Where Night Never Comes by Olivia Belli is a tapestry of encouragements urging us to express the personal and environmental influences that make us unique.

Black and white portrait of composer Olivia Belli
Photo Credit Aberto Del Bello

Where Night Never Comes isn’t Olivia Belli’s first album. It is, however, her début as a composer. It’s common for one musician to play the work of another. Therefore, it hadn’t crossed my mind that there was a distinction between a Composer and a Performer. I revisit Olivia’s 2017 album, Max Richter: Piano Works, often for its vivid and unique reinterpretation of one of my favorite composers. She has also released two other albums of music composed by Ludovico Einaudi and Philip Glass. But then, Olivia Belli gifted us with Where Night Never Comes, an album of original work.

Olivia, four albums later, what inspired you to compose an album of original work?

I’m a pianist and a composer. I love to make music in new ways. I’m still a performer of the great Maestros from the past and present. An album dedicated to Satie is going to be released soon. But now, I’m concentrating on my own music. I have been composing since I was a child. For a long time, it was just a personal and private activity. I felt I had to study and learn from the works of other composers. In my opinion, the best way is to perform their music and alas, find another perspective.

Only last year I felt ready to share my original music with all the people that love my genre. It’s a neoclassical style, inspirational, and with influences of Satie, Einaudi, Glass, and Richter. I had to build a special soft pedal to use in a Yamaha U3 upright piano. It was the only way to find the intimate sound I was looking for.

Composer Olivia Belli on the floor writing musical notations
Personal photo courtesy of Olivia Belli & her family

Where Night Never Comes is an invitation to appreciate nature. Olivia Belli lives in Marche, Italy. Her home is embedded in her sound. The region’s mountainous landscape, expansive valleys, deep gullies, and winding roads create a vivid image when listening to her work. Like myself, many of her fans live in big cities where nature is a destination. When listening to Olivia’s crisp tones and use of negative space you can imagine yourself walking through her olive orchard, enjoying the space between trees and relaxing in the shade of their growth. The first track on her album “Your Mornings Sweet” begins with a field recording of birds effectively transporting us into her morning landscape.

Tell me about the role of nature in your work. How does the landscape shape your perspective as a composer?

As a composer, I want my piano to speak about the things that I love the most, what is closest to me: my dears, my being, my land, my surroundings. I chose to live in the open countryside of an Italian province. I deeply understand the charm of the big cities, their poetry, their thrilling movement but they don’t belong to my inner soul.

Composer Olivia Belli writing in the forest
Photo Credit Aberto Del Bello

I’m inspired by the lines of the great Italian poet Eugenio Montale. I have always been close to the soundscape of his words, to the colors of his landscapes, to the memories he evokes. They all belong to my ambiance. His lines talk about the sea, the countryside, the Italian summers… I recognize myself in his poems, especially for his particular sense and intimacy almost feminine. In fact, all the titles of my album are loosely based on his lines and all the ambient sounds were recorded at home.

Composer Olivia Belli is on a sunset walk through the forest
Personal photo courtesy of Olivia Belli & her family

Olivia Belli is an independent artist by choice. This fact seems to permeate her art, lifestyle, and family. After retreated from London she moved into a derelict country home and restored it. She cultivated the surrounding landscape, created a family, and home schools her two children. Independence is a way of life for Olivia. Fortunately, there are many avenues available for independent artists. Using her own funds to compose and record Where Night Never Comes, the mixing, mastering, and manufacturing were crowdfunded.

Why do you choose to self-produce your work and what was your experience crowdfunding Where Night Never Comes?

I am independent by choice because I love that my fans and I don’t need a middleman. I really believe in the motto “do it by yourself” (DIY) because it’s the only way to care for every single detail of my work. Of course, I’m not alone. Many collaborators help me, especially my husband Enrico who is my sound producer, but the last word is mine and that is really energizing. I decided to open a crowdfunding campaign to produce and release “Where Night Never Comes” to share more than just the music with my fans. I wanted to share the work in progress, the completion, and realization of my debut album: walk this path, make memories and music together with them.

It was moving and touching to receive feedback and support from people all around the world. I loved sharing every single step with them. Finally, when the album was finished and manufactured, it had a big family ready to support its “flight” out from the walls of my home.

Composer Olivia Belli sitting in front of her piano
Personal photo courtesy of Olivia Belli & her family

Cover Art: “dal bianco”by Ilde Barone.