Oscar Jerome

South London

Tuesday 2nd July 2019

Name, where are you from?
Oscar Jerome. I was born in Norwich but have been based in South London for the last 10 years.

Describe your style in three words?
Colourful, funky, practical.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
In December 2016 I saw the legendary kora player Tata Dindin playing in Gambia alongside a load of other amazing Gambian musicians. It was an amazing experience, the level of musicianship was so high and it was a local crowd, apart from the friends I was with, celebrating his return after Tata not performing for years. The tune I have picked is a lot more chilled than the music that night but I think it’s beautiful.

If you could be on the line up with any two artists in history?
Jimi Hendrix - to see him shred in real life and to ask him where he gets his garms from.
Prince - I think he’s one of the greatest performers of all time and his shows were always pieces of art in their own right. I never got a chance to see him, I think I could have learnt a lot from him.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
When I was a kid I loved grunge and rock music, from the age of about 11 I was rocking out in bands in my parents' garage. Nirvana was a big one for me, also Rage Against the Machine who I loved musically and also really got me interested in writing more political music. 

I used to skateboard a lot when I was a teenager. During that time I really got into hip hop, partly because of my big sister but also because of skate videos and games like Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2.

Growing up in Norwich rave culture was pretty strong there, there used to be a lot of illegal raves in the countryside around the city and I knew a lot of people that loved dance music. I’ve since revisited some of the more tasteful artists like Goldie and really tried to get into some of that amazing writing for drums.

'40s/'50s Jazz really influenced me in my late teens early 20s. At that time my main aim in life was to play bebop, hardbop and blues the best I could on guitar. Sonny Rollins Saxophone Colossus was one of my favourite albums at that time… and still is!

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
Wes Montgomery - he is the greatest. I want to pick his brains on guitar practice and find out who the enigma is behind the speedy thumb.

Of all the venues you’ve been to or played, which is your favourite?
Poisson Rouge (used to be The Village Gate) in New York. There is so much history in that building, it was amazing to perform on the same stage that people like Nina Simone, John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix played on

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
George Benson - he has had one of the most inspiring careers and has been my favourite guitarist ever since I first learnt to play the solo from On Broadway when I was 15. I had the pleasure to meet him a couple of years back and thank him.

Oscar Jerome recently released his new track 'Gravitate', a collaboration with beat maker Ben Hauke. You can listen, purchase or stream it at oscarjerome.lnk.to/GravitateSo.

Visit www.oscarjerome.com for details on his extensive European tour this Autumn.

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