Kaiís musical and writing career began at an early age.
Christopher Kai Olsson was born in Wallasey, Cheshire on August 21st 1953, the middle son in a family of five boys. Kai's brother Nigel is best known as the drummer of the Elton John Band, but it was Kai's eldest brother, Elwin, who originally awakened his interest in music at the age of fifteen when he showed Kai three chords on the guitar.
While attending Thornhill Comprehensive School, Kai and schoolmates Steve Sproxton and Dave Young would get together at each otherís homes to write songs. They formed a band ĎDusty Rhodesí with another schoolmate, Brian Short, who joined the group as a singer. Or, as Kai says, Ďat least he tried.í (Love ya Brian!) The boys did some work for BBC local radio and played a pub called the Black Bull.
In 1971 they met Dave Stewart from locally known duo Stewart & [Brian] Harrison, who suggested they join up together. The band Longdancer was formed with members Brian Harrison, Dave Stewart, Steve Sproxton and Kai (Brian Short and Dave Young by now having gone their separate waysalthough still close friends of Kaiís to this day). Longdancer made their debut at the George and Dragon, a Sunderland pub, on 5th November 1971.
Lionel Conway, head of Island Publishing, became interested in the group after hearing about them from Kaiís brother Nigel. (Nigel had been the drummer for the group Plastic Penny, whom Conway had managed.) Longdancer auditioned for Conway in his London office, and he had them do a demo in late 1971. Conway wanted to contract the band to Island Records, but Elton John heard the demo and had them signed to his new label, Rocket Records.
Longdancer went into the studio to record their debut album in the summer of 1972. They also did session work as backing vocalists on Marc Ellingtonís album Restoration which was released the same year. In February 1973 the band joined the Elton John tour as his support act in England, and proceeded to open for him in France and Italy in the spring of í73.
Their debut album If It Was So Simple was released 13 April 1973 and was critically well-received. The single "If It Was So Simple" by Brian Harrison was backed with Kaiís song "Silent Emotions." Kai had 4 of his songs on the album (all of the members wrote and contributed songs).
The group can be seen singing backup for Elton in Bryan Forbesí documentary Elton John and Bernie Taupin Say Goodbye to Norma Jean, and Other Things, filmed in 1973. This documentary came to American television in May 1974.
Kai left Longdancer in 1973 owing to musical differences with Dave Stewart, who wanted the band to move from their acoustical folk roots and introduce electric guitars into the mix. Kai soon signed a recording contract with EMI Records as a solo artist in November 1975, and released his first album Once In a While. The majority of the album was produced by David Hentschel with top British session musicians at Starling Studios in Ascot, Ringo Starrís home studio. Kai also worked with American producer Chuck Plotkin in Los Angeles on the track "Is It Love," employing Plotkinís group Orleans as backing musicians.
Kai signed with Chrysalis Records in September 1978. His second album Crazy Love was released in the United Kingdom in 1979. Two singles were released from the album: "Living in Your Heart" and "Gloria Plays," which was called "Gloria Trail" on the album. Music from this album can be heard in the movie Porridge, a classic English film shown every year during the holidays on British television. Royalties are still pouring in!
Kai traveled to the United States in 1979 to arrange a deal to have his album released there. When Kai arrived at the Chrysalis offices in Los Angeles, he was told they didnít feel the album was right for the U.S. market at that time.
In August of 1979 Kai went to Atlanta to visit with his brothers Nigel and Carl. Among the many people Kai met during that fateful trip were friends of Carlís, the band Magic Cat: Tommy Strain, Ron Norris, Sloan Hayes, Barry Dunaway, and David Cole. The band was headed to St. Augustine Florida and asked Kai to go along. Kai played between Magic Cat's sets at the historic restaurant/pub The White Lion. It was here that Sloan introduced Kai to his future wife, Mary.
And the rest, as they say, is history!!
Kai is currently living in the U.S. in a Boston suburb with Mary and their 3 young children, playing local gigs. In August of 2004 Kai released his CD THEN AND AGAIN, a compilation of original music that spans his career. Please see the link for more information on THEN AND AGAIN.
Additional projects are planned for the near future.
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