When did Olivia start singing? From a very early age, she was thinking up songs in the back of her family’s car and making the journey ‘very interesting’ for her big sister Rebecca.
Olivia’s late father was a professional rock drummer and had a great influence in the music she still listens to today. In fact, it was her father who recognised her talent and encouraged her to sing.
Whilst her contemporaries were out clubbing, she’d be sitting in the back of a van, accompanying him to gigs in the hope she could sing a couple of songs. Indeed, at the tender age of thirteen she was guesting with a number of York bands, and shortly afterwards, began performing to backing tracks. This gave her the hunger to form her own band, and it came into fruition when Olivia was sixteen.
Olivia chose to defer her place at York Uni to study Linguistics, and worked with the songwriter JonJohansson, who spent time in America collaborating with the likes of Bonnie Raitt and the Eagles. In the meantime…One evening, Bryan heard Olivia sing on stage and asked her to perform backing vocals for the ‘Storms Over Still Waters’ album launch at the Astoria. After that, it was her pleasure to perform BVs on a regular basis.
During this time also, Iain Jennings was searching for a vocalist for his solo project, which eventually evolved into the band Breathing Space. Olivia made two albums with Breathing Space – ‘Coming Up For Air’ and ‘Below The Radar’ and frequently performed with them throughout the UK and into Europe.
Tragedy struck the Sparnenn family in 2008, when Olivia’s father was diagnosed with a Brain Tumour. She admits it was a struggle to keep singing, but states of this time, ’’My father would have been furious if I’d cancelled any gigs.’’ These events inspired Bryan’s composition of ‘Tearing at the Faerytale’ (Glass Shadows album) and Olivia’s collaboration with Iain Jennings entitled ‘Questioning Eyes’. This particular song was awarded ‘Track of the Year’ at the Classic Rock Society Awards in 2010.
In 2010, Olivia accepted Bryan’s offer to take over from Heather Findlay as the lead vocalist in Mostly Autumn. On a personal level, Olivia married Bryan Josh in 2013, and they have a daughter, Autumn. Olivia has received a number of awards over the years, but for her, performing live and feeling the emotional connection with fans, is the best part of being a member of the band.