Listen to Olivia Dean’s album inspiration playlist
Welcome back to Selections, a series of artist-curated playlists from those in the know.
To say that Olivia Dean is having a moment doesn’t quite do the 24-year-old singer-songwriter justice.
Born and raised in London, where she studied at the storied BRIT school, Dean broke through with 2021’s Growth EP – a five-track project that combined earnest, tender storytelling, emotive soul-pop and themes like personal growth, self-love and vulnerability, plus her sublime voice.
In interviews surrounding the release, Dean spoke of her desire to play out on some of the world’s biggest stages and festivals. She ticked off one of these bucket list dreams just last month, when she took to Glastonbury Festival for not one, but three performances on stages like the Rabbit Hole and Silver Hayes’ Lonely Hearts Club much to the delight of her growing legion of fans – among them festival headliner Elton John, who recently called her “a big star”. Big words indeed.
On her latest release, a shiny new debut album entitled Messy, Dean invites us back into her fast-moving interior world across 12 gorgeous tracks that freewheel between the carefree and the contemplative; lively and languid. Dean guides us further in, still, for the Selections series, as she curates – in her own words – a playlist featuring “some of my favourite songs by some of my all-time favourite artists that helped inspire the sound of the record” ahead of an upcoming show at Montreux Jazz Festival, where she’s billed alongside the likes of Bob Dylan, Lil Nas X and Wet Leg. This one, we reckon, could double as an excellent travel playlist.
Olivia Dean plays Montreux Jazz Festival, Geneva, on 13 July alongside Gabriels and Loyle Carner. Her debut album Messy is out now via EMI Records