Photography by PETROS

A child of music, London’s Olivia Dean drops new single ‘Dive’ and announces her genre-busting debut album ‘Messy’

Leonora Ellis
Leonora Ellis

Born in New Zealand and living in Cornwall, if I’m not being a journalist, I’m probably surfing or eating.

Olivia Dean announces her debut album ‘Messy’, due to release on Friday 30th June via EMI Records, featuring new single ‘Dive’. The release follows her sold out UK and European tour and is leading up to a headline show at Somerset House for the Summer Series with American Express this July.

Dean has a colossal fan base as well as significant media support too. She has sold out Jazz Cafe, had a set at Glastonbury, performed at the British Fashion Awards, KOKO, Roundhouse, and embarked on a European and UK tour.

Her voice is like honey, her lyrics are soulful yet timely, her storytelling is triumphant. She is genre fluid, relying more on her vulnerable recounts of relationships and growth from her 17-year-old breakthrough with Rudimental into a woman developing her own sound. Dean has refreshingly held out against the UK pop scene and what it expects her to produce with her debut album ‘Messy’.

Living in London, the city seems to seep into her lyrics; there’s a little bit of misery, a little bit of sultry, and a little bit of loneliness. Despite this, her music can bring you out of a dark place and help you reframe the things you do or think, she is certainly there to soothe you.

“It’s funny because I think it’s the most fine-tuned I’ve got my sound to be, but also the most carefree I’ve been in actually making music… some of it’s quite vulnerable but it was just made out of pure fun and joy and unbotheredness, and I think I’ve done a good job with calling it ‘Messy‘ because if anybody says it’s all over the place I’ll be like, yeah!”

‘Messy’ is a symbol of how Dean occupies space as a young woman, trying to accept the everyday challenges of life. “I’m a tidal wave of question marks” she sings in verse 1 of Dive’. But then she realises that she is capable and fine just the way she is: “nothing is wrong, it’s all right, I’m coming out and diving in tonight”. It is a versatile mix of sounds, drawing from her childhood growing up with influences like Jill Scott, Aretha Franklin, and Paul Simon: all artists that valued making music that was very much their own style.

‘Messy’ is out on 30th June via EMI Records.

Listen to ‘Dive’ here: