We asked versatile newcomer Oscar Welsh more about his new music and how he makes it all come together so perfectly…
At 18-year-old, Oscar Welsh has quickly established himself as an artist to watch this year with his acclaimed debut EP ‘Vernal’, racking up wide-scale press and streaming support.
Says the young singer-songwriter who has been growing his fan base across South East Asia and hitting those Top 10 charts.
“I want to make something that’s totally new. I wanna make stuff that people listen to and go, ‘What the f*ck is that?!’”
‘Sixteen’ released last June has had over 1.5 million streams to date, while his latest song ‘Avery’ is charting at over 200k counts.
Indeed, with the fresh-eye ‘YOLO’ ability and aptitude to dabble with music production and beat-making programmes, Oscar is also one of an exciting group of musicians right now with the ability to translate the feeling of being young during a very specific moment in history to the wider world.
“The funnest part to me was finding out that anyone can just download Logic and make music – which is what I did. I learnt how to make beats, and I’d put things on a Soundcloud for feedback. There are no barriers now, and nothing standing between you sitting down, learning how to do something on your laptop and creating something.”
We spoke to the talented young artist to ask him more about his texturally beautiful new single “Avery”, his self-taught music production process, his fascination with Stevie Wonder, and what it’s like to come from the same town as Ed Sheeran.
AL365: Hi Oscar, Vanessa here from AsiaLive365. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We heard that it’s quite rough in the UK right now. Are you alright? How are you doing and holding up these Chrimbo holidays? 🙂
Oscar: Been good, I forgot how much fun Christmas was. The U.K. is miserable right now but what can one do? Just been trying to make music.
AL365: Congrats on the new single ‘Avery’. We absolutely love how it all comes together; the opening of the track is so lovely. What was it inspired by?
Oscar: It was kind of written alongside me getting a new puppy (named Avery), so I guess it was just the product of me chilling with my pup while I was playing the piano, sometimes he’d just come up and sit at my feet when I was playing an instrument, and he’d just listen.
AL365: As a fan of Stevie Wonder, what would you say still remains your favourite Stevie Wonder song or what was the first song that you heard from him that inspired you to start writing your own music?
Oscar: ‘I Wish’ is a slapper. I dove deep into the musical theory of this song one day and I was opened up to a bunch of dissonant harmonies, which really made me rethink how little I actually know about musical theory. Jacob Collier has spoken about how Stevie Wonder uses complicated harmonic techniques to make very dissonant/weird chords sound somewhat familiar, it’s such an easy song to listen to, but the average listener doesn’t know/would never question that he’s using such unique musical theory. In my room right now I’m listening to ‘Have a talk of God’ which manages to sound as cool as a sampled retro Hip Hop beat but has a religious meaning – absolute genius.
AL365: We heard that you’re from the same town and went to the same school as Ed Sheeran. What’s that like? Is he really huge where you are?
Oscar: Yeah everyone loves him, he’s great, he’s done loads to help out the place where I’m from, including charities and supporting local artists. Which is so cool, I would love to do a similar thing if I make it to that level.
AL365: Given the plethora of genres that you listen to – who’s on your playlist right now?
Oscar: Really interestingly I had just got into MFDOOM a lot around October/November, before we knew he had died on Halloween which is really sad. Along with DOOM there’s all the other producers/rappers in that originally underground Hip Hop world that I like – Madlib, Quasimoto, De La Soul, J Dilla. And then some of the old legends – Kool G, Biggie, A tribe called quest, Wu Tang Clan, NWA etc etc
AL365: You love splicing and experimenting with production – tell us…what’s your music writing and music-making process like?
Oscar: I have a vinyl player now so I connect it up to my laptop and sample it sometimes, using vinyl scratching and sampling various Motown sounds. That can be really inspiring. Generally another big part of my process is staying up super late to the point where I’m uncomfortably tired, and when my brain is in anguish from sleep deprivation that’s when I’ll make the best stuff.
AL365: We understand that you’re now learning classical pieces on the piano. How’s that going? Do you play other instruments besides the piano?
Oscar: Yeah learning old stuff on the piano is great, I always say that my theory is that older artists were a lot more talented in some ways than artists are now, and that applies going back eras such as classical music etc, like classical composers needed to be incredible in order produce entire symphonies – it took me a year to make an EP ! So learning their stuff is a really good way to improve because they were way smarter than we’ll ever be.
AL365: What is one thing that you’re most thankful for in 2020?
Oscar: Having the privilege to not have had any of my loved ones get harmed by COVID.
AL365: As a young 18-year old music artist – where do you see yourself going from here?
Oscar: I see my music maturing, it’s going to become more complex and deeper with messages as I start to build up a greater amount of influences. A year ago, my taste in music was nowhere near as diverse as it is now, and I hope in another year it will be completely different again.
AL365: Last but not least, seeing as you have no genre barriers, how would you describe your music to a new listener? For instance, introduce yourself right now and describe your music (or style) in 1-2 sentences.
Oscar: I’m Oscar Welsh and I make bedroom pop music. This is kind of like indie pop except it’s produced at home (literally in my bedroom) so has lo-fi production techniques and instrumentation.