Olivia Stevens takes to the stage as Ruby Tiger to make it three Festivals of Chichester out of three.
Ruby and The Revelators in a new line-up will be at Olivia’s favourite venue, the Chichester Inn, on Friday, June 26 at 8pm.
As Olivia says, it’s not about posturing. It’s not about art. It’s all about heart.
Olivia describes her music as being in the blues and soul tradition, but with cross-currents of folk and jazz and funk.
“The blues are what people think of when they hear my voice because of the way I deliver my vocals, but for me it is all about the emotions, all about the heart behind it all. It’s about the feeling. It’s about being honest with that feeling. Blues is about honesty and about emotion and about sharing your emotions honestly with the people who are listening, but really doing it in a very visceral way. For me, I think it is really like a kind of community healing. Blues is a catharsis, about putting out the emotion and sharing it with everyone.
“We do a mixture of covers and originals, but there will be some new originals for the Festival of Chichester gig. I am the writer. I write the lyrics, but collaborate with Louise (Maggs) on the music. I tend to write about life, but from a very personal perspective, but about emotions that everyone would recognise. I would say it is mostly autobiographical.”
Ruby is delighted to be returning to the Festival of Chichester: “It’s a fantastic festival. It’s a celebration of local talent, and it’s a really, really good opportunity for local artists to sit alongside bigger names. It’s also an opportunity to grow a fanbase and to really reach a wider range of people through the promotion of the Chichester Observer and the PR machine.
“I feel every year the festival has helped me to improve perceptions of what I do and who I am, not just in the local community but also perhaps with people coming from further afield, and the fact that I am now making progress on the national blues scene, but I am always very proud of the fact I come from Chichester.”
The band is a four piece, with Olivia as Ruby joined by Louise on guitar, Vinnie Lamm on drums and Russ Grooms on bass: “We’ve been together in that format only recently. We have just got Vinnie on board within the last month. He is a very new addition. Russ and Louise have been on board for about four months.”
The name Revelators comes from the song title John the Revelator, a traditional gospel blues number Olivia sings with her musical collaborator King Rollo: “It’s a very, very old traditional song I came across through King Rollo. We sang the song, and I just thought Ruby and the Revelators had a ring to it.
“I am not doing the festival with King Rollo this year. King Rollo and I are continuing to do some recording and gigging together. He has taken semi-retirement, though we still do the odd occasional gigs.”
Olivia is hoping to get an album out next year on the back of last year’s successful EP: “Next year... I won’t say earlier than that. I am collating lyrics at the moment and writing as much as I can to try to find those ten golden nuggets I will need. You might need to write 60 songs to find the ten that are good enough! You have got to get it right.”
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