Italian pianist and composer Olivia Belli first came on my radar when my dear friend (and a wonderful pianist!) Fabrizio Paterlini released her album MATER on his very own Memory Recordings about a year ago. I was also particularly impressed with Belli’s covers of Max Richter: Piano Works, which she released in 2017. Today I am excited to make two announcements. First, the birth of a brand new label, XXIM (pronounced “twenty-one M”), launched by Sony Music (yes, the Sony Music), promising to become a home for “innovative, progressive instrumental music, exploring the sounds of neo-classic, post-rock, electronic, ambient and more…” – a newcomer to thrive alongside contemporary electronic majors such as Mute, Deutsche Grammophon, and Decca. The label’s creative output will be overseen by Alexander Buhr, who has previously founded the post-classical Mercury KX (so you can draw the appropriate conclusions). And second, the signing of Olivia Belli to the said XXIM as one of the artists (I also see Hugar, Uéle Lamore, Stimming x Lambert on the roster). Mmm. Very interesting, and very exciting! But back to the music! Olivia’s debut for the label Sol Novo is scheduled to be released in September of this year, but we’ve got this gorgeous teaser single with an exclusive video premiere which I am honoured to host for you today!
As a recording artist and pianist myself, I know all too much what it’s like to get lost and drowned out by the constant soft and the muted roar of the quiet piano music. Take a look at some of Spotify’s trending piano-themed playlists, and you will be overwhelmed with the many “composers” who jumped on the bandwagon in an attempt to copy and imitate this “style”… very poorly… shamelessly, indeed… What’s missing from these pieces is their “soul”. That individual core being that’s worn out on a sleeve and shared with you in trepidation. And that’s exactly what you hear (and see) when Belli feels the keys. Unmanufactured and unforced, the music pours out from her hands into the instrument that shares, reveals, and sympathizes with her story. Perhaps it’s why so many followers (myself included) connected with these gorgeous tunes – it’s simply more than just the notes… it is the essence of the music!
My music reflects what I observe every day, finding my place in the world every day. And I hope that’s how it might help other people too – to carry them through the day and to help them find their place in it, where they feel safe.
— Olivia Belli
It’s true that there is comfort in my pieces, maybe even refuge – but I can’t ignore the melancholic side too. It’s all part of it… My overall aim is to keep the light in the melodies… perhaps it is because I am Italian – for me, the sun is always a major factor, also in my music…
There’s a lot more that I want to say about Belli’s music. In cases such as these, it clearly whispers for itself. The only thing you have to do is close your eyes and listen. To hear the full album, you’ll have to wait a few months more (don’t worry, time flies fast!), and I am nevertheless, once again, excited about this monumental development in the world of contemporary and instantly classic music. See you in September, when, I’m sure, we’ll hear from Olivia again!