Newberg singer praises the 'Home Team'
Local Olivia Pothoff releases her latest album, 'Home Team Advantage,' which pays tribute to people supporting one another
Sometimes the amount of time and energy that goes into a piece of art doesn't match up with its length or size.
Take, for instance, a track called "Inside These Walls" on Newberg singer-songwriter Olivia Pothoff's new album: it runs a quick three minutes and thirty seconds, but it was much longer in the making.
"I tell people it took me six years to write that song, because I had to live out the lyrics," Pothoff said. "And some of these things were birthed out of some really hard times."
There were unexpected trials and losses that happened over the course of those years, and Pothoff's experiences and lessons she learned from them led to the theme that binds her new album together and gave it its title: "Home Team Advantage."
"There's this thread woven through of gratitude, community and redemption," she said. "Just kind of the need for not doing life solo."
This central theme is also reflected in the album's imagery, which depicts a redwood tree with a wide-reaching root system. Pothoff chose the tree concept because it represents the same idea of people supporting each other: a sole tree may be toppled in a windstorm, but a group of trees with intertwined roots form a stronger bond that can't easily be shaken.
"I know with certainty that if (it) weren't for my faith in Jesus and my own home team, I would have toppled down long ago," Pothoff said.
To fund her album, released early last month, Pothoff created an Indiegogo campaign. Although she was hesitant about a fundraiser – she laughed, recalling being too nervous to sell Girl Scout cookies when she was younger – her producer, Troy Welstad, suggested it. Recording to the quality Pothoff desired would run about $2,000 per track, she found, so she launched the 30-day campaign, offering various perks for donors based on their donation amount, ranging from a copy of the album to a house concert.
Much to her surprise, it worked. By the end of the campaign about 90 people donated enough money for her to record the EP album, with donations coming in from $15 all the way up to a $1,000 contribution.
"Our community is amazing," Pothoff said. "I know that, but I really saw that through this."
It also reinforced the very theme of the album, that of people supporting one another.
Musically, Pothoff officially calls her genre Christian/gospel music, but she cites soulfulness in her music as well, and notes that some songs might be akin to a Norah Jones sound and others are more along the lines of Alicia Keyes.
After first singing in front of hundreds of people at age 5, Pothoff began playing piano the following year – and still has the same piano in her house years later, as it's "the only material possession I really care about."
She originally came to Newberg to study at George Fox University, and while she lived elsewhere after graduating, she eventually moved back to town and her husband, Mark, now works at the university.
"It became home for us," Pothoff said.
She's worked with several Newberg churches over the years, and is now the worship arts director at Journey Church in Sherwood, which launched in 2015 and also draws many GFU students and Newberg residents.
Early this month the Sherwood Center for the Arts held an album release party for Home Team Advantage. The album is now available online through iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and more.