From the moment he starts playing it’s evident that Sydney-based artist Billy Otto is a product of the Newcastle music scene. With his confessional lyrics, sun-drenched vocals and earnest desire to inspire his audiences, it doesn’t take long to feel enamoured with the exquisite, ethereal sound he’s crafted over the past seven years.
After two years spent travelling, writing and performing across 25 countries, Otto returns to his home soil by way of Chicago to release his stunning new track, Ghosts and embark on an East Coast tour alongside Byron Bay singer-songwriter, Josh Lee Hamilton.
Reminiscent of the 70s surf-coast scene where every guy is your brother, every girl is your sister and all is right in the world, Ghosts, written in New York in collaboration with Nashville producer Luke O'Dea, is a sublime blend of reverb guitar and synth electronic waves wrapped up in possibly the most beautiful male vocal gracing Australia right now.
Recorded in Shirk Studio, Chicago and a lake house in Indiana, Otto sought Ian Pritchett (The Beautiful Girls, Angus and Julia Stone and Boo Seeka) to mix the track.
“It's a song that came from a day when I had a massive fight with my dad," Otto says. "The song is expressing a desire to be reconciled, for healing amidst generational dissonance and messy miscommunication."
Time abroad enabled Otto to build a name for himself in international waters, returning home with dedicated fan bases in Brazil, U.S.A, Sweden and Japan.
"The way I've built things is all word of mouth, social media, DIY shows and self curated events," Otto explains.
"In Chicago we would take over art spaces and loft apartments. One show I created was in collaboration with TOMS shoes. In Japan I launched my first album, Floating Now, at surf bars in Chiba and just made contact with a promoter through a friend who worked everything out at established coast vibe bars and cafes.
“My previous album got picked up on Brazilian radio and TV in Sao Paulo, and then the ball just started rolling. My last tour in Brazil was fire … taking over basketball courts and local town halls and theatres."
If you find yourself sitting at work, school or on public transport with your eyes closed floating through a fairytale world where peace, love and harmony rule the elements, don’t be alarmed… that’s just the Billy Otto effect.