Ben Ottewell

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Ben Ottewell
Ben Ottewell at the TLA (Theater of Living Arts) in Philadelphia.jpg
Background information
Birth name Benjamin Joseph Ottewell
Born (1976-06-23) 23 June 1976 (age 40)[1]
Chesterfield, England[2]
Origin Bonsall, Derbyshire[3]
Genres Indie, alternative rock, folk, folk rock
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Labels ATO,[4] MapleMusic Recordings (Canada)
Associated acts Gomez

Benjamin Joseph "Ben" Ottewell (born 23 June 1976) is an English singer-songwriter. He is one of the three lead singers of the English indie rock band Gomez. He was the recipient of the Mercury Music Award Prize in 1998, and is well known for his "deep, raspy voice"[5] and "gravelly baritone".[6] In 2011, Ottewell embarked upon a solo-project, with the debut album Shapes & Shadows.[6]


Ottewell came into contact with Ian Ball (vocals, guitar) while the two were studying law at Sheffield University.[7] Ball was impressed by Ben's big voice, and along with Tom Gray (vocals, guitar, keyboard), Paul Blackburn (bass), and Olly Peacock (drums, synths, computers), they formed the band Gomez. Ottewell's deep, soulful voice has gained him some acclaim and has drawn some comparisons to Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and artist Tom Waits,[8][9][10][11] and his lyrical style, and acoustical arrangements, especially in his solo work, have drawn comparisons to folk singer Nick Drake.[12]

Shapes & Shadows[edit]

Ben Ottewell's first solo album, Shapes & Shadows, is not a huge departure from his material with Gomez, but it has its differences. It is more low-key, melancholy, and acoustic driven than Gomez.[13] One music critic says "lyrically and thematically, Shapes and Shadows (the album) is a very thoughtful and mature recording, as if Ottewell is taking issues of love and relationships discussed in Gomez's back catalogue to another, more mature level".[14]


In an interview with Guitar World,[15] Ben revealed "When it came to writing for Rattlebag I started afresh and all the songs were written specifically with the album in mind over a 12-month period, perhaps making the album a little more cohesive. I'm a great believer in the power of the riff, not just in the bombastic Zeppelin sense but also the more cyclical blues or folk licks, and most of the songs are written with a riff as the foundation. Once these ideas were formed, some as just a verse, some almost full songs, I'd take them to Sam [his writing partner, Sam Genders, formerly of English folk band Tunng, now of Diagrams] and we'd finish them. The recording took 5 days in Los Angeles with producer Will Golden, the other key ingredient. We got in some great players and Clay Blair who is a fantastic engineer. It's the most fun I've had in a studio since those early Gomez records." Ben turned to his fanbase to crowdfund the album via Indiegogo.

Personal life[edit]

Ottewell was born in Chesterfield and raised in nearby Bonsall, Derbyshire, attending Highfields School in Matlock.[2] He currently resides in Brighton, East Sussex, in England. He is married, and is a father of twin boys and one girl.[3]


Studio albums[edit]

  • Shapes & Shadows, 2011[16]
  • Rattlebag, 2014 © Tarka Records[17]

Gomez discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Peak Chart Position Certifications
(sales thresholds)
US Heat US Indie
1998 Bring It On
  • Released: 13 April 1998
  • Label: Hut / Virgin
1999 Liquid Skin
  • Released: 13 September 1999
  • Label: Hut / Virgin
2 9 49 40 19 30
2002 In Our Gun
  • Released: 18 March 2002
  • Label: Hut / Virgin
8 5 13 37
2004 Split the Difference
  • Released: 17 May 2004
  • Label: Hut / Virgin
35 24 39 191 11
2006 How We Operate 69 37 106 1 7
2009 A New Tide
  • Released: 30 March 2009
  • Label: ATO, Eat Sleep
63 40 60 5
2011 Whatever's on Your Mind
  • Released: 6 June 2011
  • Label: ATO, Eat Sleep
65 81 11


  1. ^ "Ben Ottewell". AOL Inc. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b Ben's finally bringing it on. This Is Derbyshire. 18 June 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Ben Ottewell: A Familiar Voice, On Its Own". NPR. 2012. 
  4. ^ "ATO Records: Shapes and Shadows". ATO Records. 2010. 
  5. ^ "Music of Neil Young at Carnegie Hall: Ben Ottewell". Michael Dorf. 2010. Archived from the original on 17 September 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Interactive Interview: Ben Ottewell of Gomez on Going Solo". Flavorpill Productions, LLC. 2011. 
  7. ^ "Gomez Music Bio". Music Entertainment Network. 2005. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Ben Ottewell: Shapes & Shadows (ATO Records)". Spike Magazine. 2011. 
  9. ^ "Gomez Album Reviews". sfloman. 
  10. ^ "The Felice Brothers, 2008". 2011. 
  11. ^ "Gomez – Whatever's on Your Mind". Playground Misnomer. 2011. 
  12. ^ "iTunes Preview: Shapes & Shadows". Apple Inc. 2011. 
  13. ^ "". PreMac Inc. 2011. 
  14. ^ "Ben Ottewell – Shapes & Shadow (Album)". 2011. Archived from the original on 10 March 2011. 
  15. ^ "Guitar World". 
  16. ^ "Ben Ottewell". 
  17. ^ "Ben Ottewell". 
  18. ^ "UK Chartlog". Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  19. ^ "UK Chartstats". Archived from the original on 16 August 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  20. ^ "Australian album positions". Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2009. 
  21. ^ "Canadian album positions". RPM. Retrieved 14 January 2009. 
  22. ^ "New Zealand album positions". Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2009. 
  23. ^ "Norwegian album positions". Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2009. 
  24. ^ "US Positions". Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  25. ^ "Bring It On British sales certification". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 18 January 2009. [dead link]
  26. ^ "Liquid Skin British sales certification". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 18 January 2009. [dead link]
  27. ^ "In Our Gun British sales certification". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 18 January 2009. [dead link]