Born on Highway 30, bred in Sheffield and introduced by a vampire – meet Ophelia, a collab project made up of singer-songwriters Samuel Taylor and Rebecca Van Cleave, who together have moulded a British-Americana sound inspired by their times and travels spent in both countries. Following the release of their debut single, ‘Whip of the Wheel’, and with a debut EP not far away either, we got to know a bit more about the talented duo.
How did you both meet?
Sam: We were introduced by a Vampire.
Rebecca: Sam was playing as the support act for Michael Malarkey, who plays Enzo in the TV series Vampire Diaries.
Sam: Becca had come down to the show to watch Michael and that’s how we met, outside the aptly named Slaughtered Lamb in London.
Rebecca: It all sounds very gothic novel, but funnily enough it was actually a gorgeous sunny day in May.
So, when did you decide to start making music together?
Sam: In 2015 we started working on each other’s solo projects; Becca provided me with some background vocals and I played some guitar for Becca.
Rebecca: It wasn’t until January of 2016, when we were travelling around the States playing some solo shows together, that we decided to form a band.
Respectively, what do you think you both bring to the song-writing process?
Rebecca: I think we both bring something very different to the songwriting partnership. But we both love music from the 60s and 70s and I think that definitely has an influence on our writing. Sam’s rooted in Americana and brings this beautiful poetic element to Ophelia, and incredible musical knowledge and talent, as well as over 15 years of songwriting experience.
Sam: Becca, on the other hand, is a little newer to songwriting than me and with that she brings a beautiful honesty in her lyrics and pop sensibilities in her melodies that add so much to Ophelia’s sound. She wears her heart on her sleeve with her songs and I find that incredibly refreshing. It’s been a lot of fun writing and creating our sound together.
What sort of themes run through the new album?
Sam: I think the biggest theme running through the album is the road itself.
Rebecca: We spent a lot of the last year travelling around the UK and the US on various tours and adventures. Most of the tracks on the record were written during that time.
Sam: The tracks chart a journey of love, life, loss, past and present that’s been penned on the highway.
Ophelia’s debut single Whip of the Wheel is out now.