PRESENTED BY KEVIN
"It's just a way of getting things off my chest" says Olly. Born in 1977 to an artist mother and surveyor father and the youngest of four sons. A very close family upbringing with a shared love for the arts is what has shaped Olly's passion to create new music.
"My bedroom was once a garage and my father had converted it as we desperately needed the space. The family piano also found its way in and so I guess there was no choice in the matter. We had to get along, and thankfully we did. We became good friends!"
"Soon my mother booked a term of piano lessons with the famous Mrs. Gillette. She was an extremely small, 85 year old cigar smoking, traditional piano teacher. Her voice had such a gravely tone to it that she sounded like she had swallowed some broken glass or had never put down a cigar all her life. I was never one for sheet music, as I struggled to follow the dots. Maybe all the cigar smoke wasn't helping? I would be asked to learn classical songs through the week, only to return with songs I had written! She eventually said to me 'You need to stop having lessons. As what you are doing my dear is finding your own way... Creating new not following old'. She not only looked a little like Yoda (Jedi Warrior) But talked like him as well. This I can remember as clear as day and I thank Mrs. Gillette from the bottom of my heart."
"I was in bands from as young as fourteen. Playing mainly rock and pop music. My brother Russell played drums and we were called 'George Next Door'. Yes, George lived next door to our family home and he never once complained about the noise. Quite clearly a man with exceptional taste I would say... Although, to tell the truth, he was in his 80s and completely deaf!"
"When I was at college I was in an electro house band with two good friends of mine. We had a studio, ok more of a shed at the bottom of the garden. This was next to railway line and our retro keyboards and studio equipment would shake every time a train passed by. It was a nightmare recording live vocals! We made some amazing music in that shed, or so we thought. Well, to be honest, we were wasted most of the time. So of course everything sounded great!"
"I then formed a rock band called 'Urbanswallow' (terrible name!). We recorded an EP and soon had a management offer. The band embarked on a UK tour which included various London venues and Scotland. We built up a loyal fan base and won a regular gig at the 'Sound' club in Leicester Square."
The band recorded an album named 'Alive. This all happened at Stanbridge Farm Studios. The album was produced by Bob Birthright. Stanbridge Farm was fantastic. A traditional residential recording studio, It was the place to be in the 80s and 90s and boasted a cliental list that sits well with pop history in my eyes. Artists such as Duran Duran, AC/DC, Take That, Bjork, Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne. The list goes on and on!
After some false dawns Urbanswallow split up. I had made a very good friend in Bob and we started work on a new record "In Everyone". A good man, a special place and an awesome talent that is Shelley Payne captured this stripped back, true sounding record. It is one that I am very proud of. 1000 copies were pressed. We gave some to friends and sold the remainder at gigs. We had no plan. We just wanted to make a great record and see what it did on its own strength. Well, doors began to open!"
"We started gigging in Brighton. It's a wonderful city with an amazing live music scene. A friend of mine suggested we should play a venue called the Hanbury Club. I was told it had a Yamaha upright piano and the deco was to die for! This place is a real cabaret members club and somewhere we just had to play. Ideal for a singer songwriter like myself and a string quartet led by Miss Payne."
"I dually tried to track down the promoter without success, so I wrote to the Hanbury's owner Amanda Blanch, including a copy of 'In Everyone' and asking if we could play at her humble abode. Amanda runs the club and also a Boutique hotel in the heart of Kemp Town in Brighton. She and her husband Chris Edwards are something else! They approached me with open arms and gave me resident slot at the Hanbury Club. They managed me for a while, which was a special time for me. We had a blast!"
"It was while performing at the Hanbury that I met a certain Mr. Norman Cook (Also known by his stage name Fatboy Slim). We became good friends and started work on a track called 'So It Goes' for the BPA (Brighton Port Authority). A new project of Norman's. This song featured on the album 'I think we need a bigger boat with a collection of other BPA members. Iggy Pop, David Byrne, Dizzee Rascal, Martha Wainwright, to name but a few. This was released globally through Norman's record label 'Southern Fried Records' earlier this year."
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