Steve Overland best known as vocalist with FM, Shadowman, Groundbreaker and many more, expands on his singing career and what the future holds with regard to new music and live gigs.
Who were your influences in the early days and have you always wanted to be a singer?
I never really started out as a singer and had no aspirations to be one. I wanted to be a guitar player and I still love playing. I used to sing along whilst learning the chords, so I’d be in my bedroom learning something like ‘Alright Now’ by Free and I’d be singing along. So without knowing, picking up tips on licks and stuff. One day my brother walked in and asked me to join his band, not as a guitarist, but as lead singer, and the rest is history. I would have to say that Paul Rodger’s was the first singer that made think wow, I’d like be able to do that.
Have you ever auditioned for the vocal spot in any notable bands?
I’ve been asked to sing with a few pretty well-known bands when they’ve lost their original singers but I won’t name them. I’ve always luckily and had a lot going on with my own things. Singers tend to be a large part of the identity of a band, so whoever they are it’s hard to step into someone else’s shoes.
You have appeared on a great number of albums. Do you have a favourite and why?
I don’t really have a favourite album I’ve made as they’re all relevant to me and close to my heart when they are released. I tend to live and breathe them when I’m making them and then move on to the next thing.
Do you still get the same buzz out of singing live as you did in the past?
Singing live is still as exciting to me as it’s always been. The buzz of seeing songs you’ve written meaning so much to so many people, and being a reminder of things that have happened and a backdrop to their lives. It’s a fantastic feeling.
Some vocalists are on strict dietary regimes or gargle with special liquids. How have you kept your voice in tip top shape all these years?
I’ve been lucky my voice just seems to keep going. I don’t really have any potions or rituals. I try and keep reasonably fit, but wine and gin seem to work fine for me.
Are there any musicians that you have not worked with, but would like to in the future?
I’ve been very lucky to have worked with a lot of my icons. I would love to sing with Stevie Wonder.
Is there any unreleased recorded material from your days with FM, Wildlife, or any other projects you’ve been involved with that could be released?
There are always left over songs from all the albums I’m involved in. We always overwrite, usually about 15-20 songs, so I’m sure some will come out of the woodwork in the future.
Do you have any plans to release another solo album?
I’m now in the mixing stages of the sixth Overland album and I think it’s up there with the best I’ve done. All the songs have been written with my old friend, Robert Sall, a very clever man.
With the live circuit opening up again, is there a possibility that we could see you performing some live shows in the UK, solo or with one of your bands outside of FM?
We are talking about a few possibilities at the moment for shows with the other things I’m involved in. It’s just fitting it in around everybody’s busy schedules, but I’d love to make it happen.
Have you ever thought about doing any production work?
I’ve already done quite a few production projects. I love it, it’s a different challenge, and it’s great working with artists on their ideas as you always learn something.
You seem to be incredibly busy these days. What do you do on your downtime?
Ha, downtime, what’s that? I’m a bit of a workaholic really, but I do like a Sunday roast and a long walk with the dogs. I do quite a lot of running but everything seems to hurt these days.
Do you have anything in the pipeline at the moment that you would like to share?
There’s a lot going on at the moment, a new FM being made, and I think I’m working on about three other records at the moment, so keep an eye out.
Interview by Stuart Dryden