Story Behind the Song: Olivia Lane, ‘Perfect Skin’
Olivia Lane's "Perfect Skin" had an unconventional journey. After Lane wrote the song as a piano ballad, the track made her a contender on the televised songwriting competition Songland, and was and reconfigured into a hit that would match the aesthetic of pop and soul singer Leona Lewis, the episode's judge.
Before all of that, however, Lane co-wrote "Perfect Skin" with frequent collaborators Dave Pittenger and Bonnie Baker, while going through a particularly fragile time in her life. Read on to learn the story behind the song, told in Lane's own words.
To be honest, I was kind of broken that day. It was one of those days where you wake up and you trip over something, and you burn yourself on your coffee -- just one of those days where I was like, "Ugh, today is not my day."
So I went into the write pretty vulnerable, and I know these collaborators pretty well, so I was like, "Hey guys, I am in this weird zone right now, and I don't know what's gonna come out. I don't know where I'm at mentally, I just know that I'm not my best self right now."
My collaborator Dave [Pittenger] turned around and was like, "Well, I've got this title called "Perfect Skin." I don't know what it means to you."
[I had] that moment as a songwriter and an artist, truly, where all of the information of the lyrics just sort of downloaded as soon as he said that title. It was word vomit at that point -- we just quickly wrote.
It opened the conversation of, like, "Guys, I have been going through this moment right now. For some reason, I wake up and I look in the mirror, and I don't think I'm beautiful. I don't think I'm powerful. I just feel defeated. And that's what this song needs to be about, because I think everybody feels that way sometimes." We have seasons in our lives where it's like, "Today is not my day, or my week, or my month, or my year" -- but at the essence of going through all that brokenness and going through that dark time, it's what makes your story interesting. It's what makes your flaws beautiful. It's what makes humans so compelling.
So we had to wrap that really big message into a three-minute song, and I think we did pretty well. Just because I was so real and raw that day, and I had two collaborators who would go there with me.
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