Concerts

Angel Olsen Knows What to Say and When to Say it, Even Outside of Her Music

Angel Olsen's personal life accidentally became press fodder, but she knows what she wants to say.
Angel Olsen's personal life accidentally became press fodder, but she knows what she wants to say. Angela Ricciardi
Indie rock singer-songwriter Angel Olsen's most recent album, 2022’s Big Time, was steeped in personal transformation and self-realization. As a result, Olsen’s personal life became the focus of attention, something she now says may have resulted in some oversharing with the press.

“There's so much stuff that I regret saying," Olsen says, "not because I regret being honest but just because of it being taken out of context and put into a headline can get weird.”

The artist, who's scheduled to return to Dallas for a show at The Studio at The Factory on Tuesday, Jan. 24, is still a pleasant interviewee despite her past experiences. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that she makes a living by pouring her soul onto the page.

“I think that a lot of my neuroses are about trying to describe everything intensely in interviews or caring a lot to make sure it's said the right way,” she says. “It's always funny in print when you're thinking things; when you write them down, you make them real. So when you're talking to someone and they publish them, it feels more real in that moment.”

Thankfully, at this moment, Angel Olsen is just beginning to do press for her upcoming tour, and has not yet been overwhelmed by the experience.

“Sometimes on press tours you've got eight in a row, and you're like, ‘Jesus Christ, I need a break. I need to say something different,’ and that's when you say the wrong thing,” Olsen says, likening the often-one-sided experience of giving interviews to therapy. “Except you're publishing what I'm saying!” she says laughing. “Right now I'm doing like one or two a day and it's chill, like I'd much prefer to talk about local shows than the whole picture all the time, every single interview.”

Prior to the “whole picture” success of Big Time, one of Olsen’s smash successes was “Like I Used To,” a triumphant 2021 duet with fellow indie rock singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten. The song, produced by North Texas' very own John Congleton, helped lead to a co-headlining tour by Olsen and Van Etten along with Julien Baker. And it may not be the only collaboration we hear about between the two musicians.

“We're going to do more stuff together,” Olsen says of Van Etten. “I'm hoping that we can write a record together or an EP or something, but we're trying out different stuff. She's the coolest.”

Olsen seems to light up at the chance to talk about their strong friendship.

“I think that her and I both are kind of at a place where we feel comfortable in our careers,” she says. “Not comfortable in a lazy way, but we're less worried about certain accolades. We’re established but still pushing. People are kind of cagey, but with her, she wants to hug and talk about real life and isn't afraid to share. It's a very real friendship.”

“There's so much stuff that I regret saying, not because I regret being honest but just because of it being taken out of context and put into a headline can get weird.” – Angel Olsen

tweet this

Something that recently stayed under the radar for many of Olsen’s fans is her stunning solo acoustic cover of Roxy Music’s “More Than This,” released as a B-side at the height of the pandemic in 2020 and later reissued as a part of Olsen’s four-LP Song of the Lark and Other Far Memories box set.

“I love songs that are triumphant in that way,” she says of the Bryan Ferry-penned classic. “It's fun because you can make [them] your own, I wanted to take [“More Than This”] and turn it into like a Strange Cacti edition.”

Strange Cacti was Olsen's debut album, which was first released on cassette in 2010.

Olsen says that covering songs in solo acoustic arrangements is a hobby of hers — something she frequently does on tour, if the mood is right.

“If people are really loud and talkative or excited, I probably won't do it,” she says. “If I'm in a good mood, I usually do it because I know that it adds a different thing for people to include one intimate experience [like that] at the show. But when you're on tour and you're three weeks in, it can get tough being like ‘I'm inspired!’ You know?” she says with a laugh.

Lately, there's one song Olsen has enjoyed playing acoustically: Tucker Zimmerman’s 1977 folk gem “Slowin’ Down Love.”

“I love that song,” she says. “That's one of [those] songs where it’s hard for me to find another one like that that I love as much. But we're going to do some covers on this tour. I'll play some solo songs. Maybe I'll play ‘More Than This.’ Who knows?”
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Vincent Arrieta
Contact: Vincent Arrieta

Latest Stories