15 Minutes With Olivia: Life After G-Unit
Olivia wants everyone to know that she's more than just a pretty girl. Signed to J Records in 2001, her self-titled debut, which birthed the hit "Bizounce", was one of the hottest records of the year. Professional differences led to her split with J Records and move to Interscope, which brought along with it a new, yet brief, chapter in her career with G-Unit. Not only was she 50's leading lady, she was also the only R&B artist in a group full of rappers, making it tough for her to be marketed fittingly.
Leaving the group was the best move for her career, although rumors have been flaring that there was more behind the sudden departure. In a 15-minute conversation, BallerStatus fired off some questions to find out why her time with the guys wasn't working out, her new label home and upcoming album and why she doesn't follow the trends.
BallerStatus.com: When your relationship dissolved with J Records, you found your way over to Interscope and G-Unit. At the time did you think a fair shot would be given to an R&B artist?
Olivia: I got to Interscope at 2003, so it was right after J Records. Then I signed with G-Unit 2003/04. It definitely was a political move, but it was something just to get me to the next plateau. So, I figured why not do it? 50 Cent was one of the hottest rappers at the time, so this might be a good thing. After sitting back and watching, we had no R&B presence at the label, so he was basically doing everything himself. He really didn't know how to market an R&B artist because every artist there was all rappers. It was very new to him. He tried his best, but it just wasn't working out. So I asked to leave and that's what happened, amongst all the rumors that you heard.
BallerStatus.com: Did you consider your affiliation with Interscope/G-Unit a stepping stone to move on to other things?
Olivia: I don't regret any of the things I did and I feel like I needed to do those moves to get where I'm at now ... to be back and have the focus be back on myself. Doing what I want to do and being able to sing the music that I wanna sing, so I think every step was necessary to be where I'm at.
BallerStatus.com: What have you been up to since your absence from the public eye? I read that you started dabbling in acting.
Olivia: I've been overseas touring for the last two years and I did two movies last year also. One is called Peephole and the other one is Conspiracy X, so I have been working a lot. You just haven't seen me in New York (laughs). Now I'm trying to be more visible in New York and let everybody know that I'm back doing what I do.
BallerStatus: What roles do you play in each movie?
Olivia: The first movie, Peephole, I actually play an aunt. It's about a child who sees his mom get murdered in front of his house. It's called Peephole because he lives his life not wanting to come out the house anymore. Towards the end of the movie, he has to make a choice whether to come outside or not when he sees something happen. The scene that I'm in I have to be really sensitive, caring and dramatic, so it was a different type of emotion for me to play on camera. Then [Conspiracy X], Shawn Baker directed that one and Kellita Smith was in that one. She played the wife on "The Bernie Mac Show." She plays the judge in the movie and I play the girlfriend of the lead character. He gets let out of jail and somebody tries to pin something on him, that's why its called Conspiracy X . It's a really really good movie.
BallerStatus.com: They sound pretty good congratulations on that.
Olivia: Thank you very much.
BallerStatus: Was it an easy transition going from singing to acting?
Olivia: For me I think so because I'm generally an entertaining person and like being in front of cameras. So my acting coach said it comes off naturally for me. She always sends me different scripts and makes me read for certain things that would be good for my character.
BallerStatus.com: How did you connect with your new manager Rich Dollaz?
Olivia: We met through a mutual friend who called me one day and said I have the perfect person for you. He explained who Rich was and we had our meeting the next day. Rich and I from there everything has been great. He works just like how I do and that's what I love. I don't sleep, he don't sleep. We wanna win, we're winners. We don't know what the word "loser" is. That's why we work together so well.
BallerStatus.com: Now you have a new label home and new material coming out in April. How did your move to Universal come about?
Olivia: We went and sat with a lot of different labels, but it just felt like home.
BallerStatus.com: Tell me about the new album. Why did you choose the name Show The World?
Olivia: That's actually one of my favorite tracks on the album and it talks about what happened in the past and in the music industry period. That's why I called it Show The World. I have great production on there from Missy Elliott to Ne-Yo, Bryan Michael Cox, Rockwilder, etc. I talk about a lot of love and sensuality and stuff like that because those are the things that I know. I don't really want to speak about heartbreak because I just never really experienced those.
BallerStatus.com: Is this album any different from your previous work or can we expect to see a new Olivia?
Olivia: Oh definitely, a lot different. You couldn't get to know me period when I was at J Records because I was just starting and everybody was trying to give me a direction that they wanted me to do. And the other label, I just had to conform to being around a bunch of rappers, so you definitely couldn't get to know me then either. I had to be able to fit in with them. So nobody really knows what the real Olivia is, but now you'll be able to tell when you hear the album.
BallerStatus.com: The first single is "Take It Off". Did you intend for it to be the first single or was it leaked?
Olivia: We actually did not intend for it to be the first single, we don't know how it leaked. But either way, it worked out great. The play has been wonderful and the responses have been great and everybody's loving it. So it's a good thing that it was leaked.
BallerStatus.com: Was the album close to being completed at that time or did the single's release 'cause you to put a rush on the album?
Olivia: No my album was done. I work ahead of time, I don't play when it comes to my music. The album was already done.
BallerStatus.com: What's the main misconception you feel people have about you?
Olivia: That I'm just a pretty girl. That's all Olivia is she just got on because she's pretty. Well if you come to a show you'll realize why.
BallerStatus.com: I see you switched up your style recently, what inspired the cut?
Olivia: Oh girl, that was a wig I am not cutting my hair.
BallerStatus.com: I thought that was the case. I was wondering if she really cut her hair!?
Olivia: Definitely did not cut my hair, we would do wigs all day. I will cry when I wake up and try to do my hair in a ponytail and I look like one of them lil girls that got them things sticking out the back of their head (laughs).
BallerStatus.com: So we won't be seeing you with a shaven head or shaved on the sides?
Olivia: No I'm not down with the trends (laughs).
BallerStatus.com: Ok, the last few questions I have, I'm just gonna mention a word, name or phrase and you give me a one word answer: G-Unit.
BallerStatus.com: Show The World.
BallerStatus: What makes Olivia happy.