We had the good fortune of connecting with Olivia Khiel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Olivia, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
After graduating from journalism school. I was having a tough time finding work in my field. I’d been out of the game for awhile before my best friend suggested starting up Atlas Artist Group to really shine a spotlight on musicians making a positive impact in the scene and beyond. It’s been amazing getting to show our readers new music with a great message.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I like to think that Atlas (and myself) has gotten to where it is today through the right combo of luck and constant learning. In school, I was studying to be a journalist and I didn’t have any intentions on becoming a music photographer. Just a few years down the line and now being in the photo pit is my greatest joy. Getting to this point required, like most things, a constant desire to be learning new things to improve. The world of entertainment journalism is always changing and being able to adapt makes the job much more exciting and sustainable.
I really want people to know that Atlas Artist Group is here to spread a message of positivity among music fans- we don’t want to contribute to drama, gossip or negativity. We’re excited to always be featuring the bands we think more people should know about and support!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’d definitely have to go for burritos at Crescent Ballroom- the best food in the Valley and the venue is one of my favorites. Hopefully there’s plenty of shows that week so we can hit all my favorites- The Van Buren and Rebel Lounge are up there on the list.
One of my favorite offbeat food spots is Two Hands Corn Dogs in Mesa. They have the best Korean street food style corn dogs and the H Mart next door has amazing snacks and ice cream.
I spend my off nights skating at the Mesa and Chandler Skatelands. They’re like a time capsule inside and the vibes are always immaculate.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First off I’d love to shout out David Key- my best friend since college and now business partner. He’s always pushed me to be better at what I love to do and his ambition has really made Atlas what it is today.
My Assistant Editor and partner in crime Taylor Knauf also deserves the biggest of shoutouts- I don’t know where I’d be without her talent, wisdom and friendship.
When I first started shooting shows again, Chris Mark was (and still is) one of my biggest influences and I count him as a mentor and a friend. He always had a word of advice or even just a reassuring smile when I got overwhelmed in the pit. Just an all-around good guy and incredibly talented photographer.
First Image: Kristen Bourdeau