Angel Olsen on Her New Album and Singing Out Against Donald Trump
By now you've probably heard of Angel Olsen, the St. Louis-born indie folk singer who burst onto the mainstream music scene with last year's My Woman, hailed as one of the best albums of 2016 by the likes of Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, and Rolling Stone. Chalk it up to her seductive croon, reminiscent of Patsy Cline and Stevie Nicks, with country-meets-bohemian personal style to match. Ahead of her new release, Phases, a collection of unheard and unreleased tracks, out today, Olsen discussed Donald Trump, walkable shoes, and the Olsen twins.
How are you feeling about the new album?
Really good. I think, for newer fans, it's a window into my different writing styles up until My Woman. There are a lot of old demos on there, some of which have never been heard before.
Like "Fly On Your Wall", which was featured on the anti-Trump compilation Our First 100 Days.
Yeah. We were all feeling very upset about stuff then, so it was a good time to come out with something hopeful to try and turn it around. I feel like we're on the verge of losing our rights as women to check up on our own bodies and be in charge of our own bodies. That's something that we have to be aware of and speak out about as artists, just as any person in any position of power.
I read that you don't read music. How does that work?
I listen by ear. It used to drive my piano teacher crazy because I would never turn the pages in the middle of recitals, and she knew I wasn't reading the music. It's a weird skill.
VIDEO: Watch Angel Olsen's Music Video for "Special"
Who are your favorite designers?
I've been working with my friend Bailey Raynor on designing dresses and rompers for my tour. We've been referencing a lot of things from the '30s and '50s and making them look modern, like prom dresses with pencil skirts instead of circle skirts. I also wear a lot of Samantha Pleet, and I love Sam Edelman mary janes and Jeffrey Campbell platforms. They're both very easy to wear on stage.
You've directed several of your own music videos. Is that something you want to pursue further?
Definitely. I'd love to direct something that's not my own image. I love how the editor gets to be an outsider, see the material with a fresh perspective.
Do you ever get mistaken for an Olsen twin?
Uh-uh, no. People used to joke about it a lot in the beginning. It's funny to me. There's always something that you can make fun of in a name, but the truth is that I'm not in any way related to the Olsens. I'm actually adopted. I forget that we share a last name!