Performing an incredible 200 dates a year, the next superstar of adult contemporary pop and world music all but dares you not to tap your toes, sing along gleefully and smile, like a kid at Christmas. He's doing it. And it's the real deal. Often likened to a hybrid of George Benson and Bobby McFerrin, Steve revels in sharing the joy of what he does best -celebrating life and music.
In all of this is brought to you by the power of Positive Energy, his honest to God, bright side of the street approach to life and just coincidentally, the title of his hit 2002 album, which hit the Billboard Top 20 and ranked #1 on the year end list of the fifty most played recordings throughout Canada in 2003, according to smoothjazzcanada.com. That means topping legends like David Sanborn, Steely Dan and Michael McDonald-and a lot of happy go lucky folks north of the border whistling along with the catchy single "High Noon," which also reached #3 on the Radio & Records smooth jazz airplay chart in the U.S. and was one of the most played songs of the year in the format. All on an indie label and without any type of major corporate marketing push! The music is just that good. The folks who organize the National Smooth Jazz Awards took notice too, nominating the guitar and vocal sensation for Best New Artist and Best Guitar Player for 2003.
His hit 1999 debut First View was nominated for an AFIM (Association for Independent Music) Award along with albums by Nelson Rangell and Chuck Loeb for best smooth jazz recording of 1999. The album scored three hit radio singles, hit the Top 20 on the Gavin and Radio & Records airplay charts and earned Oliver the distinction of "Debut Artist of the Year" from the national publication Smooth Jazz News.
While he's toured and performed with an exciting list of genre stars and legends Chris Botti, Rippingtons, Michael Franks, Kyle Eastwood, Fourplay--it was Steve's high profile role in Steve Reid's band that finally gave him the opportunity to emerge as a budding instrumental star. More than simply the lead guitarist, he became a true partner of Reid's shortly after joining the band in 1996, writing nine songs on the Mysteries album and three on Bamboo Forest's new Passion In Paradise.
Growing up in Walnut Creek, California, his love for so many different styles and worship of every guitarist from Santana to Pat Metheny made every path an early possibility. "In high school, I was playing in progressive rock bands in the style of Yes and Genesis, and trying to imitate the way they could so easily blend rock, classical and even a little jazz into the mix," he recalls. "In 1988, I was in an eclectic band called Fragile Glass that toured with Eric Johnson and recorded a CD. Looking back, it's as though I had to go through a lot of phases to discover my true voice.