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Olive Klug Profile: Coming of Age to the Tune of Contemporary Folk

Olive Klug is an up-and-coming queer singer-songwriter from Portland, Oregon.
Olive Klug is an up-and-coming queer singer-songwriter from Portland, Oregon. By Courtesy of Erik Bergamini
By Julia J. Hynek, Crimson Staff Writer

“Coming of age” — A blanket term used to describe the period of maturation during which a person becomes an adult. But what exactly does this entail?

Olive Klug explores this in their debut album "Don't You Dare Make me Jaded,” released on Aug. 11 of this year. A queer singer-songwriter from Portland, Oregon, Klug created this aptly titled record including a variety of songs musing about childhood, growing up, love, and finding meaning and joy in a world that can, at times, seem lacking in both.

For Klug, the songwriting process is not linear or systematic by any means.

“A lot of times it’ll come to me in the car, like a little line in the car and I'll be driving home and I'll be like ‘Okay, let me try to figure out this line with my guitar or the piano.’ And then a song will either come or it will not come,” Klug said in an interview with The Harvard Crimson. “Often it's about a feeling that I have. I have a hard time being like, ‘Oh, I had this experience a long time ago. Let me write a song about it.’ A lot of times it's like, ‘I'm having this experience right now. And I should write a song about it.’”

Involved in musicals, acapella, and guitar lessons since they were young, Klug describes having a diverse, eclectic set of musical inspirations. They do, however, consider two artists to be among their central influences.

“I always say my two biggest inspirations growing up were Joni Mitchell and Taylor Swift,” Klug said. “Those were the two people I listened to and became really obsessed with throughout my childhood.’”

Klug’s music certainly evokes the artistry of these inspirations. Their smooth vocals layer atop clever guitar melodies, singing lyrics that are refreshing in their honesty and thoughtful reflection. When asked to describe their musical style, Klug frankly stated: “I am a folk singer-songwriter. I like that. I feel like it's really straightforward.”

The choice to pursue music professionally was not always in Klug’s plans, however. Klug attended college where they studied a combined major of psychology and sociology, thinking they were either going to pursue work for a non-profit organization or attain a Master of Social Work (MSW) and become a therapist.

The course of Klug’s life changed after a pivotal conversation with a friend during their senior year of college.

“I remember this specific conversation with a friend where I was like, ‘I've always wanted to try to do music, but I'm too scared to share my songs. I'm too scared to really put myself out there,’” Klug recalled. “I just remember she really encouraged me to do it and was like, ‘You're really young. You need to just give it your best shot because you'll always regret not doing it.’”

It was a conversation that Klug credits for the release of their 2019 Debut EP.

Klug’s musical journey continued to progress once they began posting videos on their Tiktok in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. At first, it was “purely for [their] own enjoyment and boredom.” As time passed however, Klug continued to amass a following, and today has over 175 thousand followers and almost three million likes across their videos.

The musical landscape on Tiktok has, however, changed dramatically from the time Klug first started.

“It went from being just a community space to this place where the stakes were really high and everybody was doing it and so it was really saturated,” Klug said. “I think it went from something that I really enjoyed and did for fun to something that I feel like I'm like, ‘I have to do this.’”

Still, Klug acknowledges the positive dimension of their experience with the app, saying, “I'm so thankful for the platform itself because it's connected me with, honestly, so many of my best friends and it's connected me with all the opportunities I have.”

With the recent release of Klug’s debut album, “Don’t You Dare Make me Jaded,” they continue to chart their path through the contemporary folk scene.

—Staff writer Julia Hynek can be reached at

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