Olivia Osby Steps Out of Her Bedroom Pop and Opens the Door to Honesty

Olivia Osby Steps Out of Her Bedroom Pop and Opens the Door to Honesty

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Olivia Osby Steps Out of Her Bedroom Pop and Opens the Door to Honesty

Atlanta’s D.I.Y. sweetheart talks coping with criticism, her band Lowertown, and creating an album in the depths of the Pandemic

Atlanta’s D.I.Y. sweetheart talks coping with criticism, her band Lowertown, and creating an album in the depths of the Pandemic

Photography: PETROS

Styling: Jamie-Maree Shipton

Text: Jessica Romoff

This story appears in the pages of V134: now available to order!

Olivia Osby’s first show was in the sweltering basement of a DIY venue in Atlanta, for a crowd of three people. She bundled herself in a heaping Goodwill jacket and a massive T-shirt, armor meant to conceal her most vulnerable parts. Anxiety stuck in her throat like molasses. Older guys at the venue tried to twist her into a punchline, hoping their ridicule would wash her away. But, with over a million streams for her band Lowertown—formed with her friend Avsha Weinberg—swarms of devout fans, and a record deal with Dirty Hit, all they did was add fuel to Osby’s fire.

Olivia wears dress Miu Miu, Shoes Gucci, bag Abra, Rings, earrings, bracelet Bulgari Tight, necklace stylist ‘s own

Often, all it takes is one sneering remark to make beginners raise the white flag; but even with her tonguetied stage fright, then 16-year-old Osby had an impressively deep threshold for assholes. Her look—if Rapunzel listened to Nirvana and dyed her hair with Manic Panic, gained her a following on Instagram at just 14, so she is no stranger to hate. “Being a woman—people will criticize you for just existing,” she laughs. “So having a biggish following already built me up to understand that people are gonna be intimidated and waste their negative energy on you.”

Dress, cape, bracelet Chanel Pants, neckpiece MM6 Boots Abra Rings, earrings Bulgari

When Osby moved during high school, the first mention she heard of Weinberg was to not hang out with him. But after they were in every-single class together, their bond could not be ignored. With Osby’s lyrics and Weinberg’s multiinstrumentals, they formed Lowertown. After releasing a self-produced album, the pair signed a record deal with Dirty Hit, and Lowertown began to blow up.

Dress, cape, bracelet Chanel Pants, neckpiece MM6 Boots Abra Rings, earrings Bulgari

Then, in 2020, the two flew out to London to record their debut. Yet, the forecast predicted cloudy weather with a chance of global pandemic. So Osby and Weinberg, for the first time, lived on their own while stuck in a different country, in a rundown apartment with shotty Wi-Fi and a lunatic landlord. And from the depths of that isolation came The Gaping Mouth album, which oscillates from their signature lo-fi nostalgic buzz to hushed, stream-of-consciousness honesty. Osby pulls from a place of gritty self-awareness muddled with a yearning for connection.

Olivia wears skirt DSquared, top and jacket Dior, boot Balenciaga, earring and necklace Tiffany and Co.

“My music is made with the intention of expressing how I feel in the most authentic way,” Osby explains. “And a lot of my lyrics are written very spur-of-the-moment when I have an intense thought circling my head and I need to find a way to contextualize it. I hope the people who listen to my music can identify with the emotion or with the thought and just feel like less alone in the world.”

Credits:

MAKEUP CRYSTABEL RILEY (JULIAN WATSON) HAIR KATSUYA KACHI DIGITAL TECHNICIAN JAMES RAWLINGS LIGHTING TECHNICIAN JOHN NEATE

STYLIST ASSISTANTS AVA COFFEN, GRET MATEIDES MAKEUP ASSISTANT SOGOL RAZO HAIR ASSISTANT HONAMI MURASHIMA LOCATION HOLBORN STUDIOS

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