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Olivia (Olivia album)

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Olivia
A woman is shown with her hands on her hips.
Studio album by Olivia
Released May 15, 2001
Recorded 2000–2001
Genre
Length 49:10
Label
Producer
Olivia chronology
Olivia
(2001)
Behind Closed Doors
(2005)
Singles from Olivia
  1. "Bizounce"
    Released: March 20, 2001
  2. "Are U Capable"
    Released: July 3, 2001
  3. "You Got the Damn Thing (I Like) Remix"
    Released: 2001

Olivia is the self-titled debut studio album by American singer and songwriter Olivia. It was released on May 15, 2001, by J Records. Olivia was known as "the First Lady of J" as she was the first artist signed to the label. Olivia is a primarily hip hop and R&B record, that features jazz influences whilst incorporating lyrical themes that revolve largely around sexuality and romance. It features guest vocals from American rapper Petey Pablo and American R&B singer Jimmy Cozier. Olivia received comparisons to music by rapper Lil' Kim and R&B singers Aaliyah and Mýa. Promotional efforts for the album associated Olivia with a provocative image. Olivia later expressed disappointment with her lack of control over the recording and promotion of the album and felt she was limited to a "bad girl" image by label executives. After promoting the album, Olivia left the label and was invited to join G-Unit Records by its founder 50 Cent.

The album received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Olivia's attitude while rapping and singing, though some criticized the record's inconsistency, and Olivia's lack of connection to the material. The album was moderately successful in the United States, peaking at number 55 on the Billboard 200 and number 22 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.

"Bizounce" was released as the lead single from Olivia on March 20, 2001, and peaked at number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The second single "Are U Capable" was released on July 3, 2001; "You Got the Damn Thing (I Like) Remix", a remix of the album track "You Got the Damn Thing", was serviced as the third and final single from the record later that same year. Olivia further promoted the album through several performances on television and live shows and a promotional tour prior to its release.

Background[edit]

I felt honored, privileged even, that I was the one chosen to flagship the label. The company wasn't even fully up and running. Offices weren't completely furnished, and people were just settling into their jobs. This was going to be a tough task, since mine would be the first project to go out.[1]

— Olivia, discussing the development of the album with J Records

After initially attempting to rap under the name "O-Lovely", Olivia chose to attend Hofstra University and Five Towns College to further her career in music. Olivia said people would frequently compare her voice to R&B singer Brandy. During her audition for American record producer Clive Davis, she sang the gospel hymn "His Eye Is on the Sparrow".[2] Musician Joshua Thompson produced Olivia's demo, and arranged her audition for Arista Records executives and Davis. In an interview with Billboard, Olivia said she was signed to the label immediately after the meeting. J Records senior vice president Ron Gillyard described Olivia as "the real deal", emphasizing her roles as "a songwriter, a singer, and a rapper".[3] At age 17, Olivia was the first artist signed to J Records by American record producer Clive Davis.[4] Executives from the record company referred to her as "the First Lady of J".[5] Olivia described herself as "the one chosen to flagship the label" since her single and album were one of the first projects released by the company.[1] She defined her music as "R&B with a strong hip hop flava".[6] The Morning Call's Righi reported the popularity of Olivia, along with R&B singer Aaliyah, reflecting that "the right attitude, hip-hop production and clothing—not to mention a body to die for" was considered more important in contemporary R&B than: "the plaintive human voice in the throes of transcendent ecstasy or bottomless hurt".[7]

Olivia later viewed the recording of the album as a learning experience for her future music ventures; she said her time at the record label "was cut short by the politics of the industry and me not actually taking my career into my own hands". She said record executives took away her control over the creation of the album given her youth and inexperience.[4] In her 2014 autobiography Release Me: My Life, My Words, Olivia wrote that she did not consider building a cohesive set of songs during the recording process and identified the album as lacking a clear direction.[1] During promotion for the record, Olivia described having a good working relationship with Davis,[3] but she called him "extremely controlling" after leaving the label. Olivia claimed that she was forced to be the bad girl while label mate Alicia Keys was promoted as the good girl. In an official statement, J Records' representatives pointed to Olivia's credits as a co-writer for a majority of the album as proof of her involvement with the project and maintained: "Clive doesn't categorize artists as good or bad girls". After her release from J Records, American rapper 50 Cent and Interscope Geffen A&M Records chairman Jimmy Iovine signed Olivia to G-Unit Records. 50 Cent said he enjoyed Olivia's previous work and blamed J Records for sabotaging her career.[2]

Composition and promotion[edit]

The final cut of Olivia comprises twelve tracks on the standard edition. The album consists primarily of R&B songs, with hip-hop and jazz influences.[5] The Morning Call's Righi characterized the album's first ten tracks as "dreary complaints [with] a mercenary attitude" while the final three were: "girlish and even gooey".[7]

"Bizounce" was released as Olivia's lead single on March 20, 2001.[9] Director Marcus Raboy shot the accompanying music video.[10] The song reached number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100[11] and number four on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[12] It was Olivia's highest-charting single on the Billboard Hot 100 until her 2005 collaboration with 50 Cent on "Candy Shop", which peaked at number one on the chart.[13] In Canada, the single peaked at number sixteen on the Canadian Singles Chart.[14] A reviewer in Billboard praised Olivia's vocals, saying she "has the mouth of a bad girl and the voice of an angel", and described the single as making her: "a bona fide R&B singer".[10]

The second single was originally intended to be "You Got the Damn Thing"[5] before being changed to "Are U Capable", which was released on vinyl, on July 3, 2001,[15] and promoted with a music video.[16] Rashaun Hall from Billboard gave the single a positive review, saying that it: "may be the song that sets her career ablaze".[17] "You Got the Damn Thing (I Like) Remix", a remix of the album track "You Got the Damn Thing", was later released separately and was treated as the third and final single from the album.[18] Olivia made appearances on television and on live shows to promote her debut album. Before the album's release, she performed "Bizounce" on Soul Train, BET, MTV's hip-hop video block Sucker Free (known at the time as DFX), and The Source Sound Lab. On February 11, 2001, she embarked on a promotional tour[3] leading up to the album's release on May 15, 2001.[19]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[20]
Entertainment Weekly B-[21]
Q 3/5 stars[22]

Critical response[edit]

Olivia received mixed reviews from music critics. A reviewer in Honey praised the album, saying: "Hip Hop Soul has a real voice with Olivia".[23] A reviewer in The Source noted that "Olivia is most memorable when she's in woman-scorned mode", calling her "a thugged-out Aaliyah and pissed-off Mýa".[24] A reviewer in CMJ called the album: "unique and ground-breaking".[25] A reviewer in Q magazine described Olivia as "well-versed in the not always noble art of the R&B ballad" and the songs as: "a list of saucy demands that would make Lil' Kim blush".[22] Jon Azpiri of AllMusic praised the album, saying "her softer tracks show some versatility", and deemed Olivia's best works as coming from: "when she is venting her spleen rather than revealing her soul".[20]

Negative criticism focused on the inconsistency of the album's sound and Olivia's lack of connection to the material. Entertainment Weekly's Mark Bautz commended the album's impeccable production, but felt that it: "lacks the overall energy and excitement of its best songs".[21] Len Righi of The Morning Call praised Olivia's persona as "the vulgar thugette", but was critical of the album's content, saying "without being able to see the hand gesturing that is an integral part of modern R&B, Olivia's music loses a lot".[7]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, Olivia debuted at number 55 on the Billboard 200 chart on the week of June 2, 2001.[26] The next week, it went down to number 103[27] and continued falling until it exited the chart on the week of July 14.[28] The album debuted at number 22 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart on the week of June 2[29] before falling out of the top 25 in the following week.[30]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Bizounce"
  • Douglas A. Allen
  • David L. Conley
  • Olivia Longott
  • Quicy Q. Patrick
  • Juan "Magic" Peters
  • Joshua P. Thompson
  • Allen
  • Thompson
4:24
2. "Are U Capable"
  • Conley
  • Longott
  • Patrick
  • Peters
  • Thompson
Thompson 3:08
3. "You Got the Damn Thing"
  • Santacruz Francisco Carroll
  • Harvey W Mason Jr.
  • Tamara Israel Powell
  • Trina Powell
  • Steven L Russell
  • Damon Thomas
  • Mason Jr.
  • Powell
  • Russell
  • Thomas
3:52
4. "Silly Bitch in Love"
  • Longott
  • Patrick
  • Warren Robinson
  • Warren Neal Wilson
  • Robinson
  • Wilson
3:34
5. "It's On Again"
  • Kizzy Amos
  • Robert D. Fusari
  • Thompson
  • Fusari
  • Thompson
4:35
6. "Woop-T-Woo"
  • Khadejia Bass
  • Michael Joe Jackson
  • L. Mitchell
  • Rufus T Moore
  • Bass
  • Mitchell
4:31
7. "Whoadie" (featuring Petey Pablo)
  • Longott
  • Moore
  • Francisco G. Palacios
  • Sloan
Palacios 4:07
8. "'Til He Comes Home"
  • Conley
  • Bingo Crum
  • Corte O. Ellis
  • Longott
  • Anthony Preddie
  • Wilson
Wilson 4:55
9. "Bring Da Roof Down"
  • Conley
  • Longott
  • Peters
  • Thompson
Thompson 2:58
10. "When 2 Souls Touch"
  • Fusari
  • Patrick
  • Thompson
  • Fusari
  • Thompson
4:39
11. "Lower 2 My Heart"
  • Danny Mercado
  • Patrick
  • Peters
  • Thompson
Thompson 4:13
12. "Look Around" (featuring Jimmy Cozier)
  • Cozier
  • Dennis
5:14
Total length: 49:10

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Olivia, J Records, BMG Rights Management:[31]

Managerial

Performance credits

Visuals and imagery

Instruments

Technical and production

Charts[edit]

Chart (2001) Peak
position
US Billboard 200[32] 55
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[33] 22

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
United States May 15, 2001 J [34]
Canada CD [35]
Japan June 27, 2001 BMG [36]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Longott, Olivia (July 1, 2014). Release Me: My Life, My Words. Urban Books. ISBN 978-1-60162-416-1. 
  2. ^ a b "Sole Sister". Vibe. October 2005. Archived from the original on March 31, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Hall, Rashaun (March 28, 2001). "Patience Pays Off For J's Olivia". Archived from the original on March 31, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b namcgloster (May 31, 2011). "Pandora's Box: Mashonda Interviews Olivia Longott". Vibe. Archived from the original on April 1, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c Reid, Shaheem (March 6, 2001). "Olivia 'Bizounce'-s up Chart, on Debut Album". Archived from the original on March 30, 2016. 
  6. ^ Perez, Jazmin (May 2001). "C'est chic". Archived from the original on March 31, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c Righi, Len (August 11, 2001). "Aaliyah and Olivia". Archived from the original on March 14, 2016. 
  8. ^ Mulvey, John. "Olivia: Bizounce". NME. Time Inc. UK. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. 
  9. ^ Bizounce [CD-Single]. "Bizounce [CD-Single]: Olivia: Music". Amazon.com. Archived from the original on April 1, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "New & Noteworthy". Billboard. February 3, 2001. Archived from the original on April 1, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Bizonce - Olivia Song Information". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on July 16, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Bizonce - Olivia Song Information". Billboard.com. Archived from the original on April 1, 2016. 
  13. ^ Whitmire, Margo. "50 Cent's 'Candy' Enters Ninth Week At No. 1". Archived from the original on April 1, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Olivia Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on April 1, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Are U Capable? [Vinyl]". Amazon. July 3, 2001. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Olivia Are U Capable (HQ / Dirty)". J Records. September 2, 2010. Archived from the original on April 2, 2009. 
  17. ^ Hall, Rashaun (June 16, 2001). "Olivia Are U Capable". Billboard. Archived from the original on April 1, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Olivia – You Got The Damn Thing (I Like) Remix". Amazon. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Olivia [Explicit]". Amazon. Archived from the original on June 4, 2016. 
  20. ^ a b "Olivia review". AllMusic. May 17, 2001. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. 
  21. ^ a b "Olivia". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on April 21, 2009. 
  22. ^ a b "Olivia Review". Q. London: Bauer Media Group. Summer 2001. 
  23. ^ "The Hottest Stars from J Records to You". CMJ. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Olivia Review". The Source. New York City: L. Londell McMillan. June 2001. 
  25. ^ "Olivia Review". CMJ. New York City: CMJ. March 30, 2001. 
  26. ^ "The week of June 2, 2001". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. 
  27. ^ "The week of June 9, 2001". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. 
  28. ^ "The week of July 14, 2001". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. 
  29. ^ "The week of June 2, 2001". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. 
  30. ^ "The week of June 9, 2001". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. 
  31. ^ Olivia. J Records, BMG (Inlay cover). Olivia. May 15, 2001. 
  32. ^ "Olivia – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Olivia. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  33. ^ "Olivia – Chart history" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for Olivia. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  34. ^ "Olivia Releases". AllMusic. 2001-04-17. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. 
  35. ^ "Olivia – Canada". Amazon. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. 
  36. ^ "Olivia – Japan". Amazon. Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Longott, Olivia (2014). Release Me: My Life, My Words. New York: Urban Books. ISBN 978-1-60162-416-1.