Born to an English mother and a Barbadian (aka Bajan) father in North Yorkshire, England, Olivia Waithe always had a love for music. She is no stranger to my blog, as I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Waithe, famously known by her stage name Livvi Franc, on two occasions.
She cites her maternal grandfather, Frank Wilson, as the inspiration behind the name. “He noticed me playing the piano and predicted I was going to be a musician. Sadly he’s no longer here. So, in honour of him, I called myself Livvi Franc; Livvi because it’s my nickname, and Franc because it’s a funkier version of Frank,” she told Flavour Magazine during an interview.
At the age of five, she and her family moved to her father’s native land of Barbados where she would spend her formative and adolescent years. Her love for music became a passion, and soon she penned her first song at the age of eleven and learned the guitar at fifteen. It’s safe to say that grandpa was right. And we’re glad he was.
Livvi attended Queens College (Barbados) where she would perform at various talent shows and pageants at the school. Relentless in her pursuit of becoming a musician. She was quickly taken under the wing of first manager Kerrie Thomas-Armstrong and took up vocal training lessons with locally revered vocal coach and singer Marisa Lindsay. This resulted in demo recordings of Livvi, where she met her next manager. Soon enough, she was meeting labels heads for auditions. After months of negotiating, she signed with the now defunct Jive Records. Known for their pop acts such as Britney Spears & the Backstreet Boys.
Her debut single, ‘Now I’m That Bitch’ featuring Pitbull, was successful. Topping the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart scoring the no. 1 spot and becoming one of the top dance songs of 2009. Also becoming a top 40 hit in New Zealand and the UK. Livvi was featured in countless magazines, including the venerated Interview Magazine, which was founded by the late, great Andy Warhol. Her second single, ‘Automatik’, had moderate success and took the no. 6 spot on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart. But after Jive shelved her debut album, Livvi had enough and left the label in 2010.
She was quickly scooped up by Beluga Heights/Warner Bros., where she was set to finish her debut album. But Franc decided, at least for the moment, to solely focus on songwriting for other artists. As she’s been doing for years. Her extensive writing credits include great names such as Cheryl Cole, Jordin Sparks, Britney Spears, DJ Khaled, Jason Derulo, Cher Lloyd, Delta Goodrem, Leona Lewis, Ciara, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Zendaya, Kelly Clarkson, Shakira and the late Michael Jackson.
Livvi releases music occasionally, on her YouTube channel and SoundCloud. Her song ‘Woyoyo’ gained lots of airplay in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean.