“Really outstanding” – Bob Boilen, NPR Music
SEATTLE (January 16, 2023) – Seattle indie folk musician, Ollella, announces the release of her debut album “Back Back Back” on April 7. A courage of conviction, Ollella’s lyrics explore triumph amid adversity, while innovative instrumentals push the boundaries of the conventional.
The title “Back Back Back” refers to the process Ollella went through to find permission within herself to pursue music full-heartedly as a solo artist after working in the climate change field. Previously, she had worked at a research institute that gave her flexibility to perform with her band on weekends, but her gut was left unsettled. “Being a full-time musician was something I had always wanted to do but felt too scared to pursue. Coming from an office job working in climate change, it felt selfish. Too risky. Not ‘impressive’ enough. But I came to realize that it’s where I feel like I can do the best work; where I can contribute the most in our rapidly-changing world.” Her pivot towards music was a slow, sometimes painful, peeling back of layers in her life to find the core of who she is and wants to be, rather than who she should be or what she should do.
1.29 – Here-After at the Crocodile, Seattle WA
1.30 – Tractor Tavern, Seattle WA
2.11 – Steve’s Guitars, Carbondale CO
5.6 – Trinity Church, Seattle WA
Praise For Ollella
“So tastefully done” – Michelle Zauner AKA Japanese Breakfast (Grammy nominee, NYTimes bestselling author of Crying in H Mart)
“Powerful” – Bill McKibben, Gandhi Peace Award Winner & leader of 350.org
“I’ve always known [Ollella] to be an exceptional cello player, but the songwriting – wow”
– Cody Lee , 88.3 KDNK Music Director
“Wow. Woof! You have one of those voices that I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ll go anywhere with this person’”
– Philip Greenlief, internationally acclaimed saxophonist and composer
After collaborating with other musicians her whole life as a cellist and vocalist, Ollella announced her new solo project in February 2020. A mere two weeks following her first performance, the COVID-19 pandemic locked everyone inside. This is her first full-length release, a product of much work crafting and honing her genre-bending sound.
“Head in the Clouds,” the first single on the album, reflects the album’s theme of listening to one’s gut despite messaging that may tell you otherwise. The song serves as a call to action for others to do the same. The heart of the record, “Tea Kettle Tea,” commemorates a very close aunt who died of cancer when Ollella was 11, who was her first music teacher and inspiration. “Methuselah” draws on Ollella’s background in climate science.
Accompanying Ollella (cello, vocals, tenor guitar) on the album is Jordan Cunningham (Rogue Wave, Delta Spirit, Tom Waits) as producer, Emily Silks (they/them) on percussion, and Forrest Marowitz (he/him) on bass and some guitar. Cunningham (he/him) played all other instruments on the album, including (but not limited to) electric guitar, slide guitar, sonic textures, and organ.
“Back Back Back” Track Listing
- Back Back Back
- Head In The Clouds
- Test Of Time
- Tea Kettle Tea
- Don’t Lie
- Can I Tell You?
- Knew It All Along
Ollella’s career as a musician started early when she sang before she could talk. Trained as a classical cellist since the age of nine, the Seattle indie-folk musician merges her technical background with authoritative vocals, live-looping, and improvisation. Described as “really outstanding” by NPR Music’s Bob Boilen and “so tastefully done” by Michelle Zauner (AKA Japanese Breakfast), Ollella blends the acoustic with the contemporary, folk with pop, and tenacity with softness, pulling on influences such as Feist, Cat Power, and Jesca Hoop. Her playing has been featured in films screened at Film Festivals such as Sundance and Aspen Film Fest, on recordings with others, including Grammy-winning artist Peter Kater, and has shared the stage with popular Americana acts such as the Shook Twins and Rising Appalachia. She finds herself drawn to music because it unlocks a particularly organic flavor of humanity – one that fits the type of world she believes in.