Children In Need
From Memphis to The Theatre Royal: Oli Brown
By David Keller
Blues guitar sensation Oli Brown, from Sco Ruston, talks to BBC Norfolk about life under a record label, his band's debut album and his forthcoming performance at An Evening With Stewart White.
Oli Brown, from Sco Ruston, near North Walsham in Norfolk, has had a fantastic year so far and it's getting even better.
Now boasting regular concert appearances on both sides of the Atlantic and bagging a debut album under his belt, Oli is overjoyed by the success of The Oli Brown Band. He is also incredibly excited about performing at An Evening With Stewart White on Saturday, 25 October, 2008.
A full time musician
It was obvious at an early age that Oli was talented, but rather than rushing into the music business, Oli stayed on at school until he completed his A levels. Now he has them under his belt, he can focus on his music.
"Music is a full time career now. It's my living and I'm happy doing it. I've just been playing different areas, trying to get my name around the country. It's nice to see things growing and nice to play different places, because you get to meet lots of different people and see a lot of different sights," said Oli.
The experience of playing more regularly in America has certainly opened Oli's eyes, but he still enjoys returning home to Sco Ruston, even if it's just to get a good night's sleep.
Oli rocking in Memphis
"I've been going to America every summer for the last four years to get an education. A blues band called Blind Dog Smoking invite me out there to teach me. They sit me down until the early hours and demonstrate what I should be doing, or when I'm doing my show, tell me how I could change things around. They've taught me a lot," said Oli.
"However, it's nice to come back. There's no home like your own home. It's not like all the hotel rooms you stay in or all the floors you sleep on," he added.
The American experience has made the band stronger than ever.
"We gel together really nicely. When we first tried everything together it just clicked immediately. We really enjoy playing with each other on stage. We just enjoy the whole atmosphere and it's a lot of fun," he said.
Record label material
The Oli Brown Band, comprising of Oli Brown, Fred Hollis and Simon Dring, managed to find time in their touring schedule to release their debut album in June 2008 titled Open Road. The album is very personal to Oli.
"It's a small life experience. When I write, I try and find things that relate to me personally. I listen to lots of different musicians and try to find out what they have written and why they have written the songs they have," he said.
With all the press in the music industry lately predicting the end of the record label and whether they have become a redundant concept, Oli's experience with Blues Rock specialists Ruf Records has been very positive.
"Thomas Ruf is a really nice guy. He is very personal - you speak to him and he emails me every so often and he comes to the gigs to see what's going on. He actually stands at the front of the gigs dancing and cheering. He’s a really cool guy and it’s a really personal label," said Oli.
An Evening With Stewart White
On Saturday, 25 October, 2008, Oli will be performing at the Theatre Royal in Norwich at An Evening With Stewart White, an event organised for Children In Need. Oli is relishing the opportunity to impress and crank the amp up to 11.
Oli is a great supporter of Children In Need
"I cant wait! I'm just deciding what songs we should do. It's a very difficult process trying to pick just two songs off the album, there's a lot of thinking involved," said Oli.
"Hopefully we're going to keep it upbeat and get everyone dancing - make good-feeling music. It's great promotion for us, but it's also benefiting a great charity. Some of the money from the CD’s sold on the night will go to Children In Need," he added.
The size of the Norwich Theatre Royal and the importance of the concert however will not affect Oli's performance.
"I don't treat gigs differently. Whether it's a venue of 60 people or at the Theatre Royal, they're all just as important," he said.
But will Pudsey be dancing along to Oli's Blues-Rock?
"Hopefully," laughed Oli.
Oli Brown will be performing at An Evening With Stewart White on Saturday, 25 October, 2008. To buy tickets, please click on the link below.
last updated: 23/10/2008 at 15:39