Could the next big singer-songwriter be tucked away in a forgotten corner of south-west London, waiting for his shot at stardom? We believe so. He's called Tim OT and he's here to slap us back to life with his mixture of acoustic urban punk and feisty indie folk.
Tim hails from Hampton Wick, just on the edge of Kingston-upon-Thames in the borough of Richmond. He started learning the ropes at various open mic and jam nights around south-west London in his teens, most often at the Grey Horse in Kingston. Having briefly flirted with office jobs he quit to concentrate full time on the music, playing every venue he could and kipping on floors and park benches in the true tradition of the hard-up folk singer.
Politics and black humour are never far from Tim's music, and he doesn't mind the inevitable comparisons to Chris T-T, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Beans on Toast and the current king of the sub-genre Frank Turner, who he even managed to ensnare for a cameo in the video for Unheard Voices.
Talking of videos, here's one for Girl With Dirty Fingernails.
We know this column is meant to be 'new music', but we're happy to report that he's already put out three albums and three EPs in the past five years, and his back catalogue stretches to over 50 songs. His latest EP came out in December 2013 entitled Poke Funk, the name of which points to his one-eyebrow-raised style of entertaining but intelligent folk rock.
2014 could be Tim's breakout year, with a DVD release in the spring — if we ever get a spring — plus a new album later in the year and of course plenty of gigs. You'll have to keep an eye on his website for the announcement of dates, though he does have a slot confirmed at the remarkably named Bearded Theory festival in May, preceded by a show at the Cricketers in Kingston on Saturday 8 March. He'll be keeping himself busy, of that there's no doubt – he played over 240 gigs in 2013 alone.
"When did punk rock become so safe?" reads a card from the Unheard Voices video, and it's a question not enough singers and bands address. Good job we have Tim OT as chief inquisitor in a renewed hunt for the answer.
Image courtesy of Chris Meany.