• SALUTE: Where did you grow up? What was it like?

I was born in north-east London but I moved to Lewes, a town in the south-east, shortly after I started school. I’m only 16 so I’m still “growing up” there now. Lewes is mostly middle class, and although the inhabitants would like to think it is a diverse community, realistically it is not. But there doesn’t seem to be any overt discrimination—me and my brother live with our two mothers and face no problems. However, there is a divide between the ‘Lewesians’ and the people that just live there. Lewes is great for many people, and I was lucky to be one of the ones that benefitted from a sheltered upbringing, but I was uncomfortable with it.

  • SALUTE: What’s the local music scene like in Lewes? Are there other musicians that you can collaborate with in town?
The local music scene in Lewes is… alright. It’s better for adults – there are loads of opportunities to play at local pubs and other venues but for young people it’s a bit more limited. There’s an organisation called Starfish which anyone can join, although it’s centered around young people, and they put you into bands and put on gigs for you to perform. However it’s pretty small so the waiting list is always massive, and you’re unlikely to make a career out of that alone. My brother does it, and it’s a fun hobby, but realistically it’s not gonna kickstart your music career.
  • SALUTE: What do you think the prospects are like for people your age trying to make a career out of music? Do you have any local success stories of musicians from Lewes doing well?
I don’t know how bright the career prospects are for aspiring musicians, it’s hard to get started and get people listening to your music. Although Passenger went to my college, and he had a massive hit with Let Her Go, so maybe I’m just being skeptical.

  • SALUTE: How did you get started making music?

I started piano lessons when I was 7, soon after we moved from London, and a piano teacher I had when I was about 10 was a professional composer. He taught me how to use music software like Logic Pro and GarageBand and helped me write my own stuff—it sounded like what you would expect a piece written by a 10-year-old and produced by a professional to sound like. Fast forward a couple of years and I hadn’t really written any more music, but I was doing the composition component of my music GCSE. It was my favourite part of the course and sparked a passion for music writing. That was earlier this year and now I write music in my spare time as often as I can.

  • SALUTE: What kind of music did you grow up on?

Mostly what was on the radio. My parents listened to a lot of 80s, but I never liked that stuff. The artist that inspires me the most is definitely the one and only Kanye West. I love all of his albums, and what strikes me the most about them is how well you can hear the person behind the music. He’s such a complex character and he’s always misunderstood. He’s never afraid to bare his soul. Sonically his music is very diverse; ranging from classic hip-hop to auto-tuned electro-pop, he takes on many styles. The character, variety, and boldness of his music are what I like the most, and is something I try to bring to my own music.

  • SALUTE: Did you go out much to live music or dances growing up?

No. I’ve never been to a concert, apart from two live performances of the music of Star Wars and Doctor Who. I’m going to my first gig in November with my friend, but I’m mostly going because he didn’t want to go on his own—I don’t really know the band. Live music isn’t a big part of how I experience music.

  • SALUTE: Did you discover a lot of music through the internet?

Isn’t that the only way us “millennials” discover anything? I stream all my music, so I discover new artists through streaming platforms.

  • SALUTE: When did you write your first song?

The compositions I did on my music GCSE course were the first songs I wrote. I entered them both into the Salute competition: “The Final Bridge” and “Our Way”, which I consider to be the first proper non-instrumental ‘song’ I wrote.

  • SALUTE: What gear do you use for production?

Ah…this is somewhat embarrassing. My ‘studio’ is comprised of my MacBook, with GarageBand, and a MIDI keyboard. That’s it. An incredibly modest set-up, but I’ve literally just this summer got involved with making music regularly at home, so I have a lot to learn about music tech. Actually two of the pieces I entered, “Simple Rules” and “Summertime”, were produced without the MIDI keyboard—the MIDI cable is a recent addition. I borrowed a friend’s microphone to record the vocals. I would hate for anyone to judge my passion of skill for music on this information though, as I have every intention of getting my hands of some proper gear as soon as I can. I’m taking Music Tech at college for that exact reason.

 

  • SALUTE: What do you think of the SALUTE initiative and competition? What made you decide to showcase your music for the first time with SALUTE?

Honestly, it was by chance. The SALUTE Instagram appeared on my feed one day, and in my pessimistic mindset I nearly ignored it, but for once I allowed myself to hope something good would come out of my efforts to pursue a career in music. I think what SALUTE can offer unsigned artists is amazing—the exposure, having professionals listen to your music, and the focus put on the individual artist. I entered SALUTE to get my music out there, and I hope that it will do just that.

 

FOLLOW Oliver @

Soundcloud

Bitnami