Oli Outside: “Your fans are your team, and your best asset”

I’ve always believed that perspective is everything. You can believe you know something, but be opened to a new perspective that completely shifts your paradigm. That’s a big reason why diversity is so important, you need to be able to see everything from all angles to understand it. If you’re only looking at something from […]

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I’ve always believed that perspective is everything. You can believe you know something, but be opened to a new perspective that completely shifts your paradigm. That’s a big reason why diversity is so important, you need to be able to see everything from all angles to understand it. If you’re only looking at something from one lens, you do not fully understand it.

Ihad the pleasure of interviewing Oli Outside. Indie Pop Punk Artist Oli Outside’s versatility extends beyond his music; he creates everything in house, including his merchandise. With dreams of being a fashion designer, he hopes to channel his unique strengths into multiple creative endeavors. Known for his energetic and captivating live performances, Oli has successfully garnered over 700K streams on Spotify alone. The love for his music motivates fans to create content on platforms like YouTube and Tik Tok. Something about his songs inspires others to bring the music to life; with impressive songwriting credits for artists like Louis The Child and The Plain White T’s, Oli has been organically climbing the ladder of success with a productive and collaborative ethos. Having had to learn the hard way and start over several times in his career, he continues to come back stronger and more creative by doing what he does best: putting the fans first.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Igrew up in the city of Chicago where I went through 7 different school systems before I reached the end of my high school career. I couldn’t really sit still through full days of school and was able to form long lasting friendships because I moved around too much. However, I got really good at meeting new people, so while I didn’t have as many long term friends, I had lots of great people that came in and out of my life. Chicago winters were cold as hell, and in the summer I spent a lot of time living on a couch at my friends music studio, “Pressure Point Recordings” on South Michigan Ave. It was there that I started learning to make music, and was fascinated with everything that goes into creating a song, from the composition and writing to the recording and mixing. I also spent time making clothes for my friends and shooting photos of them in it.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

In Chicago, I started having a lot more success as a fashion designer than I did for my music. I began throwing fashion shows at the clubs in Chicago and they were a huge hit. Over 2 years I sold out almost every club in Chicago, and since my passion was really in music, I started finding ways to perform my songs in the middle of my fashion shows. I even had the models walking to my music, which was not a genre music typically heard in Chicago clubs but it worked. I’m not sure how many music fans I got from this, but I definitely started to solidify myself as a creative force to be reckoned with, especially as the staging of my fashion shows got bigger and better.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Yes. This is sort of confusing but it’s also a pretty amazing story. Before I began my solo project, I befriended a model working for my clothing line that wanted to make music. I suggested that we make a little band, and called I named it outside OUTSIDE. One of my producer friends helped me with mixing and mastering while me and her did most of the songwriting. Because of her large instagram following, we were able to get a record deal and an advance from Warner Brothers records. We recklessly spent the advance on a house in Hollywood and tried to make the project work from scratch. Unfortunately, the label did not think I should be allowed to show my face, and generally had very different ideas about how the music should sound, and how we should market ourselves. Despite the band being created by me, the songs written by me, they wanted me to stay in the shadows. As time went on they started taking more and more creative control. I started making my own project, Oli Outside, while the band was still together because I saw how things were going. It also did not help that the other male in the group wanted his own project and did not like the idea of being in a group. So inevitably we disbanded and all went home — I began working harder than ever on my own project. The experience was great because it showed me that I really wouldn’t be happy unless I could make the music I wanted to make. It also showed me that major labels aren’t really that great. Maybe they can use a budget to get you a lot of plays, but they take the money from those streams anyway, so there’s really nothing they can do that you can’t do yourself. Knowing that has allowed me to build my project according to MY vision, which is really all I ever really wanted.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was starting out I had a small but really good community around me. So for my first show, we spent tons of time hyping it up, preparing, promoting it, and it actually was a huge success. My mistake was assuming that since it went so well the first time, it would automatically be the same result the second time. So I posted about it once on my story, thinking it would just sell out naturally now that I killed my first show. Unfortunately that was not the case and the only person that showed up was my new girlfriend. She missed the first show and I kept telling her how awesome it was and she was so excited.. but we were quite literally the only ones that showed up. It took me a while to have another great show again, but I learned that you get what you put in!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Right now I am most focused on debuting my first album, “Somewhat Human” and rehearsing a “live” show that I can perform on Twitch/IG Live etc. It’s going to be a mix of acoustic and electronic elements that will hopefully show the level of songwriting that goes into my music.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Film and TV are a huge driver in the way young minds are shaped, and therefore need to reflect the way the world really is! More diversity allows for more ideas, more culture, and the product of that is more progress. It also breaks stereotypes and borders by allowing us to celebrate our differences instead of letting them divide us.

I’ve always believed that perspective is everything. You can believe you know something, but be opened to a new perspective that completely shifts your paradigm. That’s a big reason why diversity is so important, you need to be able to see everything from all angles to understand it. If you’re only looking at something from one lens, you do not fully understand it.

Another reason diversity is so important to have diversity in film, television, is to show people the way the world really is, (which is not the way it has been portrayed to us on screen in the past). Understanding how diverse this world is will lead to more people being proud of who they are, which will give them the confidence to lead and to evolve much more.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. No matter how great your first song is, don’t get discouraged when it doesn’t top the charts.

I remember being so disappointed when I dropped my first song and it didn’t get hundreds of thousands of plays. I thought if a song sounded like a hit then it would just naturally end up on major platforms etc. The truth is that you have to build your way up. Each release, or show etc. is a chance for you to get your music to more and more people and it’s a long road until your songs start getting major airtime.

2. Your fans are your team, and your best asset.

To this day, artists that are much “bigger” than me (meaning they have more plays or more followers etc) still look in awe at my project and see the level of passion my fans have. Despite being a small artist with no label, I am still able to sell out of merch, play small shows, and thoroughly enjoy releasing a song because I know there will be people that play it over and over. My relationship with my fans is what drives my projects and releases and even informs what kind of music I make for the future. Without my fans I would have quit by now, so when you see that people are liking your music — start a conversation with them and make sure you are allowing them to be a part of the process. This will lead to them helping you in more ways than you can imagine, including promoting you to their friends.

3. Not everyone’s opinion matters.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually shown my alternative rock and punk trap songs to people who only like house music.. and then been unhappy when they didn’t absolutely love it. It’s important to focus on the people that will love your music and keep giving them what they want. However, it took me some time to learn that there’s no point going around trying to convince people to like a new type of music. You’re much better off just finding more people who already agree with you that your genre is the greatest thing ever. They are out there!

4. Good singing is more about work ethic than it is about talent

When I was younger people used to make fun of my voice and imitate it to each other. I always wanted to sing in the car or in the shower because that’s just who I am, but I would get made fun of for my voice so much that I started to doubt myself. I kept myself quiet at first but over time, I learned that singing is a skill that can be learned. If you practice singing you get better. You learn to hit notes and eventually you can not only sing in key, but sing pretty much any note you want. The only thing stopping people from being a good singer is not trying, and I think it’s important to dispel the myth that you’re either born a singer or you’re not because that is simply not the case.

5. Consistency is key

Sometimes you drop a song, and you don’t hear much about it. Or maybe you do, but you don’t get tons of feedback all at once like you expected. That’s ok! There are people listening in other cities or other countries that are just getting introduced to you and probably loving it! But if it’s the first time they’ve heard you, they probably aren’t gonna run to your Instagram and start telling you how great you are. BUT! If you keep dropping songs, and build more and more of a catalogue that your audience can get lost in, they will start to support you more and more. So keep your head down and keep making music because you never will be able to fully understand the impact you are making. Results take time, be patient and keep working.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I like to make a ton of music when creativity strikes. I might be in the studio every day for two weeks without working on much else at all. But then, I know it’s important to step away and work on other parts of my project. Social media, live shows, even release scheduling are all other parts of the job that can be done while I’m taking a break from the studio and waiting for creativity to strike again. In a way I kind of work in waves, and that really helps me to never burn out. By the time I’m getting back in the studio or on tour again I’m usually craving it.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement it would be to further educate people. There are movements already that focus on the problems with our system, but not enough that focus on educating.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

A quote by Pablo Picasso,

“The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away.”

I’ve spent so much of my life unsure of where I fit in or how to proceed, but when I started making music two things happened. 1. I loved every second of it. 2. I actually started reaching people and helping them live happier and more fulfilling lives. I’ve gotten countless messages saying “You have no idea how much your music has helped me” or “Your music saved me when I was in a very dark place” etc. Once I saw that expressing myself and doing what I love was actually helping people, I knew music was my gift to the world. Now it’s my mission to “give it away” and allow it to help as many people as humanly possible.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Yes! Hi Kanye! I’m a music artist and fashion designer famous in Chicago for throwing fashion shows with my own clothing where I also perform my music. We have so much in common and you are such an inspiration it would be an honor to talk to a my hometown hero!

If he actually responds I’ll definitely send you guys some yeezys lol

How can our readers follow you online?

Please follow my Spotify that helps so much

Check out my Instagram @oli outside

I go live alot to preview my new songs and show what I’m working on.

I also got a million views on my Tik Tok the past week @olioutside

Twitter is new but if anyone’s interested in my late night thoughts it’s @outside_oli

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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