Did you know the existence of Brown Bears in North America dates back nearly 3,000 years? Native American pictographs reveal images of the fuzzy animals in Central Montana. Disneynature’s latest film, “Bears” is an exciting adventure that follows Sky, a momma bear, and her two newborn cubs; Amber and Scout. The family encounters numerous trials, while trying to survive seasonal changes in the Alaskan wildlife..
TIM: You’re a triple threat: singer, actor and athlete (gymnast)! It’s great that you participate in sports, and can do all of those activities. I know you started singing at age 3, and have the song, “Carry On” placed on this soundtrack for the Disneynature movie. Plus, you just won the Radio Disney Music Award for “Had Me At Hello.” Are you considering making a CD or going on tour?
Olivia: Yes, music has been a part of my life for a very long time. And, I hope to be very successful with my music career, because I love music with all my heart! And, it’s been a really, crazy year. Everything has gone by super fast. But, I’m very grateful for all of the opportunities. Yes, I won the Radio Disney Music Award for my song, “Had Me At Hello.” And, I also sang the theme song for my show, “I Didn’t Do It.” And, then this, “Carry On,” for Disneynature’s “Bears.” It’s been so, so fun!
So now, that I have this little break. We just finished Season 1 of “I Didn’t Do It.” Now, I have a little bit of time to focus on music. I’ve been in the recording studio working on music. I’ve been learning the writing process. I’ve been sitting down with songwriters. So, I’m an aspiring songwriter. And, I really hope to write all of my songs one day! But, as of now, I’m just working with all of these different songwriters. And, they’re teaching me the ropes. And, it’s been so much fun. Like, I love music!
TIM: Would you say your genre is country or pop?
Olivia: Opera! (Giggles) My iPod is a freak show! I love everyone! I love various types of genres of music! My sound is a little more pop with a little more soul. So, the people that I look up to like; Katy Perry and Bruno Mars.
TIM: Who would you say keeps you grounded? Your BFFs or your brothers and sisters?
Olivia: All of the above – my family and my friends. I have a very tight group of friends. But, I also have my family who are always there to support me. If I ever need a break, they get it! They understand, they’ll watch a movie with me. On Friday nights, we have Family Movie Night every Friday night. We’ll either go the movies or stay at home and pop popcorn and catch a movie on the TV. But, it’s pretty easy for me because of the free time. When I have that free time, I just enjoy being with my family and everybody keeps me grounded.
TIM: When you said you have Family Movie Night, what would you say is your favorite family movie?
Olivia: During the holidays, it’s more fun because there’s that one movie that we watch all the time, and it’s “Polar Express.” We watch that every year during the holidays. But, we all have our own favorites. Like my dad’s favorite is “It’s A Wonderful Life.” My dad loves all the Christmas movies. Yeah, that’s our favorite family time.
TIM: I read that you enjoy amusement parks. Are you a rollercoaster junkie?
Olivia: (Laughs) I’m a rebel when it comes to those types of rides! I love riding rollercoasters!
TIM: You’re also involved with different charities and organizations like St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Would you say that getting involved with that organization was a life-changing experience? Did it give you a different perspective on life after having worked with cancer patients?
Olivia: Yeah, I’ve been involved with St. Jude’s since I was little. Their main hospital is in Memphis, Tenn., and I grew up around that area. And, my granddaddy actually volunteered there. So, I grew up knowing about the hospital. I mean, it was in my hometown. And, there was always a part of me that wanted to be involved. And then, finally I got the opportunity. I’ve been to the hospital a few times. Those kids … I’ve never been around a group of kids that have been so happy! You walk in there and the hospital is filled with so much color. So much life! And, so much hope! And, that’s what I love about it! Every kid that I met had the BIGGEST smile on their face. It just puts the BIGGEST smile on my face. And, I get giddy! And, I get happy! It should be the other way around. But, I don’t know. I love going there. I love visiting. St. Jude’s is very close to my heart!
TIM: Going toward Disneynature’s “Bears” film, what made you compelled to perform the song and want to be involved in the whole environmental (Earth Day) theme?
Olivia: Disney approached me with the song, “Carry On.” And, as soon as I heard it, it was like a “click” in my brain! Yes! It not only goes perfectly with the film. But, it also goes perfectly with anybody’s life! I mean, the song is very inspiring, heartwarming, very encouraging. I could go on, and on about how beautiful the song is! But, it’s just perfect! I was very, very thrilled to be a part of it!
TIM: It also matches your life. Like Scout, the bear, has the same name as your Yorkie dog.
Olivia: (Laughs) Yes, it was so funny because my family and I saw the film, and Scout, the bear’s personality in the film is exactly like our dog at home! (Laughs) We got home and pointed at our Scout saying, “You are a bear!” (Laughs) Scout’s looking at us like, “What?” (Giggles) But, it was really fun. I loved the film. I loved the story they put with it, and I thought it was not only educational, but it was very heartwarming. I felt that anybody who watched it would feel the love, the struggle, and the passion behind this story.
TIM: If you could say anything to any teens struggling with any type of issues. What is it that you could say that would maybe give them hope? Or, inspire them to continue on?
Olivia: I know for me, I’m a teenager, so I go through the ups and downs. So, I get it. For me, it’s either focusing on other things that make me happy. And, just being positive. And, keeping my head help up high. And, always remembering that there’s always good that comes out of tough things. I feel like you gotta look at the bright side. Not the downfall. For me, I try not to consume my brain with all of the bad things that are happening in life. I try to focus on other things. That’s something that has helped me a lot.
That’s IT! Penny Scott is a veteran writer and SoCal mom of three.
* Penny attended a screening and interview for editorial purposes.