Singer LIVVIA Discusses Her Single 'Catch a Body' & Getting an Econ Degree From UC Berkeley (Exclusive Q&A)

For all you collegiettes out there needing some major career inspiration, singer LIVVIA is definitely someone to look to. Not only did she recently graduate from UC Berkeley with a degree in economics, but she's also an incredibly talented artist (and a wonderful person to speak with). She has opened for Meghan Trainor and Lindsey Stirling, as well as toured with Jessie J and Victoria Justice in the past. With a catchy pop vibe and beautiful vocals, LIVVIA is definitely going to take the world by storm this year.

She chatted with Her Campus about her single "Catch a Body," how she managed a singing career as a college student, in addition to what she plans to do post-graduation.

Her Campus: Your single, “Catch a Body,” is currently playing in the top 40 across the country. Do you remember the first time you heard it on the radio?

L: There's technically two stories here because the first time I heard it on the radio, I was actually in Miami and was visiting a radio station. Coincidentally, they were the first station to play it in the U.S. I was visiting them and they said, "Oh this is really funny, but your single is slotted to play right now." I had never heard it on the radio, so I was in the studio and I actually got to intro it, which was amazing. But the first time that I really heard it where I was out and about, it happened to come on while I was in the car. I was literally turning onto the street that my rehearsal studio was at, and it came on the radio. The next thing at rehearsal the same thing happens. Our rehearsals are at different times, but at the same intersection the song came on. When we got to the intersection at the red light I was like, "If my song comes on, that would be insane." And it did!

HC: What was the inspiration for this single? Did you originally intend it to be a collaboration with Quavo?

L: The way we started the song was pretty funny actually, because we started it in a way that I really like to write. We have an instrumental track, and all of the writers will take turns going into the booth and just recording whatever comes to our minds. Then, we'll put those improv takes together. In one of the takes, someone said hold a body, and somebody else thought she said catch a body. I love a play on words, so I was like, "We could do something with this!" The whole "you look so good it's killing me" type of thing came from that, so it was almost an accident. The collaboration part came about because we had left that day having written everything except for a bridge. We thought maybe instead of writing a bridge, we could get someone to collaborate on a song. This was about a year ago when we wrote it, and in an ideal world we would have Quavo on it. He's amazing and huge, and to have him was kind of wishful thinking. It just so happened that my producers were working with somebody who was working with Quavo, so they were about to get him to hear it. He loved it so much that he literally just recorded something and sent it back. It was amazing.

HC: Can we expect more music to be released later this year? If so, how does it compare to “Catch a Body”?

L: There's actually new music that's going to be coming out really soon. It's just been a lot with the promo for "Catch a Body," which I wish I could've released a lot sooner—but they're coming! I think they're in the same vein as "Catch a Body." They're still upbeat because that's the vibe that I always like to keep. The particular song that is coming out next is just me and not a feature. It's called "Gratitude." It's really important to me because I love to live my life by thinking of the bright side of things. I love to think about all the things that I'm grateful for. I feel like we can get so easily caught up in the little things, but in the big picture there are so many things to be grateful for. That song sort of speaks to that, and I absolutely love it.


Thank you @people mag for premiering Gratitude!! Link in bio

A post shared by LIVVIA (@livvia) on

HC: You’re graduating from University of California Berkeley with a degree in economics. Do you intend to pursue a career in that field, continue solely with music or do both?

L: I literally just came from my last final, so I'm really excited. I always get asked why I'm an economics major if I'm a musician, but I really just love econ because having as much understanding as possible of economics is helpful in any career. I've already found it to be helpful in my music career because I'm not really just an artist. I like to keep up with all aspects, like legal and business and marketing, and econ has played a big role in all of that. I even wrote an econ paper once on the economics of Spotify. Sometimes my professors will use the music industry as an example. It's actually more related than people would initially believe. I never thought of it as a backup plan, but I really thought of it as going hand-in-hand with my career.

HC: How did you balance a successful music career and your academic studies in addition to having a social life?

L: I sacrificed a social life for much of those four years, but I guess it was because my social life was completely limited to touring, and I would make friends with the people I was touring with. I had the option to tour with some really amazing artists, but I would keep to myself because I did a lot of my work being on the road and submitting work to Berkeley, or doing any classes that they offered online. It was isolating. Finishing up my degree required me to take upper division classes and be on campus more but for the most part, I was really used to being in airports. My friends were [also] really understanding. When I come home, they all come over to my house so I don't have to go anywhere because I'm exhausted. I honestly was afraid over the last four years that I would never reach the point of graduation just because of everything pulling me in opposite directions. I am beyond relieved that I got to this point.

HC: What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from being a college student?

L: I think probably the value of collaboration. A lot of times, especially at Berkeley, people like to say it's so competitive and nobody wants to help you or do well. I was a little bit afraid of that, but I haven't encountered anything of the sort. Everyone has just been beyond helpful. We all want to study together. We all want to help each other out and proof each other's papers. It has just been the most collaborative and supportive and inspiring environment of students and teachers and teaching assistants. The value of it is how you really can lean on people. If you know one thing better than the other, you can learn it from somebody else. If I really love writing papers and my friends are more technical, I will proofread their papers. It's that kind of thing—playing to your strength and learning from others around you.

HC: Now that you’re graduating, what are your plans for the summer?

L: I'm walking at graduation, but I have one summer class to finish up in econ. I'll be going back and forth from Berkeley and LA and doing radio shows. I also have my first festival this summer, so it will be a little bit of the same until the end of the summer when I will no longer be at Berkeley. I will be primarily focusing on music once again. I love academics so much, so I may start thinking about grad school to still do that part of my life, but I don't know yet. It will just be great to focus on music completely for a bit.