JEFF OTT: Creates a Musical Excursion of Love & Fate Embodied by \'A Simple Life\'

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music, Artist Feature,   From Issue 632   By: Scott Baker

22nd February, 2007     0

While being a musician doesn't exactly make it a simple life, songwriter Jeff Ott has found a niche along the path to help smooth things out.

Currently visible with his role as keyboardist/vocalist with The Sinclairs, Ott has managed to release a debut CD of original material, which is picking up steam here in 2007.

With his songwriting based in the organic tell-tale twists of life, love and devotion, Ott has maintained a strident work ethic as a writer, penning his eight-track opus, A Simple Life, while playing with The Sinclairs and pulling a full time job that sometimes takes him out of state.

"I started writing around November 2005," said Ott during a recent phone interview. "I went to the Big Bear Studio, based in Midland, in December of 2005 and recorded the acoustic version of Out of Reach and just kind of went from there."

After taking up piano at the age of four and developing musically throughout his teenage years, Ott was destined to become a musician in some form. Having moved to Bay City in 1999, he was then married and noodling around the home with his musical ideas just before he joined The Sinclairs in 2004.

"I worked with a contemporary Christian band in college," he said. "I did some writing and recording there."
Gearing up to get his own style showcased, Ott started the process a few years ago and went to the studio as much as he could "as time and money would allow."

"The highlight of the recording was watching the whole musical process come together," notes Ott. "Going from an idea in your head to a full-blown song, that was really, really cool. Rick Armstrong over at Big Bear, he had the drums and bass for everything and we had a bunch of different guitarists play on the album. Just seeing how many different styles the people had and how musically it all came together, it came out really great."

The entire process came to fruition a few months ago at his record release party Oct. 20, 2006.

"I had the big release at the State Theatre, in October and then played a couple of coffee houses around the area. I've played at The Harvest coffee house in Bay City quite a bit."

While he doesn't really single out one song, Ott takes to heart the tracks Lost In A Moment and City Lights.

"My influences seem to center around Chicago, Bruce Hornsby, Phil Collins, and the stuff they write. I write a lot in that genre, music that is easy to listen to, easy to relate to and each song has an individual story behind it.  I think that's what really connects with people when you can find a good story behind it."

"The CD is a lot about just who I am and relationships and I think people can relate to it and that's the biggest thing. You can hear the hurt in some of the songs and you can hear other emotions and whatnot in the material. That was the biggest key for me. People really know where I was coming from and they can relate to it."

Ott's ear for songwriting ideas comes just as much from his surroundings as it does from his muse.

"Usually how I write is by sitting down and starting to play something, thinking of a nice melody, and then finding the right words to fit the melody. It also just kind of depends on how I feel.  I may have something come to my head in the car and then I go home and it becomes a song."

Let Me Be The One I wrote for a friend of mine who was going through a hard time and had just broken up with her boyfriend and she was really down in the dumps. I just put pen to paper."

He chose to release A Simple Life as an EP (extended play, rather than a full-length CD) mainly for monetary and time reasons.

The CD is ultimately what I wanted to do and I wanted it done right. By doing that I took almost a year or two to make it and mainly I kind of wanted to get it done. I'm working on other stuff right now for my sophomore release, but my key goal was to get (A Simple Life) out." Jeff is looking to work in more acoustic situations right now and full band performance will happen as he sees fit.

"I'm not really actively promoting a full band, at least right now, just based on my work schedule which is getting busier and it's easier to schedule one person rather than five or six." Ott is also using the Sonic Bids digital press kit website as a booster to jump into possible festivals this summer.

"I am hoping to play a little bit more, maybe once a month at coffee shops," he said. "A lot of it just depends on my work schedule, but I am trying really hard to get out and play a little bit more."

Ott is content in pushing A Simple Life for the majority of 2007 before he re-enters the studio again.

"I starting to do some writing right now and I'm going to see how it's coming along and then come back like a year from now. I definitely want to do it again."

For the time being, Ott is hoping to put some original music shows together with other local artists of a similar ilk and hopes to create showcase features around the area.

"It's not really like a bar/dance kind of music, it's more of a concert thing," he said. "That's what I think is the hardest part. It's hard to play out and play originals."

Ott's A Simple Life is available at any of these fine websites: www.jeffott.net, CDBaby.com and iTunes.

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