26 Jul The Undercover Hippy // Entertaining tales
Billy Rowan, the man behind the alias is possibly a man with many layers. The Bristol based musician seems, at first glance like a man any of us may pass in the street. We might notice his quiet confidence or his smiling eyes. The more observant amongst us might even notice his self professed curious nature. Billy Rowan is a man that just looks interesting.
That’s because he is…
Like all the most interesting people, Billy has another side to his persona. The Undercover Hippy is his name and music is his thing. Politically driven roots-reggae flavoured folk-hop to be precise. Admittedly that is quite a recipe to get your head around but listen to his work and very quickly everything starts to fall into place.
Music can be used for many things and making sense of the world, the people who run it and the human condition are all best explored head on. He does that in a way entertains and engages. Perhaps because The Undercover Hippy is a man with all the skills to entertain and Billy is the man with the experience and inspiration to engage, as the man himself says:
“I was inspired a lot by songs that seemed to challenge the status quo. I was very aware of being poor growing up, and seeing the way in which that limited my options compared to some of my peers. In many ways I was very privileged, but as a child I didn’t know that and I developed a keen sense of the unfairness of society. So when I heard people like Tracy Chapman and Sinead O’Connor singing about inequality and politics, it really connected with me.”
So the seeds of a musical career were sown at an early age, along with an awareness of the inequality in society. Sharing that awareness though can be done in a way that entertains as well as informs, two themes which are common across much of his work. As he says:
“I’ve loved music since I was a little kid. My mum taught me some basic guitar chords, and I straight away realised I had a talent for coming up with songs to make people laugh.”
Lyrically, his songs are a memorable experience, his thought provoking, smile inducing lyrics are delivered against a backdrop of uniquely infectious music and years of experience. Billy has this to say about his musical influences:
“In my teens I fell in love with dance music and the guitar was forgotten for many years while I explored the world of DJing and MCing. I spent most of my 20’s as a Drum & Bass MC, before finally rediscovering the guitar while travelling. It was on those travels I realised I could combine my newly acquired MC skills with my basic guitar chords to make a new kind of fusion music that felt exciting and caught people’s attention.”
A packed diary of upcoming tour dates and already impressive back catalogue mean that The Undercover Hippy will be catching people’s attention for a long time to come!