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Meet the XLR Collective: Olivia

Name: Olivia Sully-Karlis

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: Sound engineer, music producer and illustrator

What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective? It combined creativity with a positive cause. That really resonated with me as I am passionate about challenging prevalent issues in society. Music is such a powerful tool to carry important messages and emotion so the XLR Collective has created the perfect opportunity to combine music with a true purpose. That’s a really powerful thing to be part of so I am really grateful for the opportunity.

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators? In terms of income I am a sound engineer assistant at The Riverfront Theater and I also have a second part-time job as a retail customer assistant. In my spare time I draw portraits and do commissions for people. I also paint a lot and spend a lot of my time producing music; I experiment on Logic and find new ways to put my ideas into sound.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to? I’m most looking forward to seeing the outcome of what we have all created together! The group is full of such amazing people I really believe whatever we make will be impactful.

Favourite song? Hard question; I can refine this into a few songs: J Cole – Love Yourz. Bob Marley – War. Tupac – Dear Mama. Queen Latifah – Unity.

Favourite music genre? Hip-Hop & Reggae.

An artist that inspires me is Tupac because he used his platform to speak on issues in society such as gender equality.  In his song ‘Keep Ya Head Up’ he questions rape culture and asks ‘why do we hate our women’. He sends a message to the male identity in society to ‘heal’ all women by showing respect and love towards the ladies that will bear the next generations. It’s like he is having an open conversation to the male audience showing the female perspective. This is rare in most mainstream hip-hop as most rappers idolise the sexualisation and objectification of women in their musical content so this new perspective can inspire his audience to question their own morals and to create new ideologies of respecting females and protecting feminine identity and treatment of women in society.  I could go on and on about Tupac’s musical influence on issues such as race, gender and poverty but I think that example reflects our campaign perfectly.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) I saw Lil Wayne when I was 13 and it was one of the first valuable experiences I had musically when I was younger. I feel like his old music had substance as he used to speak on social issues. For example in his song ‘misunderstood’ he focuses on racism and the treatment of black men by police officers in America. I feel like that was the peak of his career as his music really inspired me to create my own. I was captivated by his beats, his topics and his overall story of coming from nothing and achieving his dreams. His motto has always stuck with me: ‘Repetition is the father of learning’. So when I’m learning something new and I’m in the beginning stages of it I like to think of that quote.

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? I see myself having more confidence public speaking. I would also like to see myself having more confidence in my ideas, my music, my art and my abilities creatively as sometimes I carry a lot of self-judgment. I want to see myself grow out of my comfort zone and have learnt a lot.

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