Kelly Oliver is a folk singer-songwriter based in Hertfordshire, UK. She has a naturally beautiful and delicate voice which captivates you instantly and has been described as “an emerging voice in British Folk Music”. In 2014, she received four star reviews for her debut album This Land, for which she received a ‘Help Musicians UK Financial Award’ to fund it.
In addition to releasing her debut album, Oliver has performed alongside the likes of Cara Dillion, The Young ‘Uns, Chris and Kellie While, Miranda Sykes, Rex Preston, and The Urban Folk Quartet, as well as headlining her own solo gigs. In her live performances, she has had the opportunity to perform live with Dave Swarbrick who said “Kelly has the vocal skills and an exquisite voice to boot. For one so young to have such a grasp of life’s travails is unusual. I like Kelly Oliver’s approach to the present and the past and I predict a glittering future for her”.
She has also performed with fellow emerging artists such as Sunjay, Luke Jackson; who was featured on her single “Diamond Girl” which was released May 11, Lukas Drinkwater, Ciaran Algar and Tobias Ben Jacob. Kelly Oliver has a pure natural voice and is definitely regenerating folk music and putting a modern take on the music genre. She has covered songs from Bob Dylan and Steve Earle and she has also released Celtic inspired tracks “Caledonia” and “Mary and the Soldier” to critical acclaim.
Whispering Bob Harris described her music as “brand new, beautiful music, its lovely isn’t it? It REALLY is… Kelly Oliver is an emerging voice in British Folk Music” on his ‘Under the Apple Tree’ radio show, where she has been a guest star three times. Oliver has also featured on Jon Earl’s ‘Songs from the Shed’, Balcony TV, Sessions with Ruth Barnes on Amazing Radio, Three Countries Radio, BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music with Chris Hawkins who said about her music, “fabulously gifted… something special… delightful fresh new talent with a future take on traditional folk”.
Alongside headlining her own shows, she performed at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2013 and 2014 for Hitchin Folk Club, most recently at Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ in Axminster, and has also performed live on Norwich’s Mustard TV and London Live TV. With her interesting original songs, this young award winning acoustic singer-songwriter has proved just how hard working she really is, by touring across the country over the summer. Many who have seen her live have described her as a relaxed singer for her age whose performance is described as being inspiring, entertaining and flawless. The Times has reviewed her live set and said she was “blending traditional values with bold indie pop sensibility”.
Kelly is currently working on her second album which is due to be released sometime in March 2016 and is releasing a double A side single on September 26, which will feature her two new tracks “Rio” and “Same World”, these tracks will also be featuring on her second album. For the second album, she is working alongside producer Lauren Deakin Davies who produced Kelly’s debut album and first single to be played on BBC Radio 2, “Diamond Girl” and celebrated producers Nigel Stonier (Thea Gilmore) and Stu Hanna (Megson, Lucy Ward).
Kelly’s track “Same World” is a very delicate and therapeutic song and you can hear how naturally, singing comes to her. It’s a very mellow sound and instantly makes you feel comfortable and it is very easy listening. As the song progresses, the overwhelming sense to sway along to it puts a smile on your face. It is very much a song that you could quite easily listen to over and over without the possibility of it being ‘over played’. It does suck you in from the start and it is true that you don’t have to listen to folk music to appreciate a song like this. The track is written by Kelly Oliver and produced by Stu Hanna with both Stu and Debbie from Megson on backing vocals.
Her second new track “Rio” is very different from “Same World”. With “Same World” being as you would typically expect from folk music, for example mellow, chilled out, soothing, “Rio” is the opposite, with it being very upbeat and summery. It is very fast paced and it does make you want to jump around to it. Even though it is very fast paced compared to “Same World”, you don’t lose her delicate voice, she doesn’t get lost in the tempo which is very refreshing. It shows that she can adapt very easily. With much of the UK having a not so decent summer I think this song is being released at the right time as it is very light and energetic and reminds you of summer times having fun in the sun. This track is co-written with Nigel Stonier with Thea Gilmore on backing vocals.
According to Music Crown, “Kelly’s brand of folk is so accessible that you don’t need to be a ‘strictly folk’ music junky to enjoy her music. If you like a beautiful voice, lyrics from the heart and warm melodies then Kelly Oliver deserves your attention”, and we couldn’t agree more, enjoy her two new single “Rio” and “Small World” exclusively here. Keep Tabs on Kelly Oliver on Facebook and Twitter.
Words by Amanda Duncs