The gift of success

words

Todd Kuchell

photography

Pete Thornton

Following in the footsteps of the long list of successful self-taught musicians, Ollie Sharp, a local 16 year old has swiftly made it into Triple J’s Unearthed top 20! 
>> Local and self taught musician, Ollie Sharp
Ollie received her first guitar as a gift from her cousin, who had purchased it but never learnt to play.
“I’ve been singing ever since I can remember,” Ollie says. “But I only started taking the time to practise and learn how to sing properly when I
was 12.”
She was 13 when she first sat in front of her family’s computer with her cousin’s guitar and taught herself Good Riddance by Green Day. 

 

 

With her first song down, Ollie persisted and taught herself how to play. Two years later, Ollie began writing her own original music. 

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As a child, Ollie was already interested in creative writing and in 2013 had entered the Barossa Writer’s young writer’s competition, in which she placed second. 
“It was a fantastic opportunity as a local kid to understand what writing was all about,” she says. 
Now with music Ollie has discovered a unique way of telling stories.
Realising her potential, Ollie’s parents thoughtfully surprised her with a recording session with Jamie Blechynden at Stella One Studio for her 15th birthday in 2018. 
“Recording there was an absolute blast,” Ollie smiles. “I was super nervous when I first went into the studio, but Jamie made it a really relaxed environment.”
After completing her recording, Ollie uploaded her original songs onto Triple J’s Unearthed and reached the top 20 charts within one week of uploading!
“I would never have had these doors open for me without Jamie’s help and I am really grateful. He is one bloke who is too humble about all that he offers our community,” Ollie explains.
Ollie also thanks her success to the support of her family, friends and community. 
“I was astonished by the support. I think that this is a direct reflection of the support the Barossa community provides to young people, especially through the Youth Advisory Committee,” Ollie says. 
“This was by no means something I could have achieved without them.”
“I had friends sending links to their family members, asking them to have a listen to my songs, my family all sharing my Triple J unearthed profile and BBBfm played my songs on the radio and had me on the air for an interview.”
Even today, BBBfm are still airing Ollie’s music and supporting her wherever they can. 

 

 

The two songs that are currently available on Triple J’s Unearthed are ‘2am Coffee’ and ‘Another Song’. Ollie has also recently finished writing her newest song ‘Soul Bent.’
Whilst Ollie’s first recording consists of her vocals and guitar alone, Ollie would love to incorporate other instruments and harmonies in future recordings.
“I play ukulele, a bit of piano and some very basic drumming and I think it would be a lot of fun to play around with those sounds together.”
Although Ollie’s indie/alternative style may not reflect it, Green Day remains a large inspiration since the beginning of her music journey.
“I love punk music,” she says. Though she also now finds Dodie and Panic at the Disco to be two other big inspirations, both two very lyrically interesting artists.

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Aside from music, Ollie is a horsewoman who cares greatly for the treatment of animals.
“She is the kindest, most caring 16 year old girl I know,” her mother says. “A big softie with all creatures big and small from saving a skink from our cat to spending time with her horses, not just riding them but taking the time to analyse their behaviour and using natural horsemanship to engage with them. It’s magical to watch.”

“Music has been something in my life that brings me unwavering happiness and I make it in the hope that it will make other people happy, too.”

- Ollie Sharp
Ollie is also a keen biology and chemistry student due to her deep concern for the state of our planet.
This, she says, may or may not be a source of inspiration for an original song down the line.
Such a mature, level-headed attitude has also gained her a Headmaster Scholarship at her school for this year and the next.
“Music has been something in my life that brings me unwavering happiness and I make it in the hope that it will make other people happy, too.
“I’m happy to keep on coasting along and seeing where this guitar-shaped journey takes me and hope that it makes someone else smile along the way.
“One day I would love to be able to perform with Dodie as she has played such a large role in how I write music.”