Kelly Oliver is a talented young lady, she's been gigging for less than year and has already made a name for herself on the UK folk scene.
We caught up with Kelly at the Knebworth Food Festival, Kelly was just about to take the 'Pepsi Challenge', prior to her being blindfolded and filled with brown fizzy liquid prior to making some important decisions, we asked her some questions, here's how it went....
Welcome to the Musicmuso Introducing feature, often referred to as ‘The Theatre of Dreams’…..please tell us about yourself
I'm a folk singer/songwriter, guitarist and harmonicist from Hertfordshire. I'm a graduate from Royal Holloway, University of London and I'm currently gigging and making music to progress in the UK folk scene.
You’re signed to Folkstock Records, tell us how this came about?
I won a singer/songwriter competition to open the Folkstock Presents Stage at the Folkstock Festival last September, and it was through this that the organiser Helen Meissner heard me, and offered me a recording arrangement with her boutique label Folkstock Records. My debut EP 'Far From Home' was recorded and produced by Lauren Deakin Davies, Helen's daughter.
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
It was when I was just starting out and for every 20 emails I sent, I might have received two back! My mum said that it doesn't matter how many times you get a 'no', because you only need one 'yes'. She's absolutely right! I always think about that and it helps me to shrug off rejection, and move on to the next challenge.
How has social media platforms helped you in your career so far?
It's helped kickstart a lot of opportunities, and is such a useful way for me to promote everything I'm doing at the moment. It was essential for me at the beginning, and I've also found it's a great way to meet other musicians that I otherwise wouldn't have come across.
You only starting gigging in May 2013 and have made quite a name for yourself already, when did you realise that you wanted to be a performer?
It was about two months before, when I was away travelling in Brazil and Argentina! I'd been singing since I was young, but it wasn't until I was away that I decided I wanted to give playing music a try.
What was the first song you ever learned to play?
Everybody Hurts by REM! Probably the easiest thing to play on the guitar, but I was so pleased with myself when I learnt it!
You are booked for a session at Bob Harris's film company, ‘Whispering Bob's Broadcasting Company’ in May, what are you planning on doing/performing?
I'm going to play a cover and an original track. The original track will be one from my upcoming album, and one that we will likely release as a single. I'm not sure about the cover yet - this is an amazing opportunity so I want to choose wisely! Watch this space!
Any albums in your collection that you possibly regret buying?
I actually regret buying the Walk The Line film soundtrack, because even though I love every song on there, I'm so used to hearing Joaquin Pheonix and Reese Witherspoon's voices on the songs, that I don't appreciate Johnny Cash and June Carter's original versions now! Which is sacrilege really...
Favourite book and also last book you read?
A tough question! I'm a big fan of classics so it's between To Kill A Mockingbird and Pride and Prejudice. I'm currently reading The Count of Monte Cristo, and it's looking likely to take the 'favourite book' title...
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
The songs that will feature on my first album all explore more hard hitting subjects, so it would probably be Lisa Simpson as she seems to have an opinion on everything!
Who would you like to know has your music on their iPod/MP3 player/cassette walkman?
I'm really into The Staves at the moment; I think their music is so pristinely crafted and so I'd be really pleased to know they were listening to my music.
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Jolene by Dolly Parton; she's one of my heroes and 'Jolene' has been covered so many times that to have written and recorded the original and know that you've inspired so many other musicians with the song would be amazing.
Which 3 albums would you take to a desert island?
- Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill
- Alt -J - An Awesome Wave
- Andy Irvine and Paul Brady's self titled album
What was the first ever gig you went to?
I think it might have been a Daniel O' Donnell gig with my mum and grandmother! I remember the first big gig I went to was to see the All American Rejects, and I didn't like it because it was too packed! I'm useless.
You collaborated with Will Pound on ‘He Walked on the Side of the Sea’, how did this come about?
It was through Twitter really. I had listened to Will already because of his harmonica playing, and then my manager just approached him and asked if he would collaborate on a song of mine and he agreed.
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
My friend and producer's band Delora are playing at the Isle of Wight festival this summer, so keep a look out for them definitely! BBC Folk Award Nominees Luke Jackson and Sunjay Brayne are two others that I've collaborated with and are definitely worth listening to and seeing live. Local artists like Fred's House, Nick and the Sun Machine and Marina Florance also played at the Folkstock Festival last year and are all doing very well at the moment.
Would you rather fight 1 dinosaur sized chicken or 10 chicken sized dinosaurs?
1 dinosaur sized chicken, although it would probably peck my head off in the first minute and then where would I be.
What items are on your rider?
Haha I don't have a rider! I only ever ask for tap water at gigs! My fantasy rider list would probably include strawberry scented candles floating in a small bowl of rosewater, to calm my nerves before going on stage, that's suitably pretentious isn't it?
You’re set to support Emma Stevens on May 6th at a ‘house concert’, are you planning on chatting to Emma to get some tips on meeting Radio 2’s Chris Evans and boosting your career?
If she would give me any I'd be happy to hear them!
What is your favourite venue to play and why?
Hitchin Folk Club definitely - it was the first folk club I ever played at and is one of the most prestigious in the UK. I love the atmosphere there, the venue, the stage - everything.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?
I have some festivals and gigs lined up for the summer, including FolkEast festival on Sat 16th August and the Green Note in Camden on 2nd June supporting Ewan Mclennan. I'm also going to start work on my album over the summer, and more gigs are being planned for when it's released in the autumn. I'm looking forward to it all!
Kelly was having some trouble choosing which she thought was the better tasting brown fizzy liquid, I had a sneaky look under the table and could see that the rotters had only gone and filled BOTH glasses with the same brand of brown fizzy liquid....a downright fix in my opinion, despite this insider knowledge (which I held back from Kelly), I continued the interview with some 'quick fire' questions for her to mull over....
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Coke or Pepsi? Coke
Drum machine or the real deal? The real deal!
Mac or PC? PC
Meryl Streep or Jennifer Lawrence? Meryl Streep
Fry up or Sunday roast? Fry up!
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)? Ozzy
CD or Vinyl? CD
Car or Motorbike? Car
Acoustic or electric? Acoustic!
Shower or Bath? Shower
BBQ or Sit down dinner? Sit down dinner
Tattoos or Piercings? Tattoos
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino? Robert De Niro
God or Google? God!
You've read this far, why not freshen up your cup of tea and check out some of her social media sites, being the nice people that we are, we have listed some below for you, all you need to do is 'click' on them and enjoy....
Twitter - @kellyoliverfolk
FORTHCOMING LIVE DATES
*Thurs 24th April – South Street Arts Centre, Reading, RG1 4QU,8pm//one song performance with Dave Swarbrick
*Fri 25th April – Red Roaster, Brighton BN2 1RE, 8pm // with Ellie Ford and Stevie Ray Latham
*Sat 26th April – ‘Fight for Every Heartbeat’ charity exhibition, Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, SG1 1LZ, 6:30pm
*Mon 28th April – Chesham Folk Club, White Hill Centre, Chesham, Buckinghamshire HP5 1AG, 8:15pm
*Wed 7th May – Red Lion Folk Club, The Red Lion,Vicarage Road, Birmingham, B14 7LY, 7:45pm // supporting the Joe Topping Trio
*Fri 23rd May – Vic Folk, The Victoria Barn, 1 Ickleford Road, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1TJ, 7:30pm
*Sat 24th May – The Public Halls, Harpenden, AL5 1PD, 7:30pm //opening for Dave Swarbrick and Said the Maiden
*Mon 2nd June – Green Note, 106 Parkway, Camden, London, NW1 7AN, 7pm // supporting Ewan McLennan
*Tues 3rd June – Headlining at NAF Club, The George, Silsoe, MK45 4EP, 8pm
*Fri 6th June – House concert supporting Emma Stevens // private function
*Sun 15th June - Wimborne Folk Festival, The Allendale Centre, Wimborne, BH21 1AS
*Sat 17th July – Dacorum Folk Festival, Boxmoor Playhouse, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1NP
*Sat 16th August – FolkEast Festival, Glemham Hall, Suffolk, IP13 0BT
*Sun 31st August – Wilkestock Festival, Frogmore Hill, Hertford, SG14 3RR
*Sat 13th September – Falling Leaves Folk Festival, Annesley Old Church, Annesley, Nottinghamshire, NG15 0AS
*Wed 17th September – Ely Folk Club, The Old Dispensary, Ely, CB7 4ER, 8pm // supporting The Young’uns
*Fri 17th October – Cambridge Folk Club, The Golden Hind, Camb, CB4 1SP, 7:30pm // supporting Sunjay Brayne
*Sat 15th November – Dunton Folk Club, St Mary Magdalene Church, Dunton, SG18 4RR, 7:30pm // supporting Liz Simcock
Musicmuso would like to thank Kelly for taking time out of her busy day to sit and pore through the umpteen questions that we sent her, we look forward to hearing about more newsworthy items from Kelly and wish her every success in the future.
Interview by Steve Muscutt