Olivia O’Brien at Cannery Ballroom in Nashville, TN

Olivia O'Brien @ Cannery Ballroom, Nashville | Photo By Gary Johnson

Singer-songwriter Olivia O’Brien brings pop to the “Home of Country Music” as she continues her very first headlining tour.

As the winter begins to fade into spring, we’ve been seeing more clear skies and warm weather here in Music City, U.S.A. And what better way to start the week than with beautiful spring weather and a concert with friends.

Only 20 years old and Olivia O’Brien is already becoming a popular icon. She rose to fame in 2016 with her collaboration with Gnash on “I Hate U, I Love U.” It became number 10 on the Billboard Top 100, which led to a recording contract with Island Records. Followed by several singles and EPs, O’Brien released her debut album Was It Even Real? in April 2019, along with EP The Results of My Poor Judgement in February 2020.

At the end of February, Olivia O’Brien’s It Was a Sad F***ing Tour kicked off, this time with pop-rock band Hey Violet and R&B artist Drumaq. The tour launched in California and O’Brien arrived in Nashville two weeks later with Hey Violet.

The room was almost completely full, packed with fans who revered both performers. The crowd went wild as soon as Hey Violet walked on stage. They opened with crowd favorite “Break My Heart” and fans enthusiastically sang along with lead vocalist, Rena Lovelis. If there was ever an opener that fans adored just as much as the headliner, this was it. They continued their set with popular songs “Clean” and “Better by Myself.” Even if you didn’t know them, it was hard not to jump along to the beat that drummer Nia Lovelis played. Afterward, they welcomed everyone to the show. They expressed that they love Nashville so much, Casey Moreta, the band’s guitarist, had his 21st birthday here. Instantly, the room was filled with joyful cheers.

It was almost impossible not to be mesmerized watching Hey Violet perform. The way Rena Lovelis interacted with Casey Moreta and bassist Vicky Warwick just made you want to sing and dance more. They even had their own choreography during “Brand New Moves.” They debuted new songs “She” and “Party Girl” and fans lost their minds. Hey Violet ended their set with their most streamed song “Guys My Age.” Not even five seconds in and the crowd was shouting with excitement. They sang every word and jumped along to the music.

Within minutes, the stage was changed and the lights dimmed as screams filled the venue. Olivia O’Brien began her set with a video, followed by recently released song “Sad Songs in the Summer.” One of the reasons followers love O’Brien so much is because her songs are laced with honesty and vulnerability, making them extremely relatable. Whether she’s writing about consciously making bad decisions in “Inhibition (omw)” or saying that we can all be “Sad Together,” she has always been authentic. The crowd faithfully sang all of the lyrics and you knew they could relate.

Towards the middle of the set, a keyboard was brought out as the drummer and keyboardist left the stage to let O’Brien sing “I Hate U, I Love U” solo. The crowd sang along as they recorded the performance on their phones. She continued with several songs, some of which included “What Are We,” “We Lied to Each Other,” and “RIP.” She ended her set with everyone’s favorite declaration “Love Myself.” Afterward, they walked off stage, but it wasn’t long before the crowd began begging for more. The three-man band returned and performed “Just Friends,” a cover of Miley Cyrus’ “See You Again,” and “Josslyn.”

O’Brien also announced that all proceeds received from her merchandise would be contributed to tornado relief efforts.

Olivia O’Brien’s tour will continue through the end of the month. If you haven’t got your ticket yet, you’ll definitely want to do so before they sell out. We are looking forward to seeing her again here in Music City.

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About Gary Johnson 12 Articles
Gary is a portrait and music photographer based in Nashville, TN. His love for music began at an early age, so much so that he got his degree in Music Business. But along the way, he fell in love with photography–capturing the intimate moments in our lives.