Vanessa Denae Olivarez (born April 7, 1981) in Sugar Land, Texas) is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She is the vocalist, songwriter and autoharpist for the country bands Granville Automatic and Mama’s Blue Dress, has written songs for the country duo Sugarland, and was in the Top 12 of the second season of the television series American Idol in 2003.
Olivarez’s friends talked her into auditioning in 2002 for the second season of American Idol. She performed Irene Cara’s “Out Here On My Own” in the semi-finals.During a following round where contestants write their own numbers, Olivarez impressed the judges with her song “The Only Thing Special About You Is Me”. She moved into the top 32 contestants of the season. When she reached the top judges she switched to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
Canada and first singles
In 2003, Olivarez was contacted by Canadian songwriter and actor James Collins who brought her to Toronto, Canada, to write and record some new music. Her first single, “The One”, co-written by Olivarez, James Collins and Dave Pickell, had “I’m In Love with My Best Friend’s Ex” as a B-side, and reached number nine on Canada’s single charts & Top Thirty on the Canadian BDS airplay chart. Another of her songs, “As Vain As You” (also co-written with Collins & Pickell), was on the compilation album Girls Night Out 3.
In 2009 she co-founded Granville Automatic, a country duo, with guitarist and song-writer Elizabeth Elkins who is a grand prize winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. According to their biography at Last.fm they are named for a 19th-Century typewriter and collaborate to write and perform songs about history.