Outer Banks native Graham Outten was born to sing. If you don’t believe it, Outten says you can ask the medical staff who were in the delivery room the day he entered the world.
“I have been singing literally since the day I was born,” says Outten, who studied voice in high school and went on to study vocal performance at Louisburg College and later at UNC Charlotte. “Even the nurses said that it sound like my crying was singing.”
Outten’s favorite instrument are his finely tuned and classically trained vocal chords, but he can also make beautiful music on an acoustic guitar, piano and harmonica.
“Primarily, I am a vocalist, but I dabble in some other stuff, as well. Acoustic guitar is my go-to instrument; started playing that when I was 18 and haven’t stopped since.”
He says as his musical taste leaned toward the blues, “I decided to pick up the harmonica and found that playing that instrument came very natural to me. I’ve been playing for about two years and absolutely love it; such a cool sound. I also dabble a bit on the piano and hand drums. But my true passion is singing.”
He has performed with the North Carolina Symphony in Raleigh, but the says here’s no one he’d rather make music with than his Outer Banks tribe — the close cadre of local musicians who are a united Band of Brothers and Sisters.
“What I truly love down here are my fellow musicians. Coming from a classical training at UNC Charlotte, I noticed that with my fellow classmates, there was always this unspoken competition between us, all which can be disheartening and stressful,” says Outten, who has been a full-time musician for four years. “Upon moving back and getting into the local music scene down here, I noticed that that competitiveness was out the window. All the musicians down here are in a very tight knit group; we kind of all just ‘get it’ when it comes to making yourself a success down here. It’s been a dream come true to call all of these musical colleagues ‘friends.’”
In addition to performing as a solo artist, Outten is on lead vocals and harmonica with The Ramble, a 6-piece band he formed that also includes Myles “Paws” Wood behind the drum kit, Patrick Wayne Goller on guitar, Burley Daniels on guitar, banjo and vocals, Andy “Ralph the Dog” Begina on bass and vocals, Chris Sawin on keyboard, piano and vocals, each of whom he “absolutely loves.”
“The Ramble is a crazy roller coaster of an experience. Up until this point, I hadn’t had a lot of experience in a band, so it took some adjusting to figure out the how to work as a team and write music together, but it seems to be working. We have just finished our first album that will be released sometime in the next month or so, and we have also had some incredible opportunities to perform, from playing the Mustang Spring Jam to opening up for TR3, both of which I’m still coming down from my adrenaline rush.”
Outten works a “9 to 5 job” as a vacation planner for Atlantic Realty, which offers a 40 percent discount on Acoustic Nights by Graham Outten — which includes a live performance by Outten — to clients who have a special event planned during their Outer Banks. “It can get a little tiring at times, and I’m sure my girlfriend wants to strangle me because sometimes we don’t see each other for a week because of my schedule,” he says. “But in the long run, these are the dues I have to pay in order to make our music a success, and my loved ones fully understand and support that.”