It’s been a big year for rising alternative artist, Oliver Tree. After releasing his debut album, Ugly Is Beautiful, in the middle of the pandemic, his deluxe edition, Shorter, Thicker & Uglier, a seven track addition to the album, rose in the ranks quickly after “Life Goes On” went viral on social media platforms. He’s worked with artist around the globe, including Russian super stars, Little Big, on a collaborative EP, Welcome to The Internet.
To end the year, Oliver visited his hometown of Santa Cruz and partnered with the local radio station, 101.7 The Beach. Located at The Rio Theatre, just a couple of blocks away from his childhood neighborhood, fans gathered around the building in wait to witness the intimate performance, for just the cost of a cash donation or some canned goods.
We learned everything we know now; right here at The Rio. We would come here to watch skateboarding videos and practiced what we learned together.
~ Oliver Tree
Joining with him, childhood friends of his warmed up the evening and opened up the floor to build up excitement, including his former bandmate, Shelf Nugget, who supported his act when he was previously known as “Tree” by locals; Marcellus, who began the evening and stated eagerly to the crowd that he taught Oliver to rap when they were kids; Skydive; and Contradash- who attended the local university when they first crossed paths.
I want to make this night special for all of you. To think that it took ten years and a name change to make this all happen. And I want all of you to walk out filled up and inspired to follow your hopes and dreams.
Oliver Tree joined the stage after members in the crowd lovingly chanted his name. Within him, you witnessed a different side of the man behind one of the biggest memes on the internet. Channeled by a sense of pride in his home, and the love he shared for everyone who helped him get to where he was, he shared a deeply-loving soul and spirit; just as a part of him as the character he played.
And with his set, the intimate setting of just a couple hundred gathered in close. Every hand rose in the air when he beckoned it, and we were taken into an escape of laughter and joy, singing along to every word of his. He took time in between each track to talk about each song’s message and meaning to him, personally; along with personal details of his life as he wrote each piece. We heard details from his four month long excursion in Russia, where he admitted he was treated like royalty and that he seemed to have found another home.
It wasn’t just this performance that was close to home. Oliver Tree is celebrating six months sober; and mourning the loss of a friend he had invited to be a part of the crowd. And with it his heart opened wide to the community. The show itself, in partnership with 101.7’s The Beach, gave all the cash and food donations to Santa Cruz’s The Homeless Garden. With it, each person made a difference in the community, even for just a short while.
It’s a beautiful world. We need to do everything we can to make it more beautiful for everyone around us.
~ Oliver Tree