia Rose: Exactly. My mom always said whatever her daughters wanted to do, that she would try to make that work for them. So they did everything they could to give me the best head start on it.

Sue Bonzell: That is awesome. Now I’ve listened to some of your songs and I’m noticing a little bit of a pattern. They’re about relationships, good and bad. So are you drawing from your experience, your personal experience?

Olivia Rose: Maybe a little bit. When it comes to writing, [00:04:30] that’s the main thing I love about country music and that’s why it’s kind of my genre, is the storytelling aspect. I think that that is really where the heart of country music lies. And so I take inspiration from my own life, friends’ lives, TV shows, movies, books, everything like that to create these stories and these characters that I love to write about.

Sue Bonzell: I love that. So now, do you have anybody in your life romantically?

Olivia Rose: I do. My boyfriend, Drew, we’ve been together for three [00:05:00] and a half years now. Yeah, it’s really exciting. We’re celebrating his birthday this weekend. So it should be a good-

Sue Bonzell: Yay, okay.

Olivia Rose: Yeah, it’s been wonderful.

Sue Bonzell: Good. Are you going to write him a song as his birthday present?

Olivia Rose: I wrote him a song last year for his birthday. Maybe I’ll do another, I’ll do an updated one.

Sue Bonzell: There you go. After another year you got more to add to it, right?

Olivia Rose: Exactly.

Sue Bonzell: I see you do a lot of covers as well. I’ve seen you, on some of your videos, perform. What’s your favorite cover song, like your all-time, [00:05:30] go-to favorite cover song?

Olivia Rose: There’s one that isn’t really well known. It’s by a band called the High Women and it’s Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile and two other singer songwriters. And it’s called, what’s it called, Crowded Table, that’s what it’s called. And it’s a song that really became something that I would sing with my family a lot at Thanksgiving and stuff. It’s just [00:06:00] about having a big, happy family and inviting anybody, even if they’re not blood, into your life. And it’s a really gorgeous song and every time I sing it, people love it even if they haven’t heard of it before. So yeah, Crowded Table by the High Women.

Sue Bonzell: Okay. There you go. So now, if you guys don’t know that song, you’re going to have to go look it up. And so you can maybe find-

Olivia Rose: The whole album is amazing.

Sue Bonzell: Yes, it is. It is very, very good. So now you’re doing, I’ve seen you in these videos performing on stage. What’s the best part about [00:06:30] performing with a live audience?

Olivia Rose: Well, it’s something that I haven’t gotten to do very much in the past two years. So it’s really just about the connection. I’ve been lucky enough to have tons of live stream shows in these past two years with the pandemic, but it’s not the same as when you’re up on a stage and you get to look down into these faces listening to your lyrics and your song and see them really connect with you like [00:07:00] that. That’s another main part about country music for me is the connections that you create through story and song with the audience. Because they take your words that you’ve written and completely put it into their own lives and create their own story for it, which I think is gorgeous. So I guess that’s really it. It’s kind of cliche, but just that connection of making eye contact and really sharing your story with them.

Sue Bonzell: Yeah. I would imagine [00:07:30] too, it’s that energy. You can get the energy from a virtual, but really being face-to-face and being there and feeling it, is like, “Ooh, yeah, I love that.”

Olivia Rose: It gives the show another feeling. It’s insane.

Sue Bonzell: That is so cool. I understand you’re writing a bunch of songs. You’re going to be coming out with an EP. Tell us about that.

Olivia Rose: Yeah. In these two years with not being able to perform live as much, I’ve really [00:08:00] focused and honed in my songwriting abilities. And one good thing that maybe came out of this pandemic is that I’ve been able to write with such incredible writers that are on the other side of the country from me, that I might not necessarily have had the opportunity to, unless I went to Ontario where they live.

So I think for six months straight, I was writing four or five songs a week. And so out of those little songs that I’ve been [00:08:30] writing, there’s been ones that have really, really struck a chord with me that I want to take and record and release new music. It’s been two years since I’ve gotten to release music. So I’m dying to get back in the studio and to record this next little chapter of my music career.

Sue Bonzell: Well, that is going to be super, super exciting. Any plans to come out to Nashville anytime?

Olivia Rose: I would love to, definitely. Hopefully, it’s looking like [00:09:00] the COVID situation is getting a little bit better. I actually had plans March ’20, what was it, 2019 that COVID started? I had plans to come to Nashville and then COVID happened and it never happened and I’ve actually never been in.

Sue Bonzell: Oh, my goodness.

Olivia Rose: It would be absolutely amazing. So hopefully, in the next year.

Sue Bonzell: Okay, put that on the-

Olivia Rose: [Crosstalk 00:09:21] manifesting.

Sue Bonzell: … bucket list. Right, exactly. Exactly. And speaking of manifesting, if there was anybody that you could open up for [00:09:30] in country music, who would that be?

Olivia Rose: Miranda Lambert, hands down.

Sue Bonzell: She knows. She knows right off the bat.

Olivia Rose: Definitely. I’ve been obsessed with her. She was such an inspiration for me in my early years of writing and performing. And I’ve been lucky enough to see her in concert twice. And I actually got to meet her once. She was in a local bar, while she was performing in my city of Edmonton. She was at a local bar that was like six blocks away from me and my friend [00:10:00] who worked there texted me and said, “I think that country girl you like is here.” And so I was like, “Oh my God.” So I got out of bed, I put a hat on, I think it was probably this one, and I ran down there and I got to shake her hand and meet her. And it was amazing. So to open for her would just make my life.

Sue Bonzell: Wow. Well, maybe there’s an opportunity. She has her own bar in Nashville.

Olivia Rose: Yeah. Oh, to perform there would be insane.

Sue Bonzell: Right. Yes, exactly.

Well, [00:10:30] I like to do something a little fun with my guests, so we’re going to play a little game. But before we do that, I would love it if you’d be willing to play us a song.

Olivia Rose: Yes, definitely.

Sue Bonzell: Yeah, cool.

Olivia Rose: I’d love to play you a song called Hard Work & Whiskey. And like I’ve mentioned, I grew up in a small town where country music was the main thing I listened to. And I got to listen to [00:11:00] all the classics with my grandparents, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn. And I wrote this song with a good friend of mine, Terry [Fernaho 00:11:10] and it’s like my little homage to that classic country feeling. It’s called Hard Work & Whiskey.


Speaker 3: Nice. [00:14:30] All right, yay.

Olivia Rose: Thank you.

Sue Bonzell: What a great song. That’s so fun.

Olivia Rose: Yeah, it was a really good one to write, and [00:15:00] actually, we wrote it in probably 45 minutes, one of the fastest I’ve ever done. And we just took that classic country vibe of like sitting in a small town bar, drinking whiskey to drown your sorrows and ran with it.

Sue Bonzell: Well, it’s pretty accurate. So I mean, and when it flows, it just flows and it’s you know you got something good. So thank you for sharing that with us.

Olivia Rose: Thanks for having me perform it.

Sue Bonzell: Absolutely. So you ready to play a little game?

Olivia Rose: [00:15:30] Yes, let’s do it.

Sue Bonzell: Okay. We’re going to play a game that’s called This or That.

Olivia Rose: Oh, I love this.

Sue Bonzell: You ready? Okay. So it’s like-

Olivia Rose: I do this on my own Instagram stories all the time.

Sue Bonzell: There you go. A little lightning round here, so, okay. Heels or boots?

Olivia Rose: Boots.

Sue Bonzell: Okay. I probably could’ve guess that. Peppermint or wintergreen?

Olivia Rose: Wintergreen.

Sue Bonzell: Oh, me too. Nobody else likes wintergreen, [00:16:00] that’s weird. Savory or sweet?

Olivia Rose: Savory.

Sue Bonzell: Okay. I think we can hang out.

Olivia Rose: Perfect.

Sue Bonzell: Pepperoni or cheese pizza?

Olivia Rose: Pepperoni. It used to be cheese, but I kind of grew out of that.

Sue Bonzell: Just a little bit of spice, a little pepperoni, right?

Olivia Rose: Yeah, you got to have something.

Sue Bonzell: Coffee or tea?

Olivia Rose: Coffee for sure. Hands down.

Sue Bonzell: Coffee. She likes her coffee, come on. [00:16:30] Beer or wine?

Olivia Rose: Ooh. See, this one’s hard because I love both. But if I had to choose only one, I guess I’d go with wine.

Sue Bonzell: Okay. All right. Me too.

Olivia Rose: I drank a bottle last night.

Sue Bonzell: Oh, my God, so did I.

Olivia Rose: Twins.

Sue Bonzell: Twins. We’re twinning, okay. Let’s see, whiskey or vodka?

Olivia Rose: Whiskey, I guess. Yeah, vodka doesn’t drive me too much, it’s got to be whiskey. There’s something more [00:17:00] there.

Sue Bonzell: Okay. All right, whiskey. She needs that hard work and whiskey, right? Car or truck?

Olivia Rose: Truck if I could afford the gas.

Sue Bonzell: Good answer. I like that too. Beach or mountains?

Olivia Rose: Mountains, of course. I live in Alberta.

Sue Bonzell: Right, exactly. Would be wrong if you said beach, right? Mild or spicy?

Olivia Rose: Spicy.

Sue Bonzell: [00:17:30] Spicy.

Olivia Rose: That’s been like a new development for me. I’ve just been getting into the hot sauce in the past year or so. I used to not be able to handle it whatsoever, but I like it now.

Sue Bonzell: I have friends who put like Tapatio on everything, everything. I’m like a little bit here and there is fine with me, but not on everything.

Olivia Rose: But not all the time.

Sue Bonzell: Exactly. Okay. Tacos or burritos?

Olivia Rose: Tacos. Hands down, my favorite food.

Sue Bonzell: [00:18:00] Tacos, who doesn’t like tacos, right?

Olivia Rose: Exactly. I’m taking my boyfriend… This is a secret, he’s not home right now so it’s fine. Tomorrow night for his birthday, I’m taking him to our favorite Mexican place. And since it’s cold here and there’s snow, they have these little igloos set up outside, so you’re in your own little bubble.

Sue Bonzell: That is awesome. How fun is that?

Olivia Rose: It should be great.

Sue Bonzell: Usually you’re having tacos in Mexico when you’re on the beach, but you know what? Now you can have it in an igloo.

Olivia Rose: Yeah, there you go. My roommates are in Mexico right now, so they’re having a good time, but it’s [00:18:30] fine. I’ll be having tacos in the snow. It’ll be great.

Sue Bonzell: Right, exactly. It’s like, “You go right ahead. I’m going to go have tacos in an igloo.”

Olivia Rose: Yeah, way better.

Sue Bonzell: Okay. Glazed or old fashioned?

Olivia Rose: Old fashioned.

Sue Bonzell: Really?

Olivia Rose: Wait, no. No, no, no. No, no, no.

Sue Bonzell: There’s glazed, I guess you can still glaze the old fashioned.

Olivia Rose: I like old fashioned glazed.

Sue Bonzell: So old fashion glazed.

Olivia Rose: At Tim Hortons’, you know, Canadian Tim Hortons, we have a sour cream, old fashioned glazed donut. That’s my favorite donut.

Sue Bonzell: That sounds really [00:19:00] good. I know we had Brett Kissel on the show not too long ago. And he was talking about Tim Bits so we covered that.

Olivia Rose: You’re all up to date on the Timmy stuff.

Sue Bonzell: I need to make a trip up there and go try it out because we don’t have that down here.

Olivia Rose: Apparently there’s a couple in the states somewhere.

Sue Bonzell: Oh, really? Oh, we might have to go seek them out and find out so we can have the Tim Hortons’ conversation. Okay, and lastly, cilantro, [00:19:30] yes or no?

Olivia Rose: A little bit, just a little bit of cilantro. It’s still kind of, I have that thing where it tastes like soap to me and it still kind of does, but I’m training myself to like it because it’s on everything, so just a little bit.

Sue Bonzell: Just a little bit. Just a little bit. Yeah, the first time I started having cilantro, I was like, “No, don’t like it, don’t want it.” And then something happened and now I’m like, “Oh, I really like it,” so who knows?

Olivia Rose: I don’t mind it.

Sue Bonzell: [00:20:00] Yeah, just a little, just a little.

Well, good. I had so much fun with you. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me and play a song for us. So besides the EP, any shows coming up that maybe we can put on our calendar?

Olivia Rose: No shows at the moment, I’m trying to get booked for some summer stuff. Hopefully I have some stuff in the works for summer. But it seems like a lot of people are being a little tentative of booking right now [00:20:30] because of these circumstances. But the audience can follow me on all my socials and I keep everybody super up to date with what I’m doing. It’s @oliviarose_music on everything.

Sue Bonzell: Yeah. And she’s also on TikTok. You have super fun TikToks too. I love that.

Olivia Rose: Thank you, @oliviarose_music.

Sue Bonzell: See, there you go, that’s where you find her. Congratulations on all of your success and we’ll keep an eye on you.

Olivia Rose: Thank you so much, Sue. It’s been [00:21:00] really wonderful being here today.

Sue Bonzell: Thanks for tuning in to Up N Country where we have new episodes every Tuesday. And be sure to visit for all of the episodes and information about our VIP club, where you’re going to get exclusive backstage access. And if you’re on Instagram or TikTok, make sure to follow me, Sue Bonzell. I’ll see you next week.