INTERVIEW: StevieRay Latham from Braunton on his debut single
LAST year saw StevieRay Latham nominated for the BBC Young Folk Awards. This year the momentum continues, with a debut single, album and plenty of upcoming gigs in the offing.
Braunton's StevieRay, 21, has been building on the reputation his single South Coast Blues garnered with the BBC judges and folk fans, with numerous gigs in the South West and London and slots at Palmfest in Brighton and Oxford's Truck Festival.
He has also played alongside local heroes such as Peter Bruntnell and Small Town Jones. On Saturday, June 22, he will play at GoldCoast Oceanfest for the second time.
"I played in 2011 but sadly rain stopped play last year," says StevieRay. "Oceanfest is the big thing round here, so I'm thrilled about playing. I'll be doing tracks from the album and some newer stuff, but I'll just see how it goes on the day."
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His guitar style and voice has often been compared to Dylan, but bizarrely he hadn't heard him much before he learnt to play.
"I was 15 or 16 when I started writing and playing properly, and at the time my biggest influences were Leonard Cohen and Neil Young. I only started listening to Dylan when people made the comparisons and said 'you should have a listen'," says StevieRay.
"I appreciate being compared to him, he's a legend. But I didn't set out to be like him, I just do what I do."
It's the people in his own circle who have been the biggest influences in Stevie Ray's life, however.
His family (including granddad Steve Grubb who has been known to accompany him on harmonica) and friends inspire him to write, and their support continues to be invaluable. Such people will no doubt be cheering him on in Croyde next weekend.
At present StevieRay is studying Fine Art at Middlesex University in North London, and has been gigging around the area at venues such as Hootenanny in Brixton and Green Note, Camden.
The single Get On Out And Run was released on June 10, while the album Modern Attitudes, which consists entirely of his own songs, will be with us at the end of summer. To buy either, visit www. brighthelmstonepromotions @gmail.com.
Folk award-nominated South Coast Blues has also been used for a Nalu Beads advertising campaign video, featuring surfer Laura Crane.
StevieRay Latham is at GoldCoast Oceanfest, Croyde on Saturday, June 22.
For details visit www.gold coastoceanfest.co.uk.