Olivia Jean

Olivia Jean
Born (1990-02-23) February 23, 1990 (age 31)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • guitarist
Years active 2009–present
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • drums
  • piano
  • bass guitar
Labels Third Man
Associated acts

Olivia Jean Markel (born February 23, 1990[1]) is an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. She is best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the all-female "garage goth" rock band, The Black Belles, but more recently has made a name for herself as a solo artist.

Early life

Olivia Jean Markel was born in Detroit, Michigan on February 23, 1990.[1] She was raised in a middle-class family with an older sister, a younger brother, and a younger sister.[1]

On Jean's 7th birthday, her parents gave her her first guitar.[1] While attending Elmwood Elementary in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, Jean founded her first band, Broken Glass.[1] While in middle school, Olivia, along with a girlfriend who played bass and her little brother Brent, formed the band Yakuza Drag Queens.[1]

In high school Jean became obsessed with surf music.[1]

She graduated in 2008 from South Lake High School, St. Clair Shores, Michigan.


The Black Belles

Jean (right) performing with The Black Belles in 2012.

Olivia handed out demos she played all of the instruments on at a Dead Weather show. Jack White got one of them. He invited Jean to join the team at Third Man Records in Nashville.[1][2]

The Black Belles was formed by Jack White in 2009: he wanted to form an all-female rock band for his own record label, Third Man.[3][4] Olivia Jean was chosen as the guitarist, accompanied by Shelby Lynne, Christina Norwood, and Ruby Rogers. The quartet released their untitled debut album in 2010.

Leading up to the release of their debut album the band had released a handful of singles,[5] including a song recorded with comedian Stephen Colbert.[6] The band saw moderate success with touring; however, in 2012 the band was put on hiatus with Jean wanting pursue her career as a solo artist.

In regards to touring with The Black Belles, Jean said “the road can do some crazy things to a girl band. That was the first band a lot of us actually full-on toured with. So we were just getting used to things. So new to everything that we were all kind of tense and didn’t know what was going on. ... So we were very vulnerable and, you know, nervous. So we would take our nerves out on each other.” [1]

Solo career

The moderate success of the Black Belles led her to a career as a solo artist. Being a multi-instrumentalist, she records most of her instruments on her own.

Her debut solo album, Bathtub Love Killings, was released in 2014 by Third Man[7] and featured more pop style[8] than her prior works with the Black Belles, but still maintaining the sounds of garage rock. Jean's second solo album, Night Owl was released on August 30, 2019, again by Third Man.[9]

Jean has also collaborated with other Third Man recording artists such as Jack White, Karen Elson, The Secret Sisters, Wanda Jackson, among others.

Personal life

Olivia Jean was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with longtime partner Jack White.


with The Black Belles
Solo albums
  • Bathtub Love Killings (2014)
  • Night Owl (2019)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Olivia Jean Flies Solo: Slay Belle Rings, Are You Listening?". HuffPost. February 8, 2015. Retrieved July 30, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Olivia Jean's Trip, from Bollywood to Nashville". PremierGuitar. December 19, 2019. Retrieved December 22, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Jack White as a svengali? Here's how not to do it ..." The Guardian. February 8, 2010. Retrieved July 30, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Band of the Week: The Black Belles". Vogue. November 15, 2011. Archived from the original on May 19, 2016. Retrieved July 30, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "New music: The Black Belles – The Wishing Well". The Guardian. June 24, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Stephen Colbert and the Black Belles Debut 'Charlene II (I'm Over You)'". Rolling Stone. February 8, 2010.
  7. ^ "Olivia Jean: Lana Del Rey's worst nightmare". WBEZ91.5. November 4, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Olivia Jean". Third Man. Retrieved July 30, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Olivia Jean Gets Haunted in 'Night Owl' Vid, Drops Album Details". Nashville Scene. July 30, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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