He’s been likened to Leonard Cohen, Springsteen and Tom Waits in the UK, Waylon Jennings here in Australia, and in Germany, they said he could be their next Bob Dylan.
When you hear him sing with his unforgettably deep, soulful, gravelly voice mixed with a swag of blues, you would be forgiven for totally disbelieving that he once sang Opera. But it shows in the quality and presentation of this entertaining, highly acclaimed singer songwriter. Americana is his chosen field, still you cannot box this man and his music into one package.
Many people don’t know that Rory grew up in Melbourne’s shadowy underbelly, at one stage living on the streets, and sleeping on the sweaty floors of a boxing gym, working the doors of establishments that harboured some of Australia’s most hardened criminals and society’s most marginalised. During these years, he dodged the bullets, literally.
Starting his life as a musician, and taking a chance to tour overseas on a non-existent budget, Rory recalls one time sleeping in the crevice of a wall in England – the only accommodation on offer from the venue, catching buses and trains in unknown countries to get to his show, and remaining hopeful that a meal may be part of the rider. Another time, a stranger watched Rory perform at the Platform Tavern in Southampton in England, and approached him after the show. He asked Rory if he wanted to perform at his festival, and said “You look like crap” and gave him 400 quid, two nights in a Holiday Inn, and a prime spot playing with Eric Bibb.
“I remember arriving at this festival, exhausted. I laid on a wooden pallet to try to get an hours sleep. A festival worker woke me and said, are you Mr Ellis? He led me to a fancy portable room. In it was a wooden vanity with pink flowers in vases, a mirror with globes around it, and a bucket full of beer. It did cross my mind that perhaps I had passed in my sleep and this was heaven” Rory recalled with his signature contagious laugh.
It is these moments that feed into his songs. They speak of life’s toil and beauty, living the lyric and penning his journey. Self-taught, he possesses an innate sense of synergy between his voice and other instruments.
He is a master of his craft. Rory’s achievements didn’t spring from a well-oiled PR machine, rather, the culmination of over thirty years of honing an extraordinary gift.
After touring 7 countries, Rory returned to Australia, and has recorded 9 studio albums, to national and international acclaim. Adding a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Business to his belt, and 30+ years of song writing and performing at some of the world’s biggest festivals to audiences of thousands, Rory has played alongside artists such as Eric Bibb, Richie Havens, Robert Cray, Canned Heat, Charlie Musselwhite, Renee Geyer, Russell Morris, Brian Cadd, Diesel, The Black Sorrows and James Reyne.
Rory’s latest album, Inner Outlaw debuted in the Top 10 on the iTunes Chart, and TWICE featured in Rhythms Magazine’s Top 10 Albums of the Year. His singles released from the album, have charted in the Top 10 on Australian Country Music Charts, with a debut at #1 for Fadin’, Bitumen Cowboys #2, and more recently three NUMBER ONE chart positions, on both Australian and International Charts with his most recent single Invisible Arrows.
The Top 200 International Country Music Artists Chart placed him at #1 in 2020, and he was a Top Finalist in the World Song Writing Awards for Inner Outlaw, amassing thousands of Youtube views.
Recently, Rory received the ICMA Award for Single of the Year (Fadin’), and was Runner-up in Album of the Year (Inner Outlaw), Best Male Artist, and Best Music Video.
Gifted with a soul-wrenching voice praised by media worldwide, he’s lived every word delivered.
“THIS is a voice that is up there with the very best of them, including the US greats” Mike Brady AM
“Outstanding….Rory Ellis is a master story-teller that needs to be heard and respected for his incredible song writing and musicality craft, accompanied by a passionate voice that deserves your attention” David Prior ABC Sydney.