We met O&O for the first time at a Secret Session in London a couple of months ago. While they were performing on stage, we were sitting in the back of the room listening. O&O stands for Obadiah Jones and Orian Peled and they both met nowhere else then their University in Liverpool.
Currently, they are teaming up with national charity Youth Music, Busk In London and Network Rail to perform two pop-up busking concerts in Waterloo and Liverpool St Stations. Youth Music invests in music-making projects for children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances. All proceeds from O&O’s debut single, ‘Traveling’, and funds raised during these concerts will go to support the charity’s important work.
Listen to ‘Traveling’ here and now please enjoy the conversation we had with Orian and Obadiah!
Hi Orian and Obadiah, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. How are you two doing?
Thank you for having us! We just got back from a 3-week tour of performances on a cruise ship, sailing to the Mediterranean and Norway, so we are feeling great!
The both of you perform together as the duo O&O. Would you mind telling us a little bit about the backstory of how you two met and how O&O started?
Obadiah: We met in the same class at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) while studying for a Music (BA) degree in 2011. We were each focusing on our own solo projects, but we connected pretty soon after starting the course.
Orian: Soon after we met, I asked Obadiah to listen to some of my original songs, we got together in a rehearsal room and really connected as songwriters. That’s when our musical relationship began. Later Obadiah played guitar in my band and I sang backing vocals in his.
Orian, being originally from Israel and Obadiah being from Colorado, USA. Did you ever feel there are musical differences due to your origin or is music really the language everyone speaks the same?
Orian: Like Obadiah, I grew up listening to Western pop music (one of my first CDs was Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love), but if there are any differences in our musical knowledge it’s because I’m a 90s kid. Every so often we come across a massive hit from the 90s and Obadiah is completely oblivious to it.
Obadiah: Honestly, I listened pretty exclusively to Classic Rock bands like The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin growing up. Going to LIPA and meeting Orian really opened my musical tastes.
And speaking of origin, can each of you remember the first memory that is connected to music?
Orian: My mother is a professional Flamenco dancer and teacher. For as long as I can remember, there was Flamenco music playing in the house as my mom would rehearse. I have a strong emotional connection to that music and really associate it with my childhood.
Obadiah: I don’t remember it, but my mother has told me that she took me to a classical concert when I was two years old and I was conducting in rhythm to the music. According to her, I always had an inclination towards music!
You spent a lot of time traveling and even performing on a cruise ship. Did the fact that you were performing and traveling on a cruise influence your music in a different way than living in a place for some time?
Yes, definitely! Our first single, ’Traveling’, is inspired by the time we spent on ships, traveling together and apart. Our lyrics often talk about these themes of being on the move, looking for a home and our experiences of being apart for long periods of time in our home countries.
The mission of our website is bringing people together with the power of music and letting them share a story to a song that helped them through a tough time. Is there a specific song that helped you and would you mind sharing the story?
Orian: Going through the growing pains of being a teenager, including my parent’s divorce, I loved going into my bedroom and putting on Alice In Chain’s concert for MTV Unplugged. Because the music is quite melancholy, it was very comforting to me at the time.
Obadiah: My mum played a lot of John Denver’s music in my house. Listening to his music now makes me think of her, home and always gives me solace if I’m feeling far from home or on my own.
In your opinion, what makes music unique? What is the difference to other artistic expressions?
A really good melody has the ability to cut right to your emotional core and so it becomes engrained in your memory almost like a certain scent. When you hear a song it has the ability to instantly transport you to a different time and place and flood you with memories. We have seen this first hand during performances. For example, at one of our gigs, a lady in the audience broke down in tears while we played ‘Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac. She later came up to tell us how much that song meant to her.
People tend to say that music saved their life. Do you think music itself has the power to influence or even save someone or does it need more?
We do think music is extremely powerful and may even save lives. A sung lyric is very personal, and you often hear people describing their listening experience as if the artist is speaking directly to them or writing about them. People can find comfort, affirmation, courage, or anything they are seeking in music.
Is there anything you’d like to say to people who are struggling at the moment?
Know that even though it sometimes feels like it’s you alone against the world, all us humans are connected through our human experiences and emotions. Most likely there are people who have been where you are or are currently experiencing similar adversities. Just know that you are not struggling alone and hopefully you can find that human connection through great music, songs or performances.
Orian & Obadiah