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Be inspired every day with Living North
September 2021
Reading time 5 minutes

Ahead of their next performance and new album, we catch up with North East duo JustSO

David Stanyer and Olivia Morley, aka JustSO, have been performing across the region for the past five years, dabbling in country, rock, pop and indie music.

Tell us a bit about yourselves.

We formed JustSO back in 2015. We were both at a point where we wanted to move on from doing solo work and a mutual friend suggested we collaborate. We not only became great friends, but really encouraged each other musically. We have been gigging together and writing music ever since.  

When/how did you get into music?

Olivia: I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, and I started teaching myself piano at 12. This encouraged me to start writing songs. I would go along to local buskers nights, which really helped me gain my confidence to start gigging.

David: My dad always loved music and played guitar. I followed suit and started playing in bands from a young age. Prior to JustSO, I was the former lead guitarist of North East band The Longsands. 

Who inspires you musically and why? 

We both have various musical inspirations. Olivia has always loved vocalists such as Whitney Houston and Beyoncé, and also loves Queen and Fleetwood Mac. David looks to classic guitarists such as Eric Clapton and B. B. King, as well as the Beatles and the Stones. We have both been very into country music lately and love artists such as Chris Stapleton, Luke Combs and Kacey Musgraves.

You’ll be revealing a number of songs from your forthcoming second album soon. What can you tell us about this album?

When writing our first album, we combined a lot of material that we had both written independently before starting the band. We are still so proud of how the album turned out, however this time around, we have been able to be together throughout the whole writing process and watch the songs develop. 

Where did your inspiration come from?

It’s always great to get to write songs that derive from your personal experiences and there are several new songs on the album which depict this. There are also songs we have written solely for the purpose of wanting to make people dance or to just tell a story. 

You’ve been performing across the region for the past five years. Where are your favourite places to perform?

We are based in Cramlington (David) and Whitley Bay (Olivia) and performing is our full-time job. Playing the covers circuit, we’ve played at many venues – singing in bars, clubs, restaurants and performing at weddings. Some of our favourite gigs have been with our full band performing our original material. In 2016 we made our first full band appearance at Northumberland Live festival in Blyth supporting Scouting for Girls in front of a record-breaking crowd and in 2019 we supported both Toyah Wilcox and Big Country at the O2 Academy, Newcastle. We also got the chance to perform on the main stage at the Hardwick Live Festival which was an amazing experience. 

What have you missed most about performing live?  

Throughout lockdown we managed to do some livestream gigs which were great to help boost morale and keep us motivated to rehearse. However, nothing beats watching people enjoy your music and being able to engage with your audience. After such a crazy year or so, it has been so amazing to get back to some of our regular venues and see familiar faces enjoying live music once again. 

How has the North influenced your music?

There are so many talented singers and performers in the North. Along with this, there is such a great support for live music. We are so grateful to live in a place so full of life and has so many passionate and friendly people, and it’s because of the great music scene in the North that we are able to continue to make a living doing what we love.

How do you spend your downtime?

We both enjoy spending time with friends and family. We are both big foodies and love to overindulge in great food too. We also love our dogs – anyone that follows us on social media will no doubt see plenty of dog spam. 

Hopes for the future?

We will be releasing our second album next year and can’t wait to play our new songs live. We really appreciate how fortunate we are to be able to do something we love for a living and we look forward to continuing to write music and perform.

See JustSO on Friday 24th September at Anarchy Brewery, where they will be performing some of their new songs from their second album alongside support bands Dawson & Dixon and Revolution One. Tickets are available from @JustSoMusic on Facebook or

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