Behind the Artist: Olivia Champagne

I’m a ghost in your memory
A shadow in your mind
I wish that I could haunt you
But I’m wasting all my time

–Song lyrics to “Ghost,” a song written by Olivia Champagne, a Cedar Shoals 10th grader and artist.

Olivia Champagne started writing songs and creative stories when she was in 8th grade.

In middle school she experienced problems because of bullying. Writing was a way for her to escape the world, and it was a way for her to express her ideas and thoughts.

“Writing is a way to escape the world or see it from another perspective. Your problems are no longer there; it’s the character’s problems that are there, and so it’s kind of a method of escaping everything,” said Champagne.

Once she saw that her writing made others happy, it helped influence her to share her ideas to influence more people.

“I just always had these ideas and I wanted to make something to make other people happy,” said Champagne.

She writes about fantasy, adventure, and sometimes romance. For her to come up with ideas to write about, she thinks about a real life scenario, or she’ll just let the story write itself.

“Usually, I’ll take something from real life or I’ll be thinking about this or that scenario and mostly everything just writes itself. I’ll get a little bit of inspiration and then I’ll just think of how everything will go in that scene,” said Champagne.

Her stories sometimes take a long time to plan out, but when she’s writing songs it usually just comes to her easily. Champagne can easily write out what she feels when she writes her own music because her songs are influenced by past relationships and real life experiences.

“For my stories I plan out a lot more. [With] songs I get the tune in my head and go with the flow and I can edit it afterwards,” said Champagne.

Champagne’s stories require more time to plan because she thinks critically to set everything out.

“When planning my stories I think of major plot points — this is going to happen around this time, and this is gonna happen then. And then I go to ‘Why is this happening?’ and ‘Why is that happening’, and then for the actual writing, I just fill in between,” said Champagne.

Even though it takes awhile for her to plan out a narrative, it takes even longer to develop her characters because she has to consider what kind of character will match the story.

“I start with a few basic character details like ‘Oh this character is stubborn’ or ‘this character is very reckless’, and I link them together. Then I think ‘Well, why are they this way?’ which helps me give them a bit of background. I have a basic shell of what their character is like, and then I make a design that can fit with the details that I’ve given them,” said Champagne.

Naming the character is one of the hardest parts of writing for her.

“Is this character a Melody or an Amber? It’s just what name fits that character. I usually go and look at baby names and if it’s set in a certain time period, I’ll then look at what the common names were in that time period. If it’s modern or like a fantasy setting, I might look at the meaning behind the name,” said Champagne.

Truly creative, Champagne creates with more than just words. She also has a talent for drawing anime. Champagne actually has more experience drawing than writing. She has been drawing since 6th grade.

“I grew up watching a lot of anime, and I really liked the style. I thought that it was really pretty. I wanted to draw something that would attract people’s eyes,” said Champagne

Her drawings are linked to her storytelling and songs as well as what she’s listening to currently. To come up with inspiration to draw, Champagne looks at different song lyrics and draw what the song’s story tells.

“I’ve recently been basing my drawings off song lyrics, so if there’s like a set of lyrics that’s relatable then I’ll draw something to go with it or something based off a feeling. Like kind of a metaphor for how I’m feeling,” said Champagne.

Champagne shares both her anime drawings and writing online on Tumblr and Instagram . Also, she’s trying to write a book and a comic book.

In her future she wants to try to get a few books published and she wants to make comic books. Also, Champagne wants to use her illustrations for books that she writes to show people how she imagines the characters.

“I want to inspire others and make them feel happy,” said Champagne.