Local teen works with David Bowie’s guitarist on first album

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HOLLAND, Mich. -  A Holland teen is releasing her first full album onThursday, and it features Gerry Leonard, a guitarist for David Bowie.

Olivia Mainville, 19, worked on 90 percent of the album with a friend named Andy Fettig. The pair created the sounds of an orchestra on the album in four days before recording, although they took their time polishing the gypsy swing folk album called "Maybe the Saddest Thing."

"The name came from a guy named Marcus Wicker," said Mainville. "He wrote a book of poetry called Maybe the Saddest Thing, and it’s like a very modern but touching book of poetry."

Her band, Olivia Mainville and the Aquatic Troupe, comprised of West Michigan musicians, is making quite the splash on the local music scene. Her song, “I Need Time,” features Gerry Leonard, who’s best known for being David Bowie’s guitarist and band director.

"I just sent him an e-mail," said Mainville.

The two met after she saw him play a few times in Michigan. It was her father's idea to invite him to play on the album. Other contributing artists include Bleu Quick, Libby Decamp, Adam Schrieber, Charlie Millard, Scott pellegrom, Cullent Montel, and Jeffrey Niemeier.

"There are definitely times when I hear my name tossed around, which is really awesome," said Mainville. "But the local scene in GR is great."

The 19-year-old said it's her album contains orchestral sounds and alternative grooves. "I play guitar, I sing, I do the violins and cellos, and the accordion," said Olivia.

Olivia chose to be home schooled back in the 9th grade so she could focus on her love for music. It's a decision she said has really paid off.

Olivia Mainville and the Aquatic Troupe is available on iTunes, Bandcamp, and Spotify.

She will perform in Traverse City Dec. 11 and 12 and comes back to play in Grand Rapids on Dec. 13. The CD release show will be played at the Speak EZ in Grand Rapids and Founders on Jan. 28.

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  • Andrew

    Public education just got a little less relevant.
    Seriously now, what does it say about public education that a child can be home schooled and go straight into a successful career more readily than if they attend a public high school and college?

    Don’t get me wrong, for some careers a standardized and extensive formal education is indispensible. Physicians, for example. But for a vast majority of careers the specialized training and custom-tailored curriculum that home schooling can provide is more than enough to establish our youth in their chosen fields.

    It is no secret that the social focus on “having that college degree” is driven by the colleges and universities themselves. But what about the public high schools? Here in GR the graduation rate has yet to reach 50%. If it were a high school exam, a score like that would earn you an “F”! Repeated scores like that would earn you…well it would earn you a diploma if you failed long enough. They would pass you just to get rid of you and make you someone else’s problem. But the point here is that the GRPS doesn’t even meet its own standards. Private schools and charters have siphoned off a lot of the really talented kids, but even they don’t do as well as they could. The reason is very simple, and you don’t have to go back into history very far to see the reason why.

    Prior to WW2, not every kid went to school. Why not? Because not every kid was cut out for it. It was an accepted fact that some kids were born to be laborers, some kids were born to be musicians, some kids were born to be woodworkers, some kids were born to be automobile racers….nobody saw anything wrong with people not going to school if what they were goign to be doing for a living didn’t call for it as a need. They mostly learned to read and write at home, or were taught privately. And it worked really, really well. No child got left behind because no child was in an environment that was irrelevant to their gifts and interests as well as ill-suited to deal with them appropriately.

    Should all kids be taught to read and write? Yes. Certainly. Should they all have the opportunity to be educated in their fields of interest? Absolutely! Are public schools and colleges the best way to do that? Clearly, the answer to that question is reflected in the incredible success of people like Olivia Mainville and other home-schooled kids. The answer to that question is no, and the truth of that is going to be increasingly established by historical fact the longer time passes. The next question is how long it will take us to realize that, and to abandon the current educational framework (which has NEVER worked well to begin with) in favor of one which is based on established educational science rather than on financial tradition*.

    *greed and profit