London singer-songwriter, musician and comedian (1947)
Born in Carshalton, Surrey, he has lived in Notting Hill since he was 5 years old, holds a degree in philosophy from the University of Kent at Canterbury (1968) and worked as a schoolmaster for 11 years before going ‘full time’.
He was signed to the same company as The Beatles in 1966 and recorded his first single at Abbey Road in 1967. Some of his songs were covered during the 60s by Cilla Black, Georgie Fame and Helen Shapiro, the latter recording now popular within the world of Northern Soul.
During the 70s, Okin started to perform as support act in large venues, beginning with Folk acts such as Ralph McTell and Fairport Convention, he progressed to open for such varied performers as Jean-Luc Ponty and Van Morrison. However, it was the 1979 tour with Paul McCartney and Wings which prompted him to go ‘full time’. He also began to perform in jazz festivals.
In 1981, he appeared on The Parkinson Show and also, due to the comedy that Okin used in his Folk club act, was invited by Nigel Planer to perform at The Comic Strip. This led to his second career on the ‘alternative comedy’ circuit where he remains a headline act. However, his act continues to be a musical one. He has never performed stand-up.
In 1983, he also began to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe where he performed over 500 shows but has never neglected either his songwriting or development as a Jazz singer/musician, with a special extra interest in the Brazilian music known as Bossa Nova. He gives concerts in Brazil from time to time, as well as touring his one-man show, a mixture of music and comedy, literally worldwide.
He performs on TV in several countries, but especially Brazil, Australia and Germany. He has also performed at just about every major venue in London from the Royal Albert and Festival Halls to The Palladium and Wembley Arena, etc.
Apart from self-published LPs, he has had CDs issued by the Bertelsmann Music Group in Germany and Austria and Sony in the UK. He is currently unsigned, but has completed two CDs, one of Jazz and Bossa Nova, ‘Bossa Britanica’ and, more recently, using modern technology, a CD of his songs in various genres called, after the recording studio, ‘Songs From A Garden Shed’.
His most recent trip found him performing in New York at Birdland, The Apollo and other Jazz venues, but, not forgetting his comedy side, also at Caroline’s.