Musician OLLIE GABRIEL Discusses His Favorite Artists, Making The Video For His Single ‘Running Man’ And More!
Posted On 18 Sep 2017
OLLIE GABRIEL is spearheading a new soul movement. Having cracked the code for an authentic catchy sound, paired with meaningful and relatable lyricism, Ollie has been compared to the likes of James Brown and Otis Redding.
He creates music that is both fun and of substance, a rarity in music today. “I think that today there isn’t enough music that makes people happy”, Ollie states. “I’m not a preacher nor a saint but my songs come from a place of joy, deep love and a lot of happiness”.
Hailing from a small town in Louisiana, Ollie Gabriel grew up in a family of artists. As a child he listened to soul stars like Bobby Womack and Tyrone Davis. He would hear his parents playing those records in the living room, which entranced him and made him want to try everything. Drums, church organ, guitar, trombone, and singing – he learned to play it all in his school band and at church.
“Like most I wanted to be Michael Jackson as a young kid, I wanted that power to move people emotionally. The biggest thing that I learned from my idols is that it is not about trying to copy something, but about creating something unique. I’m a lover of all things music and my knowledge of music usually surprises people, who don’t expect me to know certain songs or groups. I fell in love with Motown. I liked the gritty street soul music of Curtis Mayfield and those types. I’m also a big fan of bands like Metallica, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. I appreciate music of various different genres. From artists like Garth Brooks to Tupac and Biggie – it is the diversity that has made me into the artist that I am today.”
After his move to Los Angeles, Ollie continued to work tirelessly towards his goals. Soon he was securing music placed in ads and on TV networks such as NBC, MTV and TNT. He has had hundreds of synch placements to date.
“My story is one of perseverance, determination and patience. I had a lot of obstacles and made many mistakes along the way, but I’ve been lucky enough to grow stronger through everything” admits Ollie.
Last year he was selected out of thousands by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for its Grammy Next Program, which supports aspiring artists. Following in the footsteps of many international stars, he decided to go to Europe and debut his freshmen EP there.
“Europe has always embraced soulful music and many US artists have started there before they became famous in the states. So, I feel very excited that I got to debut my music in Europe first”.
In February of last year, he released his single “Running Man” to massive success. Distributed by Sony Music via Jive Germany, the single was an instant radio hit. “Running Man” charted at #5 in Austria, top 20 in Switzerland, and in the top 30 in Germany. Despite him not even being in the region very long, he entered the top 40 on the iTunes charts, and generated over 2 million Youtube views. Throughout 2016 Ollie was performing all over GSA on several of the most popular televised shows and events, as well as live performances at radio festivals playing in front of over 40,000 fans. “Running Man” also hit the top 10 on the German Spotify’s top hit’s playlist, and to this day has garnered over 10 million streams. He returned to the states in November of 2016 with his goals set on dominating his home country, the USA.
With a good portion of earned laurels and a lot of experience, Ollie is now ready to release his debut single “RUNNING MAN“ in the USA. The single is a highly infectious anthem about following your dreams and overcoming obstacles. That is the message the video for the single carries as well. The video shows the Paralympic athlete Blake Leeper. Leeper was born missing both of his lower legs, yet the American was equipped with prosthetics at the age of 9 months. At the Paralympic Games in London in 2012, Blake managed to earn a silver and a bronze medal, in two different sprint disciplines – there is not a more obvious and authentic metaphor for Gabriel’s message. “I can only imagine how many times he’s been told he can’t do something. But look at what he’s done!” “Running Man” is directed at everybody who has big goals and feels disheartened or alone on the their way there. “I hope that this song pushes someone to keep going.“
Learn more about Ollie Gabriel in the following All Access interview:
How has 2017 been treating you? Musically, did you approach this year any differently then you did last year?
Hey! Thanks for having me! 2017 has been awesome. I feel like each year that passes is progressively better, So i feel great about that! Musically I’m Always staying open, but this year, I’m definitely feeling that I wanna really bridge the gap between soul music and the mainstream.
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What kind of music do you listen to when you are working? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
Today I am out at the beach, writing this from an RV. Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs Jones”, just ended! I like to listen to all types of music really, I’m so unpredictable when it comes to that. I think my fav good mood music is 80s fight music lol
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
My first time singing at church with the microphone I was probably 8, i fell in love with the energy from the crowd and the excitement in the room. I knew then I had found my calling.
If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
I’m really passionate about educating our youth, I would probably be a teacher.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown has affected who you are as a musician and the art that you create? What was it like moving to LA and how did it change you as an artist?
Growing up in southwestern Louisiana is a unique flavor that you won’t find anywhere else. You got a lot of history, tradition, and music. That definitely rubbed off on me and I think the diversity of influences is what makes my music special. I’ve been in LA awhile now, so I think it definitely broadened my perspective!
Let’s talk about your single called “Running Man.” What was the inspiration for this track? How do you think this song prepares listeners for more music by you?
Running man was written at a time when I wasn’t sure what was happening in my career. it was almost like my own encouragement, took about 10 minutes to write. I think it’s a good introduction to my vocal style and also my personality.
What was it like making the video for “Running Man”? How creatively involved were you with the making of it?
I’m actually a very visual artist so I knew exactly what I wanted to video to look like pretty much immediately after writing it. I knew that I wanted to portray A literal sense of someone being told they couldn’t run. Over a few months later, It turned out a friend of mine new Blake Leeper, they love the concept that I created and The rest is history.
When do you hope to release more new music and an EP or full-length of new songs?
The plan is that my next single “Bae” will be released within the next 2 months. I’m really just focusing on releasing singles, I just want my fans to feel like they are always getting consistent quality music.
What was it like being selected by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for its Grammy Next Program last year?
I mean that’s really cool, of course! Anytime you can get recognition by an authority like The Grammys. It just lets me know I’m headed in the right direction
Can you remember the first time you heard one of your songs on TV? What was that feeling like for you?
Yeah I kinda freaked out! It was definitely a milestone moment. I thought of myself as a kid in Louisiana watching TV and really believing that my songs would be playing one day.
What are your plans for the rest of this summer?
I plan on being really busy, just performing and locking down my stage show. I really think 2018 will be a breakout year touring wise. Do you have any plans to play out live at all?
How do you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today?
It’s really that feeling that you feel when you’re in the moment, and you really feel guided by the universe. For me I feel that in the studio, and when I’m performing on stage.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
That’s always such a hard question for me because so much of what I’ve heard has an influenced me. Of course the soul legends Otis Redding, James brown… etc. That 60s and 70s era of soul and classic rock, that music always inspires me. Now I’m really inspired by Kendrick Lamar, Chance The Rapper and The Chainsmokers. I would love to work with all of them!
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I will people to walk away inspired and feeling good. There’s so much negativity and darkness, in the world I want my music to be uplifting for the most part.
What advice would you give to someone just getting started on this music path? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
I would say the things that I’ve learned is no matter what you do if you have a clear plan and you believe it and you work it, then you will be successful. If I’m asked by musicians, my advice is always speak your truth in the music. We need more Innovation and authenticity.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I want to say thank you for supporting my music and please feel free to reach out to me at www.olliegabriel.com