Olivia Chaney

Born 1982
Florence, Italy
Genres Folk
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar, harmonium

Olivia Chaney

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Olivia Chaney (born 1982) is an English folk singer, pianist, guitarist, harmonium player and songwriter. Her debut solo album, The Longest River, came out in 2015. She featured heavily in Alasdair Roberts’s 2013 album A Working Wonder Stone.

Olivia Chaney was born in Florence, Italy, and grew up in Oxford, England, studying composition, piano, cello and voice. Early influences include her father’s record collections and his own renditions of early blues and ’60s folk songwriters like Bob Dylan, Fairport Convention and Bert Jansch.

At 14, Chaney won a joint-first piano and voice scholarship to Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, which was focused on the classical repertoire. She then went on to attend the Royal Academy of Music in London, also on scholarship, where, as an improviser and songwriter, she studied in the jazz course. While at the Academy, Chaney spent much of her time experimenting and collaborating outside the traditional jazz course.

On graduating from the Academy, Chaney taught herself guitar and Indian harmonium, and began performing regularly as a soloist. She has also worked as an actress and singer/multi-instrumentalist at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in Matthew Dunster’s acclaimed production of Troilus and Cressida, and Lucy Bailey and Django Bates’ production of Timon of Athens. Chaney has collaborated and shared stages all over the world with artists, composers, producers and bands including Robert Plant, The Decemberists, The Kronos Quartet, Zero 7, Alasdair Roberts, Concerto Caledonia and The Labèque Sisters.

Chaney’s debut album, The Longest River, was released on Nonesuch Records on 28 April 2015. This release, which The Guardian hailed as “an enchanting and stately creation”, was noted in a number of ‘Best of 2015’ lists (including Uncut, Mojo and PopMatters). The Independent featured it in their Top 5 Albums of the Year, calling it “a landmark release”.

In 2017, Chaney collaborated with American indie-folk band The Decemberists to release The Queen of Hearts, a joint album of reworked folk tracks under the name Offa Rex.



Hearts & Minds (with Seth Lakeman; Virgin Records, 2010)
The Oak, Ash and Thorn Project (Folk Police, 2011)
The Woodbine & Ivy Band (Folk Police, 2011)
Revenge of the Folksingers (with Concerto Caledonia; Delphian, 2011)
The Future (with Rodney P; Low Life Records, 2004)
A Working Wonder Stone (with Alasdair Roberts & Friends; Drag City, 2013)
Fain (with Wolf People; Jagjaguwar, 2013)
The Longest River (Nonesuch Records, 2015)
The Queen of Hearts (as Offa Rex with The Decemberists; Nonesuch Records, 2017)

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