Oscar Welsh is breaking out of Suffolk with a smooth, lo-fi take on introspective pop that marks out the 18-year-old a special talent.
Following a tumultuous year that has seen him throw himself into music in lieu of having to sit A Levels and the like, his latest, 'Avery', is an accomplished bop that'll have you trying to remember what you achieved during your spare time as a teenager.
Give it a listen below, and get to know Oscar a bit better, too.
Hi Oscar, how are you doing? What are you up to today?
I just found this random old instant coffee blend amongst a pile of old stuff my grandparents left us. I made a cup of coffee with it, and it is actually surprisingly nice. Very bitter. It's a very grown-up kind of coffee, you know? But I like that, it's perfect for this morning.
What first inspired you to try your hand at making music?
I just found out how simple it was, one of the main breakthroughs was learning how to play Stevie Wonder's 'Superstitious', and I found that the whole song was based on just five notes (the pentatonic scale), and it also happened to be only the black notes. From there, I realised how I could just use black notes to create songs. Now, if someone tells me they can't play the piano I get them to just hit random black notes on the right-hand side of a piano while I play a little harmony on the left-hand side, it always sounds cool.
What were your first steps towards getting your music heard and 'out there'?
I had 'Get Yourself to Sleep' all produced, but then I remember just thinking 'I need a music video' - I didn't care about the video making sense it just needs to look cool. So I thought long and hard what would be cool, came up with this idea of driving around this old car we had in the garage and that we were about to sell. So I got all my mates together, and we made a video, after that, I knew that the song would pop harder at school, as loads of people from school were in the video so showed it around. I went to a nice school, but still, it wasn't so normal to release a song on Spotify, and I think this helped. I remember not many people at school really acknowledging my music, but then as it got played more and more, people started to talk to me about my music, and that spurred me on to release more. I remember knowing that if I released a rubbish song and video, it would be such a risk being at school, but I just had to completely not think about that, and convince myself it was all subjective anyway.
What was the first thing that made you think, hang on, I could really make something of this? Was there a specific moment?
My 18th birthday, 16th January 2020. That day an article got put up on Elevator about me, and that meant a lot of industry pros messaged me to try and get involved. Luckily I spoke to enough good people to realise who was legit and who wasn't, and that's how I chose my managers. After working with my managers for a bit, I found out how hilariously fun the music industry is, and how anyone who says it's impossible to make a living from music now is just wrong. I was told my whole childhood that you can't really make a living off music nowadays - because streaming took over CDs or whatever. I also met a lot of individuals who were aspiring musicians saying that - my managers made me realise that just isn't true.
How have you found 2020 so far? Have you had to bin off many plans?
I wanted to move to London round about now originally, but now there's a second lockdown that would've been a terrible plan. I've had a lot of time to work on my music-making abilities but perhaps lost a few of those social experiences that drive creativity. However, COVID meant that I didn't have to sit my A Levels (I was just awarded the grades for nothing), which meant I had so much more time for music.
What's your new song 'Avery' about? Is Avery a real person?
Avery is a made-up person, a caricature of someone who giggles at the worst of times, and has no appreciation of what other people think. I made this song as our new Dalmatian puppy was chewing at my ankles in my bedroom. My dog reminded me a lot about the person I was singing about - it was meant to be! So I named the pup Avery, and he appears in the music video.
It's from a new EP, right? What can you tell us about that?
Yeah, it's from a new EP, that's coming out at some point spring next year.
Music aside, what do you do for fun?
I skate, play tennis, run, play with my pup. Recently been doing a lot of exercise because I can't even see friends. I also really like going to random awesome places. A lot of the time if I'm with friends and we see something cool go past when we are in the car we will stop and just go see whatever it is. For example, we'll climb random abandoned towers or swim in lakes, that's what's cool about rural Suffolk, you can kind of go wherever you want especially in lockdown you probably won't get caught.
Do you have anything on your musical bucket list for next year? It must be hard to plan at the mo.
I want to play a stupid crazy live show, I want to see loads of fans and just have a fucking stupid hilarious time.
What inspires you, both in music and in life?
I'm inspired by seasons, there's always themes of the weather, equinoxes etc etc in my music. I think my mood changes with the seasons, so new songs come depending on the time of year.
Tell us a secret about yourself?
I've hated every interview except two, and this was one of the ones I didn't hate.
Oscar Welsh's new single 'Avery' is out now.