Perfection is the perpetual pursuit of most driven humans. The quest for perfect lives, perfect relationships, perfected talents, flawless deliveries & victories of the greatest & highest orders of achievement are the lofty quests for nearly unattainable excellence & universal adoration that keep the most wild-eyed hearts wide awake in the glow of the midnight hour. When faced with prospects of imperfection and/or anything less than the desired mark of precision; flight or fight thoughts soar overhead with desires for better days, greater bonds, with intuitive aches & pangs of connections that cannot be described (let alone made).
Exemplifying this enigma & more through a sophisticated pop aesthetic is Australian American artist Foster Olson who expresses these aforementioned feelings & more on her Foster Me EP. With an unabashed love for jazz icons & greats like Billie Holliday & more; Olson draws upon her New School background in cinema & music to express real life hardships through the macroscopic lens of sound. “Over Me” came about at a really hard time in my life,” she confided to us, revealing the more painful underlying inspirations, “My dad was diagnosed with cancer and my boyfriend at the time had just moved in with me when I realized he wasn’t the right fit for me. And then I met this other guy who was so perfect for me, but I didn’t know how to get out of the relationship I was currently in.“ Foster Olson exhibits the actualized state of being when everything feels impossible around you—the state of things being far beyond the bounds of control or reason when the best things feel way over your head like the potential rescue plane that fails to see the S.O.S. flares from the wreckage down below. Or in Olson’s own words; “Over Me” is really about believing the perfect person might be hanging over you somewhere.”
Featuring the world premiere for Foster Olson’s “Over Me”, illustrations of dreams turned reality are heard fading in real time to the cold asphalt awakenings that do not escape the gravity-bound pull of inertia—inherent of the human condition. Emotion is told through Foster’s own untouched & rich delivery full of expressive tones that controls all sparse aspects of percussion & the melodic & moody instrumental components that are hinged upon every one of Olson’s lyrical hooks. “Over Me” dives head first into the complicated arrays of codependent connotations that observes the messy array of chords & wires that comprise the technical components of relationships that deals with sentiments of unrest & what happens when two live-in lovers realize the unrequited lack of feelings & understandings between the two involved parties. The real heel turn of the track begins at the two minutes & ten seconds section of the track where Foster reveals, “Now I’m starting to fall, and you don’t know me at all,” that sends the song fluttering out into the spaces of the unknown where that reckoning of what comes next once two hearts realized the state of their disconnect. Foster Olson elaborates on the new single & more in our exclusive & candid interview featured right after the following debut listen.
Describe what brought you to discover your own creative voice.
I grew up listening to jazz—mostly Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker, Nina Simone and Frank Sinatra. When you get hooked at five, you tend to put your favorites on repeat over and over and over. I recorded a cover of Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” at 13 because my grandmother wanted me to, so…of course I did it. I didn’t go to an arts high school, but I studied classical piano for 11 years and sometimes my teacher, who is an amazing and formidable Russian woman, let me try some jazz pieces. I was lucky to be one of the vocalists accepted to The New School’s Jazz and Contemporary Music Program. As wonderful as this experience was, it also confirmed for me that I have more in me than jazz. So after I graduated I took a break from jazz and just started writing my own songs, exploring different sounds and eventually I found my groove.
From all the adversity & complications going on in your world—tell us about the catharsis & release found with the making of “Over Me”.
Yeah, the world is nuts right now. I think we are all in a state of shock. Any sort of artistic release feels cathartic in moments of turmoil. Some of the best art has come out of civil unrest. When you turn on the TV and it’s all bad news, you open your computer and it’s all bad news, you talk to your friends and it’s all bad news, the piano is a pretty safe place to be. We can’t take our democracy for granted and there’s definitely a role of the artists to play.
How did your experience at New York’s New School also expand your vision?
I got a double degree at The New School in Jazz and Filmmaking. Jazz was a great foundation for writing music. I was surrounded by such talented musicians and artists; there was creation everywhere you turned. It was very inspiring. When I got to The New School I was very green in terms of writing out charts and performing live so I was quickly thrown into the deep end with a lot of talented musicians. And while it was scary, it was also exhilarating. The same goes for my film degree. The film program at The New School is relatively small and not necessarily based on creating narrative, linear films. So the projects students presented were always blurring the lines between fiction and reality as well as crossing different art genres as well—similar to what I was exploring on my own with my music. One great thing about The New School is that you would get photographers in your music class and dance majors in your film class. I was continually exposed to and influenced by a lot of fantastic artists. I think most artists are taking in stimuli and artistic expression in many forms and many media and absorbing it. Right now I’m reading a lot of African American authors—James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison—it seems like the right time. They will influence me, resound in me, swirl around with all the injustices I feel and come out someway and somehow.
What can we expect from current works in progress?
Right now I’m about to get back in the studio to work on an album. I love the fusion of different music genres so I’ll play with that more on the next tunes, work some more elements of funk and blues in there. I also just finished co-directing my debut film starring Dylan Minnette so I’m in the midst of editing that as well.
Other artists you want to give a shout out to?
Other than my love Frank Sinatra, I would say Amy Winehouse. She really inspired me to maintain my jazz roots but to expand into other genres as well. She hooked me with her album Frank. I would also say Bishop Briggs I love her dark pop sound as well as the resounding authenticity of Jacob Banks.