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Hear hear for Ollie

Tonmeister graduate Ollie Melville-Smith was celebrating this week after winning a gold award at the Sony Radio Awards for writing music for Radio 2.

Composer Ollie (BMus 2002) works for Wise Buddah Jingles and Music Imaging which was asked to produce a new station sound package covering all of Radio 2’s programmes. This included writing around 40 main idents (reflecting a station’s branding) and working with more than 100 musicians and singers.

Ollie was part of the team that won Best Station Imaging at the UK radio industry major awards ceremony.

“I’m a massive Radio 2 listener so it was such a fun thing to be part of,” said Ollie. “It is a diverse package but you have to come up with music that sings the station’s name and reflects the style of music it plays.”

Ollie worked with a team of producers, editors and voice over artists from Wise Buddha and was one of a pair of composers. His music is used for the Simon Mayo, Country and Big Band shows in particular.

“We got to record with the BBC concert orchestra and big band and some of the presenters were also involved such as Beverley Knight and Huey Morgan. It was great to win the award but I get the biggest satisfaction from just having worked on the package itself – Radio 2 is the biggest station in the country and it’s a big buzz when you hear your music being played.” 

The judges said of Wise Buddah’s work:  “BBC Radio 2's imaging reflects the enormous diversity of the station whilst maintaining a wonderfully consistent sound. The new jingle package has breathed life and freshness into the network.”

Ollie wanted to work in the music industry from a young age and chose the Tonmeister course at Surrey as he said it was the place to go for the career he had in mind. He chose composing as it married his two loves – playing different instruments and recording his own work.

His Professional Training Year was a real eye-opener. “It actually told me what I didn’t want to do as much as what I did – it sounds negative but it was very helpful  knowing that when I left,” he said. “Placements are a great opportunity to give something a go and find out if you like it before committing yourself to a particular job.”

His advice to people starting out in the business is simple: don’t assume you know more than you do!

“Get on with people from the beginning and appreciate you have to start at the bottom,” he said. “You learn through applying the knowledge gained in the classroom, but it is a very different environment in the real world and you have to understand that.”

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