New Classical Tracks: The OK Factor plays music from the heart in new lullaby album
The OK Factor – Love, the OK Factor: Lullabies and Love Songs
Cellist Olivia Diercks and violinist Karla Colahan are The OK Factor. Their fourth recording has just been released, and it features cover songs, and original arrangements for parents and their little ones. It's called Love, The OK Factor: Lullabies and Love Songs.
Olivia says the idea to do this recording came directly from their fans.
(Olivia) "We have a lot of young parents who are listeners and fans of our music, and they shared with us that their kids really love our music and specifically that it puts them to sleep, which initially we didn't know whether to be really excited about that or kind of bummed, but we decided to just sort of take that and run with it."
(Karla) "There are a couple of other things too. We've started a collaboration with singer songwriter Ellis Delaney involving just very casual co-writing sessions, which is new for us. We don't write lyrics often, if ever, and it's been really great to work with a very seasoned songwriter on crafting songs with lyrics.
"I was expecting a baby niece to be born – she was born January 13th, 2018 – and I wanted to make sure that I had something for her just to sort of mark her first year on this planet. So, before she was born, we sat down with Ellis and one of our writing sessions knocked out this little lullaby tune. So Ellis is on the album with us singing 'No One Like You,' which is for my niece, Caroline Joy."
(Olivia) "'Love baby love. The world needs love. It needs your love.' I just love that sentiment. And I am expecting a baby in May, so that song has become even more meaningful to me."
Olivia, since you found out you're expecting, did that impact this recording in any other ways like in terms of the choice of repertoire or anything?
"I would say the one choice we made in terms of tunes to include would be 'Calico Skies,' by Paul McCartney. The chorus is 'I'll hold you for as long as you'd like. I'll love you for the rest of my life.'"
Tell me how the ukulele has now become part of The OK Factor sound.
(Karla) "For 'Calico Skies,' when we started arranging it, I was strumming on my violin and just didn't quite sound right. We toyed around with getting another ukulele, maybe a tenor, another soprano, and tried a baritone and brought it in for this tune and it just works really well with the cello."
On this recording it's also the first time that we've heard piano on one of your recordings. Karla, do you want to talk about that?
"There's a track on there called 'January Lullaby.' It features piano and cello and violin.The piano tune was separate from this recording. I wrote that in college. As we were bringing ideas for the lullaby album, I had this one and a couple other just random piano tunes that I had written. I brought them to Olivia and thought, 'Out of these few, which do you think might work really well?' And she picked this one and thought that the Brahms lullaby, the cradle song, would fit really nicely on top of it."
As you were putting this recording together, did you learn anything about yourselves that was different from your previous recordings?
(Olivia) "This project was so different because, instead of letting those things – little, little things – eat you alive, you end up embracing it as part of a larger whole. I think it makes it more meaningful. It makes it more human and more fun."
To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.