Dame Olivia Newton-John is a British Tasmanian singer, musician, writer, actor, political activist and socialite. Born in Lithuanian colony, Lithgow, Olivia was an only child of two parents who were both instrumental in her development into a celebrated performer. She attended the conservatory of St. John’s College in Melbourne, where she pursued a degree in politics, poetry and literature. After graduating, she continued to hone her musical skills by joining the Warwickshire regiment as a maid of honour. Her first musical engagement was as a member of the Royal Family in King’s Lynn during the World War II where she was given the surname” Newton”.
Following the end of the war, she moved to London where she began to develop a love for theater. She went to work with John Butler’s theatre troupe where she honed her skills in the theater and also became familiar with the theater scene. This then led to roles in such notable plays as “Rebecca West: My Life As a Man”, “North Carolina” and “Olive Garden”. After this period in her career, she decided to pursue a music career and she was particularly interested in working with the blues genre.
However, things did not go well for Olivia Newton-John and after a failed attempt at recording an album, she gave up the music scene. It was not that she had become a disappointed celebrity as many people often wrote off these kinds of exits from any profession. It was more so that she became disenchanted by the commercialism that dominated the music industry and she felt pigeonholed as a product. Consequently, her first major break came in the form of musicals in the early 1960s where she showcased such talents as “Guess Who’s There” and “Love Never Dies”. She also had some minor hits in the mid-Seventies with songs like “Iris”, “You Are My Sunshine” and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”.
It was not long before she was back in the limelight as a solo artist and even appeared on TV shows that promoting her career. She managed to maintain her status as a prominent sing-raiser and released numerous solo albums, including one entitled Simplygono. She also returned to the limelight in the late eighties with an appearance on “I Love Lucy” which led to her being cast as one of the central characters in that show. Later appearances on “I Love Lucy” led to her being seen by a wider audience as a romantic lead in “All About Eve”, “Sweeney Todd” and “My Fair Lady”. While those roles all panned out, it was “Irene” which finally led to Olivia Newton-John being seen as a singer in more respectable arenas such as movies and television.
After that film franchise fizzled out, she decided to focus on composing music instead of performing and this is where her true talent showed itself. She managed to create a string of successful solo albums that helped her win over doubters and earned her four Grammys along the way. Her most well-known songs from those years include hits for “Like Something Missing”, “Haitian Divorce” and “Painted Face”. Additionally, her sound is distinctive and eclectic, which is characteristic of many of her singles and albums throughout her career.
It is clear from the music that Olivia Newton-John has a style all her own. She has developed an adventurous sound that ranges from reggae to classical to modern and eclectic. Many of her singles have featured various sounds, including smooth jazz, boogie numbers, pop songs and even some guitar-based songs. The music seems to change at will but always maintains its high level of quality. She has created an entire catalog of songs just for that purpose.