I have a fond early memory from when I was about three years old growing up in Western Sydney in pre-school singing along to a song and dancing in front of the class. It felt natural and i was comfortable and confident about it. As i grew up being on stage took a back seat while I dreamed of being a soccer player for Australia or a writer of fictional horror stories. As it turns out I was nowhere near good enough to play sport professionally and novels were a bit long and time-consuming. I enjoyed playing soccer on the weekends and occasionally i would write a poem that was good enough to blu tac on to the back of the toilet door. I moved up to The Central Coast when I was 9 eventually trading in my westy mullet for a surfy undercut.
The Family Music Business
My uncle and my dad are the type of old school rock n rollers that spent the 70's & 80's dominating the pub scene with high quality concept bands. Many a night I fell asleep to band rehearsals going on downstairs in the lounge room. 60's & 70's rock n roll was infused into my subconscious whilst I slept. My interest in being on stage took hold when my dad started getting me up for guest spots to sing a song i was obsessed with at the time; Chuck Berry's 'Johnny B. Goode'. I watched my dad win over rowdy pub crowds with his voice, funny banter and showmanship that sometimes included dancing on tables or pointing out funny things in the crowd.
High School Band
I was 13 when I started my first band. We called ourselves Sicks Phresh Egz. At first, it was just for a laugh - it was meant to be a comedy act, but once I got the taste for writing songs, my life long love affair with lyrics began and there was no turning back.
At the age of 16, I saved up, bought a guitar and taught myself to play some chords while singing at the same time. EVERYTHING else from that moment forward was second priority to writing new songs and playing the ones I had created. Surfing, soccer, rollerblading and other teenage hobbies all slipped away as I became addicted to playing guitar and singing. My band got pretty good too, we changed our name to Korus and idealised bands like Korn, Primus, Regurgitator and Sepultura. We got out there and played school disco gigs,band comps and parties, we rehearsed every week and wrote new songs together. By the time i finished school i knew i wanted to be a musician for life.
I was a waiter and different cafe's, did some retail and i worked a factory job for a while but I knew i could learn some cover songs and get out there and work as a live musician so i got stuck in to building a repertoire that included Ottis Redding, Paul Simon, Tracey Chapmen, Creedence and Ben Harper and worked hard to earn a good reputation with my cover band working weekends to make some extra money. Covers gigs freed up my week to write, create and focus on my original music that had caught the attention of a local label called Override records and MGM. In 2003 my band powerhouse hard rock band OWENELL released an EP and to launch it, a film clip for the single "Complicated" that featured on Rage and channel V. The band toured interstate slowly building up a live following especially in Sydney headlining venues like The Marquee, The Gaelic Theatre and The Annandale Hotel.
As with most bands at some point the members needed a break so i took the opportunity to focus on some of my more acoustic songs that I really liked but didn't suit the band. In 2007 I started recording with Sydney producer, multi instrumentalist and engineer Michael Carpenter at Love HZ Studio. I recruited my drummer Jeff Doukakis and a few of my other talented musician friends to help me flesh out what would become two EPs The 25 Paper Planes EP (2007) & Pached Up Heart (2008). With these releases embarked on my first Australia wide tour and started to get a little airplay on Triple J with the songs "Twenty Five" & "Last I Heard".
I teamed up with the lovely people at Foghorn Publishing to record my first full length album at Damien Gerrard studios Sydney. Many of the songs were written while travelling across Australia. The album was released in 2009 and was called Something Along Those Lines. The happy love song "My Favourite" featured in the Australian film Surviving Georgia. Another tour around the capital cities of Australia and many rural towns through WA as well as featured live spots on multiple festivals kept me busy right up until my daughter was born in 2010.
The year i became a father i spent a lot of it diving into parenthood and staying closer to home with local covers gigs and adjusting to early morning wake ups and general daily dad duties. It felt like my music was on hold but i managed to gather five songs together that were all about becoming a father and record them with Andy Beck who had helped out on my first album. The EP was only released digitally and handed out to my family and friends on Feb 2011. EP are the initials of my daughter so naming it Welcome EP seemed very appropriate.
Awake With Birds
When i was ready to record my 2nd album the process was a little more stretched out due to the parenting responsibilities. This time i asked Andy Beck to produce the album with me and we spent many hours in the Red Stairs room at Damien Gerrard exploring sounds and different recording techniques on ten songs that overall felt more ambitious than my previous releases. The result was "Awake With Birds" released in 2012. The song "Narrogin Blues" got some airplay on Triple J and the film clip for "Skin On Skin" became a fun and lovely DYI style project that inspired a creative journey between Keren Peter and myself into a world of children's entertainment.
Little Puppet World
As our daughter grew into a toddler it became appropriate to look at children's entertainment as a way of making life more family friendly. Keren had always had big part in the background of all my musical endeavours and now she had a dream to create some children's entertainment that would have a lady bug theme. After many hours of brainstorming and rewriting Keren and I had come up with a live music puppet show called Little Puppet World. It was an instant hit at local markets and preschools and was booked to perform at major festivals like Woodford Folk Festival and The National Folk Festival. Performing for kids is such a buzz and being able to create characters and a story was a fantastic way for me to explore a side of my creativity that i hadn't before. The show still performs and is available for schools, events and festivals using my original songs and keren's amazing hand made staging, costumes and puppets.
Local Covers Gigs
Since 2014 my local covers gigs have been my way of keeping the rent paid and furthering my musical repertoire as a singer and guitarist in a band, duo and as solo. I perform weekly in Sydney, The Central Coast and Newcastle with a broad mixture of classic songs and hidden gems done in my unique acoustic way with plenty of room for improvisation and moving with the vibe of the audience from chilled out to party mode.
Custom Made Songs
Every song I write means something special to me and I feel so grateful to be able to express myself in this way through the dark times and in the happiest of times as well. I really have so much to be thankful for and I know the best is yet to come!
In July 2019 I launched a new branch of my business, 'Custom Made Songs' (CMS). Offering personalised songs for every type of special occasion.
It's a dream come true to be sharing all of my acquired musical skills to help people extend their love to one another through an original song they can call their own and treasure forever. I have produced and recorded songs for birthdays, anniversaries and weddings.