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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald

Indie folk singer Tay Oskee likes to go with the flow

Tay Oskee is on a national tour to support his new single, Let The Fire Burn. Tickets to all shows are on sale now. Picture by Carolina Sierra

Tay Oskee's art imitates his life.

The indie folk-pop singer and songwriter has an affinity with nature, the great outdoors and the simpler things in life, and this resonates through his lyrics.

He has just embarked on a 12-date national tour in support of his new single Let The Fire Burn, recorded at a shipping container he converted to a studio on the Sunshine Coast.

"It's been a lot of work but also a lot of fun," he said.

"I had no idea what I was doing but I have a carpenter friend and another friend who is a welder, and my dad is a carpenter so he came to help for a bit as well."

The studio has been his home for the past year. It's a place of solitude, with limited phone reception and internet, and it's where he recorded his debut album Keepers Of The Morning. It's due for release on April 14 and features previously released single Sequioa (Lovers On The Mountain).

"I wrote Let The Fire Burn to take me back to a simpler time with mates, camping out in nature and having proper deep yarns around the fire," Oskee explained.

"In the moment I wrote the track I had a great realisation that we never truly know what will happen in life so it's better to do the things you love, because it could all go wrong and if it does, at least you let the fire burn."

The song's clip follows a couple as they explore expansive landscapes, hidden sanctuaries and forbidden homes; relishing each other's company and living moment to moment.

Oskee enlisted his friend, actor Timothy Granaderos (13 Reasons Why), to feature in the video.

"One of the most important things we wanted to capture in making this music video was this concept of carefreeness - this couple living from moment to moment - which is kind of how the music video came to be in the first place," Granaderos said.

"My fiancée Kate and I acted in it, and my brother Wil directed, shot and edited it."

Oskee's music embraces traces of his past, present and future - from his formative years living among the Yolngu people of North East Arnhem Land to the tropical beauty of his home town Mission Beach.

Oskee cut his teeth busking, and won the Bluesfest Busking Competition in 2017. He has since played at Splendour In The Grass and Falls Festival and supported the likes of Ziggy Alberts, Xavier Rudd and Jeremy Loops.

Understandably, he has had itchy feet since touring came to a halt in 2020 and can't wait to perform in front of an audience again. He kicked off his Let The Fire Burn tour at The Great Northern in Byron Bay on Wednesday night.

"I'm excited about the tour because I had quite an extended break - building the studio and then there were lockdowns - when I would usually be playing non-stop. It got a bit much after a while."

Oskee is joined on stage by Hannah Olivia and Jason Daniels, who also open eight shows on the tour as the duo Brook St.

He describes himself as a "pretty cruisey" individual, and the same applies to his music.

His sound flows from beach tunes to punchy folk. Oskee plays multiple guitars, a banjo, harmonica and percussion.

"Mum and Dad moved around a lot so I've had an interesting upbringing which I'm very grateful for," he said.

"This album is me, which is really cool. I've played all the instruments, I wrote the lyrics, engineered it and everything. It feels like me too, which is good.

"Some songs have a much bigger sound but that's not every song. It's a change in direction but not too far."

Oskee enlisted the help of a label to help him market and distribute his new single but remains a fiercely independent artist.

In his words, he "calls the shots".

And he's more than happy to go with the flow when it comes to his career in music.

"I am open to anything that comes my way. Right now I'm happy, but if things go mega, I'll be happy with that. I'll embrace it and off we'll go," Oskee said.

"But if not, well, it's not the only thing I care about in this world, if that makes sense. I'll still be happy."

Tickets to Tay Oskee's Let The Fire Burn tour at The Cambridge (Warehouse) on February 5 are on sale now. 

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