Growing up in the sleepy rural town of Harcourt, Victoria, Oliver Northam was a pianist the moment he could reach the keys. His father was a musician, his mother a ballet dancer and teacher. The house was never quiet, even the walls seemed to sing. Whilst teaching himself guitar in early high-school he soon found a love of folk music and the art of storytelling.
His passion for songwriting continued to grow significantly, however, at the age of 15, Oliver woke to find he had lost his hearing completely. Struck with fear, his parents rushed him to the emergency room and after several weeks of intensive care, he regained his hearing in one ear.
Despite being unable to hear half of what he once could, Northam spent much of his later schooling locked in the music rooms with a grand piano or recording demos into his 16-track recorder, and upon graduating he was fortunate to be offered a position as an accompanist for the Australian Ballet School.
Northam formed his band ‘The Elsewheres’ in late 2018 and
the following year brought a string of festivals including
headline slots at Newport Folk Festival,
The Village Festival, Bale Out Festival, Boarding Pass
Festival, as well as performing at Sofar Sounds and
supporting seminal 90’s band ‘The Badloves’ at
Melbourne’s Bird’s Basement. Northam secured
residencies at Swamplands and The Palace Hotel, and by
December 2019 he had a show booked for every night of
Despite gigging relentlessly, studying third year university,
performing at the Australian Ballet School, and teaching,
Northam always found time to write and by October he had
performed live on Melbourne’s iconic community radio station
3RRR and released his debut single ‘Into His Arms’.
The self-released track garnered community radio support,
was voted ‘Hottest Track of the Week’ by FV Music Blog in the UK,
and spent 5 consecutive weeks in the top 10 Triple J Unearthed Chart, peaking at #3.
Following this success, he was selected as
1 of 7 songwriters to represent Australia
in the London MX Music Exchange, scoring
him mentoring with UK rapper Nadia Rose,
South African songwriter and vocalist,
Nonku Phiri, and Australian rapper and
Triple J ‘Unearthed Artist of the Year 2018’
2020 started strong with headline slots at Victorian festivals; Nightjar festival, Applefest, Basin Festival and plans to release his debut EP accompanied by a national tour. However, as COVID-19 hit, Northam’s plans were put on hold. Not to be halted by the pandemic, Oliver kept developing new material and in May he won the Push Songwriting Competition granting him mentoring with Australian singer/songwriter Alice Skye. Northam continued to work hard and was accepted into the Music Industry Mentoring Edge Program in July, giving him the chance to work with one of Australia’s most respected songwriters, Liz Stringer.
Northam is currently working on his debut EP with Melbourne-based producer, Lee Bradshaw (Rach Brennan & The Pines), with plans for a 2022 release and tour.