Ollie English fulfils a dream when he performs at WOMADelaide in 2019.
Last year Ollie English broke a four-year hiatus from music by releasing not one, but two singles that have put the Adelaide singer-songwriter back in the spotlight.
The release of 'How Many Times' in March, followed by 'Holy Water' in September has catapulted Ollie back to national attention, earning him a Blues & Roots People's Choice Award at the 2018 South Australian Music (SAM) Awards, among a slew of other achievements and nominations during the year. “It's hard, but if I can nail it down it's been full of energy,” Ollie says of 2018.
“It's been full of a lot of highs and lows, but a lot of highs musically. It's been full-on and there's been a good pressure with getting on the stage, playing more shows and singing in front of more people.
“I'm feeling really good and positive; I play with an incredible band who work really hard and it's always great to be surrounded by really supportive and beautiful people.”
Ollie's successful return to writing and performing came after an extended period of soul-searching that he says only ended after he came to terms with his varied influences and the type of artist he wanted to become.
“It took me a long time to really work out what I wanted to do, and a lot of road blocks got in the way of putting things out; a lot of things nearly got there then didn't,” he explains.
“A lot of it was about self-discovery for music, going out to play lots of shows and working out what I want to do, how I want to sound and what's me – the most important question was I wanted to put out music that was me.
“I wasn't trying to be anything else, so I wanted to do something that encapsulated all of my passions: rock, soul, funk and folk – I didn't want to shut-off anything.”
In 2019, Ollie is capitalising on his success last year with the release of a new single, due in February. Beyond that, Ollie achieves one of his lifelong dreams when he performs with his full band as part of WOMADelaide. “It's my first time playing at WOMADelaide and it's a dream come true, I couldn't put it any other way,” Ollie says.
“I say that as a singer-songwriter and performer, and as someone who attended WOMADelaide pretty much every year and went as a child as well. Before I even considered a musical career I was attracted to WOMADelaide because it was such an incredible and diverse environment of world music. I couldn't talk more about it, I'm very proud and grateful.”
With WOMADelaide getting ever-closer, Ollie says he and the band are already hard at it preparing for the show. “It'll be an energetic performance; it will be full of fun, full of passion, and I'll get up there and give it 110 per cent, like every performance we do,” he says.
“We'll just get up there, really soak it up, enjoy it and give it the best we've got. I think audiences can expect a big band when they come along to the show because we'll have nine performers onstage at WOMADelaide – so four back-up singers and then the full band. It's going to be massive.”
Ollie English plays WOMADelaide, which takes place at Botanic Park (Adelaide) 8-11 March.