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Interview: OWS

6 min read

As one quarter of former boyband JLS, Oritsé Williams found worldwide fame after riding through a successful stint on the X Factor and went on to sell millions of records alongside his bandmates before calling it a day in 2013 after selling an impressive 10 million records worldwide and claiming numerous awards along the way.

Oritsé is the first from the now defunct foursome to unveil solo material with brand new single Waterline setting the wheels in motion for what is promising to be an impressive venture into solo territory for the acclaimed singer-songwriter and we were lucky enough to steal a slice of the musician’s busy schedule to talk about his new solo journey, his new single, brand new stage name and plans for the future. Here is what OSW had to tell us…

Brendon Veevers: Hey Oritse – how are you doing and where in the world does our interview find you?

OWS: I’m a little run down as I’ve been recording, writing,recording for the last 48hrs with minimal sleep, I’m currently sitting in the corner on the floor of the vocal booth doing this interview.

BV: You are gearing up for the release of your debut solo single Waterline which was released in the UK on June 8th. Can you tell us a little about the single for those who may not have heard the track yet?

OWS WaterlineOWS: The single Waterline is someone sincerely putting their heart on the table in a troubled relationship, its an earnest attempt to not letting the one you love go.

BV: Where did you draw inspiration from when putting this number together?

OWS: The inspiration behind Waterline was just real life, something that everyone is bound to go through at some point in their lives and the video is an accurate reflection of that with the different subliminally driven scenes.

BV: Your music has caught the attention of some pretty big players in the music industry including Jay Z and Kanye West. What’s it like to know you have such successful and influential fans like them who are backing you?

OWS: Its just incredible to know that they still look out for new talent, I’m humbled that my song was first leaked on Jayz’s website and G.O.O.D Music have been so supportive especially with Pusha T wanting to be apart of it.

BV: You share Waterline with fellow musician Pusha T. How did the collaboration come about?

OWS: Kanye’s label G.O.O.D Music discovered my record on soundcloud and got in touch, they told us that Pusha is interested in doing a verse on Waterline and after we realised that it was actually legit we cleared out the original middle 8 i recorded, sent it over and a week later he emailed over the version with his rap.

BV: Having achieved such phenomenal success in JLS for a number of years, do you feel any pressure to replicate the success that you had within the group with your solo career?

OWS: Thank you so much, we haven’t put any pressure on ourselves as this project is more about sincerity and more creatively driven, its a very different type of creative/music offering , I’m more expecting people to grow with me with OWS, we just take it one step at a time, main thing is just keeping putting music out that I’m passionate about.

BV: Were you nervous at all about heading back out there as a solo artist?

OWS: I originally just wanted to make music for myself as I just couldn’t seem to stop being creative post-band, but after much encouragement from the producers I’ve been working with i decided to put the music out into the public domain, its important for us to take our time and give the fans music as and when its ready. Im very emotionally involved in a lot of these records as their lyrically true life stories.

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BV: What was it like going into the recording studio for the first time as a solo act and without your former bandmates?

OWS: As its a lot more self-reflective music it was more like going into the studio and creating personal diary entries more than anything else, really therapeutic process actually as I’m getting a lot of things off my chest by just expressing myself in these songs.

BV: What are the main differences in the recording and writing process as a solo artists compared to being part of a collective. What are the pro’s and con’s?

OWS: Haha theres no pro’s and con’s to be honest its just different processes. when your in a group you will be given time slots to record a song so that everyone gets equal recording time, whereas with OWS I can stay in the studio for as long as I want with no time constraints.

BV: Have you former bandmates given Waterline their seal of approval?

OWS: Yer everyone seems to be feeling the vibes, much gratitude.

BV: What lessons do you think you learned from your time in JLS that you will apply to your solo career?

OWS: Good question, ummm probably that when working with different people in the studio get to know their vibe first so that you can work harmoniously together and make the most of the session.

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BV: Your solo debut took everyone a little by surprise with a lack of promotion around your solo unveiling. What it intentional to keep things under wraps and surprise fans?

OWS: I definitely want the fans to always be the first to hear whatever I choose to put out but also I wanted the music to speak first before anything else.

BV: Can you tell us about your new stage name? Whats the OWS referring to and again, was calling yourself OWS intentional for, perhaps, creating more mystery around your music?

OWS: OWS actually was something that came out of the studio process, when I’m recording sometimes I shout crazy things lol and in this particular session I shouted out “OWS” when i was vibing away in the booth, the producer turned around and said you should think about keeping that theres a ring to it lol I thought about it and decided to roll with it. The O stands for Oritsé , the W for Williams and the S i’ll just let the fans decide.

BV: What can you tell us about your debut album and when can we expect it to land?

OWS: The music has got lots of different flavours due to my broad musical influences from Prince to James Blake, from Drake to Coldplay and more. As we’re not putting any time pressures on ourselves I can’t clarify album release dates, all I can say is if you would like to hear new music come down to the live gigs , the next one is Wireless Festival July 4th, its gonna be crazy fun.

BV: Aside from an appearance by Pusha T on Waterline, are there any plans to team up with anyone else for the album?

OWS: I’ve defo got my ideas for one other record , but nothing confirmed yet. I can’t give away all the secrets ahah! x

BV: What can you tell us about live shows or a tour in 2015?

OWS: So the debut show was sold out and I’m very appreciative of everyone that came down, was such an amazing night for me and everyone who was there, it was great to take the music from the studio into the live performance for the very first time, such a great feeling.

BV: Thanks for your time Oritse

OWS’ brand new single Waterline is out now.

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