In January 2019, 18-year-old Blake O’Connor became the 40th winner of Toyota Star Maker – Australia’s longest running and most prestigious country music competition. Today he has announced the release of his debut album Everything I Feel will be on Friday July 12. To coincide with the announcement, first single Beautiful As You is at radio today. Blake wrote the song with Tiana of The Dennis Sisters, and it’s about trying to overcome your insecurities and how scary it can be sometimes to express your feelings.
One of the lines in the song “But my courage envies everything I feel” is where we pulled the album title from. This song is one of my personal favorite as its pretty much me written in a song. I was super happy to get Tiana to fly down to the studio to sing backing vocals on this. It was also the first time we sang it together when we recorded it, because we originally wrote the song in an unorthodox way through texting each other. This is an acoustically driven song with melodic fiddle and guitar licks backed up by smooth bass lines and up tempo drum beat to keep it driving along.
The album Everything I Feel was produced by great mate and mentor Adam Eckersley, who worked his musical ears and skills on all of the tunes.
Adam was the perfect producer for this project because he gets me, we both have a very similar music taste and a goal to just make good music that serves the song, and to have fun doing it! Then to have Adam and his Band: Mitch Cairns, Daniel Biederman, Ben Elliott, play on the tracks too, along with Brooke McClymont, Tiana Dennis, Michel Rose, Luke Miller and Evan Mannell. To have such awesomely talent musicians play on my song and watching my songs come alive was amazing!
In addition we had Grammy award winner Nick DiDia mix the album which was something special! Some the artists he has worked with have been some of my favourite, including Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Powderfinger. To have his input and ear on this album was something I couldn’t be more thrilled about!'
Blake was born in Windsor, 60 km north-west of Sydney moving with his family to Bathurst and then onto Port Macquarie on the New South Wales mid-coast.
His grandparents gifted him an acoustic guitar for his sixth birthday which sat under his bed for two years, until such time that he started guitar lessons.
He didn’t enjoy the lessons but instead paid attention to the music that his grandparents and parents listened to, in particular, Johnny Cash.
At an early age, Blake was a keen Rugby League player which led him playing representative junior football for the group 3 Newcastle Knights Academy.
His passion however was music, so he made that his focus.
At 14, Blake had his first gig, for a wedding, which inspired his first song he wrote especially for the occasion.
In 2015, he was a featured artist in the NSW School’s Spectacular in Sydney and then made the decision to leave school to focus full-time on music.
Since then, Blake has been developing his song writing and practicing playing every day.
His entry into his music career has gone like clockwork, having headed to the Country Music Capital – Tamworth to busk on Peel Street – the Boulevarde of Dreams – in 2017. That same year, he entered and won the Coca-Cola Country competition and CCMA Junior talent quest, receiving a scholarship to attend the CMAA Academy in 2018, and followed that up by winning the biggest country talent search in Australia in 2019 – Toyota Star Maker.
In 2018 Blake released his debut self-titled EP which resulted in a #1 on the National Australian Independent Record Labels Chart, #4 on the ARIA Country Chart and #2 on the ARIA Australian Country Chart.
Blake has been touring with one of Australia’s top acts, husband and wife duo Adam Eckersley & Brooke McClymont (The McClymonts) before performing at most of the biggest festivals in Australia throughout the year.
Thursday May 16 - The Church Bar, Windsor. NSW - SOLD OUT
Friday May 17 - Bago Tavern, Wauchope. NSW. - SOLD OUT
Friday May 24 - Buckle & Boots Festival, Manchester. UK
Saturday May 25 - Buckle & Boots Festival, Manchester. UK
Monday June 3 - Chis Watson Travel Exclusive Event, Nashville TN. USA
Friday June 21 - Laurieton RSL Club, Laurieton. NSW Guest of Amber Lawrence
Saturday June 22 - Sawtell Club NSW, Sawtell. NSW Guest of Amber Lawrence
Saturday June 29 - The Aussie Hotel, Inverell NSW
Saturday July 13 - ALBUM LAUNCH Moonshiners Family Hotel, TAMWORTH HATS OFF TO COUNTRY.
Friday July 26 - Groundwater CMF, Broadbeach. QLD
Saturday July 27 - Groundwater CMF, Broadbeach. QLD
Sunday July 28 - Groundwater CMF, Broadbeach. QLD
Saturday August 10 - Mt Isa Rodeo, Mt isa. QLD
Sunday August 11 - mt isa Rodeo, Mt Isa. QLD