We Interviewed Singer Olivia Farabaugh!

The University of Akron hosted former The Voice contestant, Olivia Farabaugh, as a part of a Resident Hall Program Board’s (RHPB) 7:17 and 9:09 series. Her Campus Akron had the opportunity to interview the talented Olivia before her performance Wednesday night.

In addition to her singing career, Farabaugh also works alongside the nonprofit She’s Somebody’s Daughter, a nonprofit and awareness campaign based in central PA that seeks to provide support to women in the sex work industry, educate the public about sexual exploitation and the harm of isolating women in the sex work industry. 

Farabaugh’s  performance included entertaining covers, crowd interaction, and even featured a member of the audience joining her in a cover of ‘Shallow’ by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. During her song ‘Mellow Mind,’ she took a little time to teach us the clapping part in the chorus after her dad joined the first time around. Her presence is very easy-going and she truly knows how to entertain and make sure everyone is enjoying themselves. We are glad she was able to make it to The University of Akron RHPB’s 7:17 event on October 16th, and thankful she took the time to allow us to interview her and get to know her. 

Farabaugh was so sweet and bubbly and we really enjoyed getting to know her! Be sure to check out her music on Spotify, Apple Music, & Youtube! She has a new EP coming out in early 2020, so be on the lookout! 

Below is the transcription of our interview:

Danne: “What inspired you to audition for The Voice?”

Olivia: “So, I auditioned for The Voice like three times before I actually got to the blind auditions, and it wasn’t originally how I thought I was gonna get there. The first three times, I went to the open calls, and wait[ed] in those long lines, and I didn’t get anywhere from it. When I first tried out, I was 16. So I got an email for a private audition, and that’s how I got through the next couple rounds and eventually to the blinds. I have always watched the show, and was a fan of the show, so I was like, ‘Why not?’ So it was really out of the blue. I wasn’t planning on auditioning for that season, but heck yeah I’m not gonna pass up a private audition. It was a lot different too cause you had to play an instrument. You had two songs with an instrument, and one song with a backing track, so it was a lot different than an a capella open call.”

Kendall: “Who influences you the most in your music?”

O: “That’s a really great question, cause I feel like I pull my influences and inspiration from so many different places and people. I’ve been super fortunate to have my family be so supportive. We realized that my aunt lives like 20 minutes from [Akron’s] campus, and my dad came along for the drive, so we went and visited her. I’m super lucky in the fact that my family is so supportive. I just got married in May, and my husband is totally awesome, and he’s so supportive. But I have to give credit to my first guitar teacher because I was gonna quit in middle school because I was getting into sports, and I was like ‘I can’t find the time with practicing until late in the evening. He was like ‘I will meet you at 8 o’clock at night, I don’t care, but you can’t quit.’ So I have to give him credit because if I quit in middle school, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now and I absolutely love what I do. I just couldn’t imagine that.”

Danne: “What’s your writing process like?”

O: “My writing process is so random, and it changes for every single song, but that’s the fun of it. A lot of times I’ll go down to Nashville every other month or so, and in those writing rooms the process is a lot different. Half the time you don’t really know the person that well, and you just met at a writers round or something and you have a different style, so you spend a lot of time getting to know each other, but usually from that something comes out, like a song or an idea or whatever. But a lot of times, you’re just sitting there with your notepad and exchanging ideas and whatever floats with the other person. So that’s one way of writing and you just kind of jam out. With this last song that I wrote, it was such an emotional song for me and I just wrote things down, and I ended up with like ten pages of just thoughts. It wasn’t even lyrics, it wasn’t anything, it wasn’t even poetry, it was just like a vent session. And on the one paper, I was reading back through it and I was like ‘That’s the title!’ you know, it’s called ‘Baptized by Fire.’ So I started going through all my notes and started highlighting it and I was like ‘This is the chorus,’ you know. And slowly piece by piece it started to piece together like a puzzle; it was cool. But, it’s so random and different. Sometimes it comes from a melody or sometimes an idea.” 

K: “So our next question is, I guess very similar to ‘most influential person,’ but what’s your favorite music or style to play around with and experiment with? Do you have a certain genre? You said Nashville, so country?”

O: I do love country music, like I grew up listening to Christian and country and like a whole bunch of random mixes of things, but my favorite thing to do cover-wise is to take a pop song and turn it into my own thing. So that’s what I really love doing. For a while, I would do this challenge on a radio station back home, and it was a pop stations, so listeners would pick a song from the station they liked and I would have like a couple days and I would put my spin on it and then I’d come back and play it. So those were some of my most fun songs to sing, but then I love Dolly Parton and Little Big Big Town so it ranges.”

K: “Yeah we were just talking, we heard you, it was probably sound check or mic check or something, uhm you have a lot of rasp in your voice, and we were just commenting on how much we loved that.”

O: Thank you! Some days it’s a lot more raspier than others depending on how much sleep I get. 

K: “Yeah we were just talking about it, it almost sounds like, I don’t wanna say rock, but sort of like that. I like that. 

O: Thank you, It’s fun. It gives me the ability to play around with different stuff which I enjoy.

D: It’s really interesting to listen to.

O: Thank you, I really appreciate that. 

 Kendall Miller

D: So how did you come to work with She’s Somebody's Daughter?

O: So I was actually at church and they came and spoke at the end of the service. I swear I knew the woman talking, like I swear I knew her, and everything she was saying just resonated with me. And I was like I should just go and see how I know her and strike up a conversation and at that point I was still working as a hairstylist at that time and I just knew that there was something that I should be doing... I love doing hair but I just knew there was something else that I just felt like was missing. And so I just went up to them, and at the time I was doing a project called memories to melodies where I interviewed people and wrote a song based on their lives and put it together in this project, And I was just really feeling what she was saying so I just went up and said… ‘If you would ever need anything, I don’t know what I could offer you, but I’m here.’ So she actually spoke to the president of the organization and they got together with me. We wanna do some programs, but it’s really just what the women there need. So I was going to meet up with this one woman who was interested in songwriting and music. She just had a lot going on in her life, so you know it’s all about where God wants you to be at the right time. So that's where I am with them, but it’s been a really great experience working with [She’s Somebody’s Daughter.]

K: “So how long have you been working with them or working alongside them? Was it before The Voice?”

O: No it’s actually, it might be about a year. It hasn’t been that long. The Voice experience...just lit a fire in me. Like you’re back stage and people are doing your makeup and you’re playing with a full band and you’re like ‘Yeah!’ and you go out and you’re feeling the vibes of everyone in the crowd. And I was like this is what I want to do, so after that, I started trying to push for that instead of hairstyling. So it was kind of like a shift from doing The Voice what my passion was really driven from, so I got together with them a few years after that.

K: So we were doing some research on them and it seems like a really cool organization. We just wanted to ask you, for people who don’t know about the nonprofit or people who are not familiar with that area or PA in general, what’s their mission and how can you volunteer? 

O: Right, so if you want to volunteer, they have a website. I am sure they would love that. I feel like its such a prominent thing and PA has one of the highest [rates of sex trafficking,] and I didn’t know that until I started working with them. These women are so amazing, like they will bring car packages into a strip club or wherever but they have to do it in such a conscientious way. And it's super confidential too so women can go in, and no one would even know. 

She’s Somebody’s Daughter Email: [email protected]