Following in the footsteps of a Jersey-born legend, 22-year old sensation Olivia Polci is making a name for herself in the entertainment industry. Granddaughter of The Four Seasons frontman Frankie Valli, and daughter of drummer Gerry Polci, Olivia is no stranger to music. On April 15, Polci returns to the stage with a highly anticipated performance at Feinstein’s/54 Below, a follow-up concert to her sold-out show last summer. Best of NJ got the chance to learn a little bit more about this Jersey girl.
The NJ native, and recent Montclair State Musical Theatre graduate, first discovered a love of singing before she could even talk. “When I was a year old, my mom would sing to me, and I would start to cry because she would sing out of tune,” she recalls, laughing. “Since I couldn’t formulate words yet, I would hum the correct pitches to her.” And she has been hitting all the right notes since.
Polci recalls that her first performances date back to when she was very young, performing in talent shows. “I was always singing for people, but I was shy. I remember in the first grade I was so scared to sing in front of everyone, but I wanted to do it anyway and it just blossomed from there. Nothing else really ignites that fire in me other than singing.”
Seeing her famous grandfather on stage only fueled that passion. “I’ll never forget going to the PNC Bank Arts Center to watch my grandpa perform when I was like six years old, and seeing all these people come together and be so supportive of him and singing all of his songs. It was a little overwhelming, but I thought it was amazing. I was like ‘I have to do this one day,’ I wanted it so bad,” she says.
Polci continued to perform throughout high school, and started voice lessons when she turned 18. As her talent grew, so did her love of all musical genres. A fan of pop, rock, R&B, and hip-hop, Polci says what she truly appreciates is “a true passion and meaning” in a song. She says her grandfather encouraged her to listen to her favorite singers and emulate them. “He would say, ‘listen to what they do, how they breathe, how they enunciate, and how they tell a story.’ Artists like Aretha, Mariah, Whitney and Barbra—they’re all incredible artists. I just listened and listened, and copied them for a really long time until I came up with my own identity.”
Polci’s upcoming concert will showcase her musical talent with a performance of two tracks she has written and plans to debut. She will share the stage with college pals, Tori Palin and Wesley Cappiello, and also perform a duet with Jersey Boys star Chris Messina. “I’m very excited and little nervous because I just want to give the best possible show, that’s the dream,” says Polci. “I think no musician would be where they are if they didn’t have good people. I’m really lucky to have these people backing me up,” she added.
Offstage, she can also count on her biggest supporters to continue to cheer her on. “My mom and my grandpa taught me to believe in myself. My mom has always said, ‘what’s for you, shall not pass you.’” With that in mind, Polci has her sights set on a very bright future. “I see myself working on my album and really taking off from there. I also see myself working in theater and booking great jobs. When you have a dream for so long, you want to turn it into a reality. I told myself a long time ago that I’m going to make this happen one way or another.”
There’s little doubt that Polci’s many talents will take her far; “My grandpa told me, ‘Don’t just be a singer, learn how to play piano and write lyrics. Expand yourself as an artist.’ I still have a lot of learning to do and a lot of growing, but I’m confident because of the people behind me. My grandpa and my mom are pretty wise people, so I hope to be like them one day.”
Olivia Polci will be performing at Feinstein’s/54 Below on April 15th at 11:30 pm. You can follow her on Twitter @OliviaFPolci. For tickets and additional information, visit 54below.com or call 646-476-3551.
Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Marc Bryan-Brown / Feinstein’s/54 Below
Headshot and video content provided by Olivia Polci