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Exciting times for Sheffield duo – and couple – Ophelia

Ophelia is singer-songwriters Sam Taylor and Rebecca Van Cleave.
Ophelia is singer-songwriters Sam Taylor and Rebecca Van Cleave.

Exciting times are head for Transatlantic Sheffield duo Ophelia.

The band is the natural result of singer-songwriter and former frontman of Sheffield band Dead Like Harry Sam Taylor and his British-American partner, singer-songwriter, actress and model Rebecca Van Cleave, deciding to record and perform together.

Eighteen months on since their first live show and the Sheffield duo have released their debut album Blackbox Memories.

Sam says: “We’re just excited to release the album into the world. We hope people enjoy it and find something in it that speaks to them.”

“That’s the most important part for us,” says Rebecca. “We recorded it almost two years ago, so whatever else happens, it’s just going to be nice to finally have it out in the world.”

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“In between prep for the album release and touring, we’ve been penning our next two albums,” adds Rebecca, who made national headlines when she performed as a nude body double for actress Lena Headey in Game of Thrones in 2015, “so we’ll be giving the audience a sneak peak of that as well.”

New music is a theme Rebecca returns too as she outline’s Ophelia’s plans for 2018 and beyond,

“Aside from touring, there will be a lot of writing and recording definitely one, if not two albums this year,” she says. “We’re excited to start working on new material as we have so much that we’ve been sitting on these past couple years waiting for Blackbox to be released.”

Forming Ophelia was, the couple say, an obvious step for solo artists.

“It was a very natural progression from our solo paths to a joint venture,” says Sam. “We’d been travelling around the States playing some shows together. We were in the Gulf of Mexico one evening in January 2016, we decided it would be cool to start a band. That was it, no great scheme, we just got to writing.

“When when we returned to Sheffield, we called our friend and producer David Glover at Tesla Studios and decided we’d all make a record together.”

Rebecca says: “We’ve been playing live as Ophelia for about a year and a half now. We’ve done a couple UK tours, toured Europe and the States. Some gigs are just me and Sam, others we have our band. We’re looking forward to releasing this album and continuing the adventure.”

Heavily influenced by classic rock such as Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, Sam calls their sound “Americana rock”.

Rebecca says: “It’s hard to put us in a concise, neat little box, but I think that’s what makes Ophelia exciting.

“We were lucky enough, growing up, to be influenced by a lot of the same music, which I think translates, at our core, to a solid sound, but with some unexpected twists and turns.”

As for the future? Sam has high hopes, but is not getting carried away.

“A problem I see with too many bands these days is they want immediate commercial success and if they don’t achieve a certain level of that, whatever their expectations are, they pack it in,” he says. “For us, Ophelia was started as a band to add to our ever expanding artistic ventures.

“Rebecca is also a actress and a model and I write songs for other people as well as have my solo career.

“This is the start of what we both hope to be a long journey for Ophelia, and hopefully along the way we’ll meet more and more people who want to be a part of that journey.

“I see another album in 12 months and hopefully in five years a lot more touring, travelling, adventure, and especially more music.”