“Ollie Gabriel’s sound is real classic soul-pop music that is not only nostalgic but also modern and fresh.”
The Louisiana bred singer/songwriter has the pedigree befitting of a Soul legend, but his sound and swagger are all his own. Raised in a household full of artists, Ollie was surrounded by music and was entranced by the soothing sounds of Bobby Womack, Tyrone Davis, and a long list of pioneers who helped bring Soul to prominence. Ollie also draws inspiration from other artists from other genres of music like Metallica, The Rolling Stones, 2Pac, and even Garth Brooks. These influences are very much prevalent in Ollie’s music as he combines crisp rich vocals with pulsing rhythms and catchy hooks. Ollie would spend some time abroad in Europe working on music and performing. While in Europe, Ollie would release his single most popular song to date
“Running Man” which has been a MASSIVE success in Austria, Switzerland, & Germany. The video to “Running Man” is a powerful visual that features Paralympic athlete Blake Leeper. Now Ollie is poised to bring that success he’s witnessed in the Eastern Hemisphere back to the U.S.A. With it’s motivational message and upbeat bounce, “Running Man” is looking to be the next soul-pop hit that’s been under our noses the whole time. We sat down with Ollie and he gave us some insight into what running this race to stardom has been like for him:
WATCH: “Running Man”
Popdust: What was the inspiration behind “Running Man“, and how did the idea of using Blake Leeper in the video come about?
Ollie Gabriel: “Running Man” was like my personal encouragement song at the time. I was at a place career wise where I didn’t really know what was next, and I was a bit frustrated. I just knew that I hadn’t gotten this far for anything. I knew I had to persevere and things would open up, just like they did. I knew visually I wanted it to be a story of someone else overcoming extreme odds, and because I’m a veteran the first thing I thought about was an army paraplegic who refuses to give up and be “crippled”. While looking for a wounded warrior, I came across Blake Leeper, who fit the vision perfectly and he is actually a runner. I knew someone who knew his management and they loved the idea. the rest is history.
P: You grew up in a house full of artists. What was the pivotal moment that made you say, “I want to make this a career?”.
O: My whole family is entertainment lol. So singing, dancing, comedy, that’s always been a part of my upbringing. I knew that I would take this path for real in the 7th grade when I sang “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly and a song that I wrote and produced in front of my school at an assembly! My band teacher even got the band to back me. I got a standing ovation and after that, I was hooked!
P: You went to Europe to record your EP “Days Like This“. What was that whole experience like?
O: I actually didn’t go to Europe to record, only to tour for “Running Man EP”. “Days Like This” was actually never supposed to be an EP. It was more like a collection of tracks I did for TV licensing. It was me but more as a producer/songwriter than my “artist” project. I was still figuring that out. I never expected “Days Like This” to grow really. A few songs got really popular in some shows and next thing I know there were a bunch of fan videos popping up on YouTube. It was humbling. “Running Man EP”, was my first official release in Europe and “Return of the Soul Man” will be my first official release worldwide. This is Ollie Gabriel, the artist.
P: Would you encourage other aspiring artists from The States to go abroad to help gain a fan base & notoriety before they attempt to make it here?
O: Well, I think there’s no right or wrong way to eat a peanut butter cup, but I would say historically Europe has been early adopters of a lot of great acts. I think that the US culture of music is less loyal. It’s saturated, so it’s harder to break through the noise. My advice to the aspiring artists would be to look at the world as their backyard because it could bring a lot more opportunities.
P: Despite it not being the most dominant genre right now, why does soul music have the ability to captivate people the way that it does?
O: I believe soul music, is music that comes from the soul. It can really be any genre. So my music is essentially pop but it’s soulful because you can hear the truth in my voice when I sing it, and also I think my tone is reminiscent of the classic soul singers. I think when people hear that authenticity it instantly connects them.
P: If you could pick one artist (living or deceased) to either do a song or a performance with, whom would it be and why?
O: Damn, that’s a hard question. I think that would have to be James Brown. His grooves are just SO funky. I would have loved to dance next to him.
P: What’s next for Ollie Gabriel?
O: Well, you can expect A new single from me soon and a full EP before the end of the year. Touring touring touring, 2018 will be a busy year. I want my fans to really see me in my favorite element, and that’s on stage. I’ve also been doing a lot of writing, I recently wrote on some tracks for The Chainsmokers, so we’ll see what happens! Pretty much, expect greatness from me. I will continue to give my all and I appreciate you and all of my supporters around the world so much! Thank you very much!
“Running Man” is now available on all streaming platforms.
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