Back home in Huntington Beach, California, Olivia Ooms is busy with homework. Now in her first year of college, the 18-year-old singer and songwriter is trying to immerse herself in the new norm of virtual learning, all while balancing between songwriting with the release of “Hideaway.” The first in a collection of songs that Ooms started writing throughout the past year, “Hideaway” finds the artist coming to terms with life’s trials and errors, accepting its often repetitious cycle in order to progress and grow.
“I’ve become less naive as I’ve grown up,” shares Ooms. “There’s so much that I have to learn as I grow even more, but I’ve had a lot more experiences in my life. I’ve failed a lot more, and I’ve had some successes. My lyrics are becoming more mature, and I’m not trying to necessarily fit into one specific category. I’m just doing whatever feels right for me.”
Co-written with friend Gabby Neeley in January of 2020, “Hideaway” was later recorded in July of 2020 with producer Jamie O’Neal, who also worked on Ooms’ earlier singles “Baggage” and “California Country” and provides backing harmony on “Hideaway.”
The art of letting go of things one can’t control is a lesson that’s hard to learn, and “Hideaway” finds Ooms more deliberate in her storytelling, crooning What’s a girl gotta do to get right / I’ve tried my best so many times… Keep our head down, gotta stay on track / If no one else does, you got your back.
“It’s about me finally understanding that there are things in life that I can’t control,” shares Ooms. “Whatever is meant to be in my life is going to happen, and everything is going to work out.”
Captivating and slowed down, the country- and jazz-fused “Hideaway” reveals a more perceptive and developed artist walking in a slightly different direction from her 2018 debut Thoughts of You.
“I feel like my whole life set me up to write the song,” says Ooms. “I’ve tried so many things in my life and I failed—and then I try something else and fail again. I feel like everyone kind of experiences that trial and error, but the song was about me finally realizing that all I can do is put my best foot forward and try my hardest, and at the end of the day, if it doesn’t work out, I know that I did my best.”
In the two years since ”Thoughts of You” landed Ooms on CMT’s Artist Discovery Program and a spot on CMA’s Spotlight Stage, she’s still moving through her musical journey and is more concerned with exploring what she wants to say in her lyrics than releasing a new EP or album.
“I don’t really try to hide anything,” says Ooms. “Songwriting is all about being vulnerable, and I feel like people connect the most when they hear someone else being vulnerable. They feel a special connection to that.”
Only a year has passed since she wrote “Hideaway,” yet it’s taken on even deeper meaning in a time of isolation and major upheavals in many people’s lives.
“I feel like it’s really prominent right now with everything going on,” says Ooms. “There’s so much in our world that we have no control over us, so put our best foot forward and do what we can to make the best out of our own situation.”