Who Is Grey Oakes?

Kieran Kohorst

Being a self-sufficient artist affords opportunities other artists simply can’t compete with, a truth Grey Oakes can testify to. A North Carolina-based musician, his talent allows him to not only identify his sound but express it himself wholesomely and accurately. Producing, writing, and performing on all of his tracks is evidence of his versatile skill set, formulating into a cohesive tone about his music. His tracks are complementary to breezy days on the beach, easy-going and free-flowing within the moment. The momentum behind his newest single “SYWA” mirrors the demand for Grey Oakes’s production, teaming up with artists in the LA area, including Daniel Price in particular.

Authentic in its recording, his new track’s origins are just as genuine. “SYWA,” acronymically “Since You Went Away,” was born out of the absence of live music in 2020, a sentiment both Grey Oakes and fans experienced similarly. This context gives the song a new meaning, as it can easily be interpreted as the reluctant despair of a failed relationship. The lyrics and atmosphere of the track contribute to the duality of “SYWA;” allowing room for interpretation is a line that Grey Oakes is able to toe quite well.

Though he is talented enough to carry a track entirely on his own, he often collaborates with his friend Julius Tunstall, who appears twice on Grey Oakes’s 2020 record titled Introvert. The project is in line with the sonics of “SYWA,” while offering a more holistic look at his artistry. Both in the past and continuing in the future, Grey Oakes looks to the work of Tom Misch, Berhana, Mac Ayres, Healy, and Cautious Clay as influences. Equipped with the necessary tools to succeed himself, look for Grey Oakes to be a regular in the credits of some of your favorite artists as well, if he’s not one of them himself.

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