It’s been almost 4 years since 21-year-old Ollie Brown swapped a cumbersome tuba and a uni degree for a six-string guitar, a notepad and a pen. After a movie script type break, the 6 foot 6 Australian owned the “classic singer songwriter” image as he scribbled, hummed, strummed and busked songs whilst travelling for 6 months in the US only to return as Foyer support for Michael Buble’s 2011 'Crazy Love' Australian tour. So as it was, July this year became the time to record those tales of travels and love on the go so Ollie enlisted the talent of friend and producer Sean Carey (Thirsty Merc) and recorded 8 raw and intimate acoustic tracks for his debut EP release titled Moving On.
Born and raised in the little town of Wangi Wangi on the shores of Lake Macquarie NSW, Brown, the eldest of three was a very musically focused child who spent a decade playing the tuba and trombone and expanding on his classical training. “music’s my refuge, it’s safe, it’s beautiful and it can’t be conquered it’s right up there with food, water and shelter as far as I’m concerned.”
Ollie completed his HSC on a musical scholarship at Newcastle Grammar School and went on to begin a degree in Business/Commerce at the University of Newcastle. After a decision that shocked friends and family the shy tuba player dropped the combined degree and began travelling down the uncertain road of being a paid musician whilst working as a part time laborer to fund some studio time. With a twist of fate working in his favor, Brown’s newly penned songs were heard by his boss and in true “pay it forward” fashion he was offered a break that he never saw coming. “My boss knew that New York was where I wanted to be so he said he’d help me out by getting me there as long as I promised to give it everything and that I would help somebody else one day when I am in a position to. He even turned up with his Fiancée in New York to check that I was keeping up to my end of the bargain!”
So, In 2010, Far from the shores of Lake Macquarie, Brown spent 3 months in Manhattan with his cousin, a Columbia law student and former Manhattan school of Music attendee. The two busked in central park regularly as Ollie embraced the city's influential music scene. “Travelling is an absolute drug for a singer/songwriter, it constantly challenges your outlook on life, people, relationships and makes you feel like the more you know the less you know and that that’s ok…..” Brown explains. The gigging shoes became a little more worn in NYC where Ollie was able to secure some playtime at establishments like the National Underground and the legendary Bitter End on Bleeker st. The then 20 year old artist made tracks to California where he showcased his distinctive guitar style and memorable song writing at venues such as the Milk Bar in San Francisco and the House Of Blues in L.A.
The young troubadour returned home in late 2010 and has since been building his local following supporting The Black Sorrow's in June this year at Lizotte's Newcastle and warming audiences with smaller intimate performances in both Sydney and Newcastle.
August 2011 marks the release of his Debut EP Moving On. This raw, honest acoustic EP is the result of sleepless nights in transit accompanied by countless shows in Australia and the U.S and months of living out of the same suitcase. Moving On is filled with unforgettable melodies, well strummed acoustic guitars and rich, soaring falsettos reminiscent of a young Chris Martin. You'll hear echoes of Ryan Adams and James Taylor at a crossroads where David Gray meets John Mayer. From the folk sounding fiddle in 'Midnight Call' to the uplifting soulful outro in 'Don't Change A Thing', Brown experiments with a variety of different genre's colouring each song with it's own identity. "I tend to be influenced by whatever artists or bands that I'm listening to at the time. I remember consuming Bon iver and Ray LaMontagne's first albums before and during the time in the studio, so i think that the intimacy of those two records rubbed off on to the EP."
With talent and maturity well beyond his years and an eagerly anticipated 2011/2012 summer tour of Australia, Ollie Brown's music career is in itself Moving On.