Last updated: 04/13/2011 11:00:00 AM
When I met Olivia, she absolutely knocked me out,"says Clive Davis, the 67-year-old ex-Arista Records president who helped launch the careers of Whitney Houston and Monica. "She has flavor,style,and attitude. "As the first artist signed to Davis's new label, J Records, she's poised to be the next big Ms. Thing. Her soulful, throaty purrs and staccato rhymes reveal an admirably versitile talent. And her debut album, Olivia, brings an X-rated MC's attitude to the romantic tales of an R&B diva. "In my music, there's always a sweet side and a harsh side," the 20-year-old singer says from the Waldorf-Astoria hotel suite that serves as her lable's tempoary home (Davis dosen't do the corporate office thing). "The harsh side comes out when I rap. And the sweet side comes out when I sing."
That is, of course, if you consider crooning lyrics like, "Can you kiss below the border while I run the camcorder," to be the epitome of sweetness. Indeed, most of her lyrics are more saucy Lil' Kim than demure Aaliyah. "You had other bitches in my car/...nigga, you ain't knowing you was fucking with a star," she asserts on "Silly Bitch In Love." And on "Bizounce," the album's pig-latin-nodding, slow burning first single, she boasts of smoking indo in a Benzo and flips off a former love with a terse, "Nigga, fuck you."
But don't think that the singer/rapper, who spent much of her childhood in Kingston, Jamaica, before moving to Queens, New York, at the age of 7, is some thugged-out gangsta girl, In real life, Olivia Longe is a former straight A Hofstra University student who still lives at home. Her mother, who has yet to hear Olivia's more explicit tunes, made her attent college at a nearby Hofstra instead of Manhattan or farther away. And this sheltered homegirl also freely admits she hasn't experienced most of what she signs and raps about.
Even more surprising, the potty-mouth performer is named after that beacon white-bread blandness Olivia Newton-John, whose naughtiest moment was the realativerly chaste '80s hit "Physical," "Of course, what I'm doing is far from what she did," Olivia explains of her namesake. "But times change."