Olivia Chaney

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Olivia Chaney
Olivia Chaney 2013.jpg
Background information
Born 1982 (age 33–34)
Florence, Italy
Genres Folk
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar, harmonium
Years active 2004–present
Labels Nonesuch Records
Associated acts Alasdair Roberts, Concerto Caledonia, The Labèque Sisters, London Sinfonietta, Zero 7, Rodney P, Seth Lakeman, Wolf People
Website www.oliviachaney.net

Olivia Chaney (born 1982) is an English folk singer, pianist, guitarist, harmonium player and songwriter. Her debut solo album, The Longest River, came out in 2015. She featured heavily in Alasdair Roberts's 2013 album A Working Wonder Stone.


Olivia Chaney was born in Florence, Italy, and grew up in Oxford, England, studying composition, piano, cello, and voice.[1] Early influences include her father's record collections and his own renditions of early blues and '60s folk songwriters like Bob Dylan, Fairport Convention, and Bert Jansch.[2]

At 14, she won joint-first piano and voice scholarship to Chetham's School of Music in Manchester, which was focused on the classical repertoire. She then went on to attend the Royal Academy of Music in London, also on scholarship, where, as an improviser and songwriter, she studied in the jazz course. While at the Academy, Chaney spent much of her time experimenting and collaborating outside the traditional jazz course.[3]


On graduating from the Academy, Chaney taught herself guitar and Indian harmonium and began performing regularly as a soloist. She has also worked as an actress and singer/multi-instrumentalist at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in Matthew Dunster's acclaimed production of Troilus and Cressida and Lucy Bailey and Django Bates's production of Timon of Athens.[4][5]

Olivia Chaney has collaborated and shared stages all over the world with artists, composers, producers, and bands including Zero 7, Alasdair Roberts, Concerto Caledonia, and The Labèque Sisters.

In 2010, Olivia Chaney recorded a self-released EP.[6]

In 2011, she contributed to two compilations for grassroots label Folk Police.[7][8] She also performed on the live release Revenge of the Folksingers with Scottish artist Alasdair Roberts and period performance group Concerto Caledonia on the Delphian label.[9]

Chaney has performed with Balearic Folk Orchestra, for whom she sang arranged and played harmonium and piano on the group's Amy Winehouse cover "He Can Only Hold Her" for a Q Magazine tribute.[3]

In November 2013, Olivia Chaney was nominated for two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards: the Horizon Award and Best Original Song, for "Swimming in the Longest River," which is featured on her EP.[10] At the same time, it was announced that Chaney had signed a record deal with Nonesuch Records.[2]

Olivia Chaney's debut album, The Longest River, was released on Nonesuch Records on 28 April 2015.[11]


  • EP (2010)
  • Hearts & Minds (with Seth Lakeman; Virgin Records, 2010)
  • The Oak, Ash and Thorn Project (Folk Police, 2011)
  • The Woodbine & Ivy Band (Folk Police, 2011)
  • Revenge of the Folksingers (with Concerto Caledonia; Delphian, 2011)
  • The Future (with Rodney P; Low Life Records, 2004)
  • A Working Wonder Stone (with Alasdair Roberts & Friends; Drag City, 2013)
  • Fain (with Wolf People; Jagjaguwar, 2013)
  • The Longest River (Nonesuch Records, 2015)


  1. ^ Philip Ward. "Olivia Chaney". Brush on Drum. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Nonesuch Records Signs BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Nominee Olivia Chaney and Releases Debut Album in 2014". Nonesuch.com. Nonesuch Records. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Chipping, Tim (June 2013). "A Voice in a Million". fRoots. 
  4. ^ Mark Shenton (2 June 2009). "Olivier Winner Kelly Joins Cast of Shakespeare Globe's Troilus and Cressida". Playbill.com. Playbill. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Lovely sounds for TravellingLight … Olivia Chaney: London". Travelling Light. 31 March 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "Olivia Chaney in session". The Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe. BBC Radio 2. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Oak, Ash and Thorn Project". Folk Police Recordings. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "The Woodbine & Ivy Band". Folk Police Recordings. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Colin Irwin (2011). "BBC Music Album Review: Concerto Caledonia: Revenge of the Folksingers". Folk Police Recordings. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Nominees List". BBC Radio 2. BBC. 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Nonesuch Releases Olivia Chaney's Debut Album, "The Longest River," on April 28". Nonesuch.com. Nonesuch Records. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.