18 year old Suffolk based newcomer Oscar Welsh has quickly established himself as an artist to watch this year, his singles Get Yourself To Sleep, Weird Times, S.A.D and Sixteen racking up wide scale press and streaming support. Today, he releases his hotly anticipated debut EP Vernal, a summer ready body of work showcasing the dreamy bedroom pop that has seen Oscar quickly develop a fanbase.
At just 18-years-old, Suffolk-born Oscar Welsh has already figured out what it takes most dedicated young music fans a good while longer to fully embrace: you can get a whole lot more out of the experience if you erase the genre barriers and open your mind to the vast wealth of music history out there.
Catch him driving his “shitty Fiat Panda” around town, and you’ll likely find Stevie Wonder’s ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ blaring out the speakers; take a snoop through his Spotify and you’ll find the more modern likes of California bedroom-pop artist Still Woozy or Maryland rapper JPEGMafia. There’s little regard for trends or keeping up with Youtube algorithms, instead Welsh has already honed in on that blend of emotion and innovation that’s kept artists exciting for decades before and decades to come – and it’s into that lineage that Oscar is setting his sights, too. “When people ask what kind of music I listen to, I realise that I don’t know loads of artists in a specific genre but I listen to a lot of artists from a lot of different genres,” he nods. “I want to make something that’s totally new. I wanna make stuff that people listen to and go, ‘What the fuck is that?!’.”
Indeed, it was Stevie Wonder that first ignited the creative flame under the singer before he’d even hit his teens. Hailing from the same town (and attending the same school) as Ed Sheeran, the influence of the Framlingham superstar unsurprisingly loomed large over the area, however it wasn’t until an early piano teacher introduced him to Wonder that Oscar began to feel inspired. “I just instantly fell in love with him. He’s a genius. So while a lot of other kids were listening to Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, I was obsessed with Stevie,” he recalls. “Then I started writing my own music.”
The warm groove of last year’s debut single ‘Get Yourself To Sleep’ began life indebted to the neo-soul of Anderson .Paak (Welsh is a self-confessed “superfan”), but takes on a more youthful, indie influence when seen through the eyes of the 18-year-old. Follow up single ‘S.A.D’, meanwhile, took that blend of soul-tinged, sun-bleached bedroom-pop and dialled up the production, landing on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlists in both the UK and the US.
With the pandemic scrapping his planned A Level exams, it’s left the singer with all the time in the world to concentrate on honing his craft and forging connections. To keep himself entertained, he began writing songs for fans on Tik Tok; in the space of a fortnight, he gained 30,000 followers. Behind the scenes, meanwhile, he’s been putting in the hours to widen his already-broad musical palette even further, learning classical pieces on the piano. Having largely taught himself from the beginning, and with the urge to keep pushing to create ever more interesting, genre-splicing sounds like his heroes, you sense he’s only just getting started.