23-year-old Oscar Corney is an independent singer and songwriter from Cambridge. Having drawn from a wide range of influences he has developed a songwriting style and unique voice. He has done gigs across the UK and has had the opportunity to support acts such as JP Cooper, Lucy Spraggan and Hunter & The Bear. The success of his first EP and the release of his debut single in 2016, both featured on BBC Introducing, gained him recognition and sets at festivals such as The Secret Garden Party.Here’s what Oscar had to say when we got the chance to ask him some questions.
First of all, can you tell us how you got into music?
“I was pretty much always playing the guitar from about the age of 16, that’s were my love for guitar music and band’s pretty much started. The band I was in finished when everyone dispersed to university when we were 17/18. After the band split I had about 6 months of doing nothing with music at all, I only played a bit of guitar in my room. Somehow and somewhere along the line came the decision to start to sing and write music it was a spur of the moment thing one day and ever since then it’s snowballed, and I’ve carried on ever since”
How supportive have your friends and family been?
“I’ve got quite a small tight unit of friends but through music especially my local scene in Cambridge you meet so many good people it’s such a supportive music scene where everyone jumps on the bandwagon and helps everyone out. My family support has always been there, my dad is very musical, he’s my number one fan and he’s my go to person, he rarely misses a gig. I can’t complain with the support I get really”
Is your dad one that wears one of your merchandise t-shirts and is in the crowd telling everyone you’re his son?
“Yeah, he’s that dad but they are the best ones to have”
Where do your ideas for song’s come from?
“Mainly through experiences, I feel like the song’s I connect to the most and are the easiest to write are the ones where there is a definite feel or emotion to it, I feel the song kind of writes itself and every time you play one of them kind of songs to me it doesn’t feel like you’re just playing just another song, you can actually jump into it and connect with it which to me I feel is where the best songs come from”
Have you got a favourite gig you have played?
“There’s a little, well I say little it’s pretty big it’s a day festival in Cambridge called Strawberry Fair which loads of people go to each year especially this year as it was so bloody hot! We did an evening slot and we packed out the tent we were playing in and it was the first time I was with my full band so we put on the biggest show we could and everything just came together, the crowd, the energy, people were singing the songs it was the first time we’ve had a big response like that. I’m still on a high from that now two months later, it was brilliant. I mean we’ve had a few great gig’s like that but none where I felt like I did that day”
Is there a gig you’ve done that didn’t go so well?
“Yeah massively! where do I start, there was one I can’t remember the venue, it was going to this sports bar, there was a venue downstairs in this bar which unless you knew the bar very well you wouldn’t know down stairs existed unless it had a massive neon sign saying ‘Venue Downstairs’. There was three people that were meant to be on the bill but only two of us turned up each with our girlfriends and it turns out all we did was play to each other and the girlfriends, no one turned up even the sound man didn’t. It was one of them gigs where you sat there and thought ‘what am I
doing here’ but we stayed and try to make something of it, I mean it turned out to be quite fun, but I can’t say I would want to play in that place ever again”
What have been your highlight’s so far?
“We’ve got quite a big award ceremony around my area called NMG Awards which I picked up ‘Best Male Solo Artist’ a couple of years ago which was a bit of a shock because I wasn’t pursuing music as much as I am now but back then to get recognition was mad. I’d also say Fender Undiscovered 2017 competition, I got through to the semi final on that one and that was a great experience, I got to meet some wicked people through that. I’ve also done some collaborations with some electronic artists such as Keeno who’s signed to Med School Music and Hospital Records that was mad, I’ve also realised a track with Sony with a guy called Moe Aly which was great. They are all highlights to me because they get me away from my day job”
What is your favourite song to play live?
“At the minuet I would have to say the single which was released on 14th September which is ‘World Alive’ when I play that with the band it always gets received so well and it’s just great to play”
You’ve mentioned about your new single ‘World Alive’ can you tell us a bit more about it
“That track was one of them ones that came out of no where really, the head space I was in at the time of writing that song was pretty contrast to how the song sounds. I was single, hating on myself and I couldn’t really pick myself up and get on with things, I was yearning for a bigger and better life but like everyone does from time to time you get stuck in your little routines. That’s what it’s about really you want to get out without getting burnt”
Describe your music in three words
“That’s a tough one, I’d say easy, uplifting & infectious”
Is there anymore music you’re planning to release soon?
“Yes, there should be a lot coming out this year after this single I’ve got another one ready to be released. I’m sitting on quite a lot of songs, but it changes like the weather one minute I want to release one then I don’t. But there is more material coming out towards winter time hopefully, so people should keep an eye out as there is a lot more stuff on its way”
What is the music scene like where you’re from?
“Cambridge is a ridiculously good scene, even when I was in bands at 16 like the level of musicians coming out of there is mad and the variety as well, there isn’t just one genetic indie scene we’ve got killer rock bands and a lot of female singer/songwriters which is wicked to see. Like I said everyone as well goes to each other’s gigs too, everyone is so supportive it’s like a little musical family. Being a part of that scene for so long you have no doubt when you play a Cambridge show it’s going to be great and a good laugh. The younger bands that are coming through now you can tell they are going to do some seriously big things, it’s great rather than living in bigger places where the ponds are a bit bigger and you don’t get to swim around and see everyone, it’s nice to have that close family tight-knit scene”
Is there any funny or interesting gig stories you can share with us?
“There are so many I can’t put my finger on just one, there are loads! too many to even try and think of just one to say”
What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
“For the rest of this year we are going to keep doing gigs, we’ve got quite a few cool ones lined up and some collaborations on their way with some of the electronic artists. Hopefully to get another release out by Autumn time as well, I’m also hoping to start edging towards some sort of management as that’s my next sort of big step to get a bit of a team together and give it a bigger push going through to 2019”
If you could collaborate with any artist or band who would it be and why?
“This is a tough one, I will go for someone who I’ve listened to a lot recently he’s a US rapper that goes by the name of Yelawolf, he has this wicked almost country rap sound but it’s not cheesy it’s quite gritty and I love it. If I could ever envision what I would like rap to be like it would be him, I’d love to collaborate with him and do something a little bit different”
What was your first gig you went to and how much did it inspire you in wanting to make music?
“I’d say the first live music I ever saw was when my dad was in a Funk band, it was a 12-piece band with a full brass section. I’d just pick up the guitar at that point but seeing live music like that kicked off what I wanted to do as a musician”
By Siân Parker