26 February 2016

kelly oliver

Towards Bedlam - Part 1
The journey of a folk singer / songwriter

Kelly Oliver
If you need any proof that travelling can be the catalyst to a future career, then look no further than the experience of folk singer Kelly Oliver. Having traveled through South America, Kelly returned inspired and with a hat full of song writing content to pursue her dream of becoming a full time singer / songwriter. Ahead of her new album release - Bedlam, Sketches has been given access into her burgeoning career. In the first part we look at those beginnings and the making of her EP and first album. 

Into the Den 
Taking a seat on the comfy sofa surrounded by guitars of every variety, you have the sudden realization that you're in a very professional environment. The Den, as its seems to be referred to is the home studio of Kelly's manager and record label owner (Folkstock records), Helen Meissner. Its also where Kelly and Lauren; producer, artist, musician (and daughter) of Helen's' produce their magic. You get the feel you're in very good company. With cuppa to hand, Kelly and Lauren settle down to discuss all things music.

Kelly (left) and producer Lauren
Back to the Beginning
We go back to the beginning, thinking of the times before releasing her first EP "Far from Home". She talks about how her travels influenced those early days. Kelly speaks eloquently about the impact Brazil and Argentina had on her and the delights of seeing and hearing the music from those countries, even though she isn't particularly keen on the samba sound. She continues by discussing how the subsequent meeting with Helen (she was initially told to go away and work on the areas which Helen felt were lacking; absence of any social media being one of them). And come back she did, four months later with a slot at Helen's music festival; Folkstock, which started this journey and the eventual recording of the EP with Lauren. Subsequently it's success was based in part on local radio plays and selling the EP at gigs. Avoiding a day time job helped to capitalize on the EP's success and any opportunities that came her way. And thus her rise in the folk music world began. 

This Land
With the EP in the bag and a number of songs ready to go, along with a producer (Lauren) ready to pull the strings, it was only natural to get an album "This Land" made as soon after the EP as possible. For both you feel this was a rights of passage, the moment when everything really came together. For Kelly a chance to get her songs properly reviewed; normally EP's don't get reviews. And for Lauren her first album credits as a producer. They talk about the recording process, the fact that they took their time, and were able to hone the songs to their liking without time constraints. Allowing they say for the strength of the songs and songwriting to shine through. It's hard to argue with that when you listen to them. The stripped back album; mainly guitar, harmonica (both Kelly) and bass (Lauren) received critical acclaim. No less from the likes of the Daily Telegraph, who also included it in their top 60 folk albums of the year. A number of awards also followed, showcasing that those songs had hit the mark.

As our conversation continues, they like a good natter! It's clear they are both very passionate about their craft. And as a partnership there is clearly a special bond between the two of them. There is a joy at talking about music and the processes of producing music. It's not long till our discussion moves on next part of her journey, the upcoming album, Bedlam

In Part 2 of our interview we talk about that album and also what the future holds for both of them. If you would like to learn more and listen to Kelly's work then please click on the link Kelly Oliver website


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