Oliver Wakeman is an award winning keyboardist, Pianist and composer.
Oliver Wakeman was born into a musical family and is the eldest son of rock musician Rick Wakeman. He has written and appeared on various albums, all of which have been released to critical acclaim.
Oliver's recording career started in 1984 when he and his younger brother Adam contributed backing vocals to a track on father Rick's "Cost of Living" album. The track is called 'Bedtime Stories' and to this day is the only track that features Oliver, Adam and Rick Wakeman on the same song.
At age 17 Oliver started to gig regularly in pubs in the Devon area and considers those experiences to be as important as the formal musical training he has received. 1989 saw Oliver's own personal recording debut as part of the band 'Obssession'. He featured on the cassette-only release "Debut of Desire'". Oliver wrote one song for the album called 'Into the Mirror' which he is still threatening to re-record one of these days. Oliver left 'Obssession' and started college in his late teens. He trained as a graphic design artist and holds a diploma in the subject. He continued to perform on the North Devon music scene as an integral part of the Rock Blues band "Smokestack" which was well regarded by the public and fellow musicians alike. Oliver left the band in early 2002.
1997 saw the release of Oliver's first solo album "Heaven's Isle". Written at the request of the Landmark Trust to promote their 1997 season of Lundy Island, the album was re-released throughout Europe by Verglas music in late 1999. Music from this album has been used by BBC 1 & Independent Television for various programmes. The Tarka Tourism board's video "The Secret Country of the Two Rivers" also features music from this album.
His second album 'Jabberwocky' (a collaboration with London based musician Clive Nolan) was released in early 1999 and featured an all star cast, including Peter Banks (Yes), Tony Fernandez (Strawbs), Rick Wakeman, Tracey Hitchings (Landmarq) & Bob Catley (Magnum).
Oliver's 3rd album, "The 3 Ages of Magick", an instrumental work, was recorded with Steve Howe (Yes, Asia), who contributed guitars and executive production duties. This album was released in July 2001 to ecstatic reviews. The album was launched at the well known London music venue 'The 12 Bar Club' where Oliver performed to an invited audience.
Oliver and Clive released the follow up to 1999's 'Jabberwocky' album with "The Hound of the Baskervilles" in early 2002. The album featured a similar cast plus Arjen Lucassen (Aryeon), Ashley Holt (Rick Wakeman Band), Karl Groom (Threshold) as well as Robert Powell, the world renowned actor, narrating as Dr Watson. Again this album received rave reviews.
A commissioned new age album, "Chakras", was released in early 2002 and a further commissioned work 'Spiritual Enlightenment' was released in early 2003. His album 'Purification by Sound' was released by President Records in May 2003 and has received glowing reviews from various magazines. 2003 also saw Oliver team up with the Celtic singer Rachel for the 'The View from Here' single which was followed by a live performance from the band at the CRS Awards night in 2002.
Oliver was also commissioned to write a variety of incidental music for six poetry CD's. One of which features the voice of Derek Jacobi who is well known for his various film roles. Oliver has also written music for various corporate companies in order to launch or promote their products including the pro-audio company Allen & Heath. Oliver also composed the jingle for the CD version of the TV show 'Name That Tune'.
2004 saw the piece of music 'The Progress of the Soul' from the Divine Harmonies album feature as the title music for the 'A Guide to Spiritual Healing' DVD. 2004 also saw Oliver appear on Ayreon's "The Human Equation" album along with other musicians such as James LaBrie (Dream Theatre), Ken Hensley (ex-Uriah Heap) and Heather Findlay (Mostly Autumn). This also had the excitement of Oliver's first appearance on a top 10 album.
As well as appearing on the 'ProgAID' charity single (alongside Neal Morse and Arjen Lucassen and others), which raised funds for the Asian Tsunami disaster relief fund, he also appeared on Steve Howe's CD 'Spectrum' which was released in July 2005.
During 2006 Oliver took to the road with his new band performing selections from his 'Mother's Ruin' album (which was released to critical acclaim in late 2005/early 2006) as well as songs from his back catalogue. In late 2007 this show was filmed and recorded in Poland and subsequently released in 2008 as a CD/DVD package and single DVD titled 'Coming To Town'. A single CD release appeared in 2009. Oliver also appeared as a member of Bob Catley's (Magnum) touring band playing in the UK and Europe.
Oliver has been nominated for the Classic Rock Society's 'Best Keyboard Player' award on many occasions and in 2006 he won and received the award from Carl Palmer (Aisa ELP) at the annual CRS awards night. 2007 saw Oliver win the award for a second time and received this award from John Wetton (Asia). In 2008 Oliver was fortunate to win the award for the third year in a row and received his award from ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett.
2008 saw Oliver join Yes members Chris Squire, Steve howe and Alan White for the 'In the Present' world tour.
At the beginning of 2009 Oliver was announced as the keyboard player for the Strawbs tours of Canada, Europe and the UK. He also performed as a member of the band on the 2009 release, 'Dancing to the Devil's Beat' (produced by Grammy nominated producer Chris Tsangarides) for which Oliver co-wrote a track with Strawbs founder Dave Cousins.
With the Howe/Squire/White line up now called YES, Oliver embarked on world tours throughout 2009, 2010 and 2011, performing over 150 shows as a member of the band.
In 2010 Oliver appeared on the Strawbs 40th anniversary live double CD, 'Strawberry Fayre'.
In 2011 Oliver was credited as a performer and writer on the Yes studio release 'Fly From Here'. He also appears on the latest Yes CD and DVD release 'In the Present - Live from Lyon' handling all the keyboard duties. Oliver also appears in the documentary film which accompanies this release.
2012 saw Oliver embarked on his project, 'Ravens & Lullabies', a collaborative album and accompanying tours with 70's guitar legend, Gordon Giltrap. The album was released in March 2013 to critical acclaim and glowing reviews.
The track 'Moneyfacturing' from this album was been nominated in the 'Anthem' category in the 2013 Progressive Music Awards. The album was voted 'Album of the Year' in the Paperlate Radio annual listeners poll in Holland and also gained the 'Album of the Year' accolade from Rock 'n Reel Magazine. The tour continued throughout 2014 with the full electric band.
Following 8 years of touring Oliver spent the following years as an in demand session player working on other artists and helping bring their musical dreams to life.
2015 saw Oliver perform with his father and sister at 2 sell out concerts. The following year Oliver joined his father's band for the only live performance of King Arthur at the O2 in London. Oliver also provided a piano version of Queen's We are the champion for English Heritages How to Make a BluePlaque Video which was commissioned to coincide with the launch of the Blue Plaque for Freddy Mercury.
In 2017 Oliver became an endorsee for the digital piano company Dexibell and performed four demonstration concerts for the brand to promote the new H7 piano. 2017 also saw Oliver team up with renowned fantasy artist, Rodney Matthew, to work on his first album. A collection of music based on his artwork. Oliver contributed keyboard, pianos arrangements and songwriting to the project. It is due for release in 2019. Oliver also performed his first solo piano show as part of a Wakeman Matthews Art and music evening.
In 2018 'Fly From Here' by Yes featuring Trevor Horn on vocals was re-released, again featuring Oliver on 3 tracks. Throughout the year Oliver continued with a multitude of session work for various artists and began work on a new instrumental album due for release in 2019. A second Wakeman solo concert at a Matthews Art and music show was also a great success.