A young British singer song writer with the support and backing of some of the most acclaimed artists, Matt Wills is making waves in the music industry.
With the success of his recent headline shows, the release of his debut album and a string of sensational festival sets this summer, Wills is continuing to prove his place across the scene. I caught up with him to see how it is all going for him:
When did you love for music start? My family are all big music heads and my dad used to be a DJ so every day he and my mum would drive me to school and hand me this big case of Cds and cassettes and teach me about their favourite songs and I just became obsessed. I always wanted to make music from that and then when i realised as a teenager that through music I could say all the things I was to shy or nervous to a actually say I fell in love with that freedom.
When did you know that you wanted to make this a career? It was when I was at school and I used to always play gigs and everyone else I was gigging with was getting ready to go uni and get there back up plan in place. I was just like fuck that I don’t want a back up plan. I want to make music for a living, there’s no other option. Looking back I’m really lucky it has all worked out.
Who are your main music influences? It varies day to day. I really love the songwriting from the 80s and 70s so like Tears for Fears, Hall and Oates etc
You have been through quite a lot and experienced more than most your age, how do you think this influences or impacts the songs you write and the music you make? I’m thankful for every mistake and fuck up I’ve ever made. I think its made me more vocal about my problems and its made the songs a lot more truthful.
What made you take the plunge to move to London knowing that you didnt have any where to live? It was kinda my only option. My parents had lost their house and it was like either stay in kent and get a job or take my guitar and make one. I’m glad I did it.
Bastille are one of my all time favourite bands and they have had a phenomenal couple of years, how was it on tour with them? It was an unreal experience and they taught me more than anyone else I’ve ever toured with. I’m a still a kid at heart so I mess around and like to go a bit crazy sometimes and they just showed me a level of professionalism whilst also still having fun. I’m mad thankful to them because I’ve seen parts of the world that I would never have had the chance otherwise to see and I’ve always loved their music so every night getting to watch their show was vibe.
Did you learn anything about the industry when you were with them that you didn’t know before? The most successful people in the industry are the nicest. Also how to hold a crowd and perform. My biggest show prior to that was like 5k , these were arena shows to 10k and it really teaches you a lot about yourself as an artist and how much harder you should be working to get to that level.
You have an incredible talent for song writing, what gives you inspiration for great lyrics? I always sit and kind of jam out my lyrics. I never write them down until I’ve finished because I feel like if I just kind sing it off the top of my head and freestyle it, I’ll be talking about what my heart really wants me to talk about
Cigarettes and City lights is out to buy now, how does that make you feel? Its kinda crazy and to have my debut album out is just fucking blowing my mind. I never dreamt to have a single out or to have anything more than a soundclound link and youtube video. Now my debuts album and yeah its crazy. Its been an amazing year
Where did the album title come from? It was from when I first started writing music. My friends and teachers at school were like all you write about is cigarettes and city lights and its just stuck since then 10 years on
You have been writing for a long while now, how did you manage to choose just 14 tracks to appear on your debut album?It just became like natural selection. I had a little playlist on my phone for the past 4 years titled cigarette and city lights and everytime I wrote a song that I thought was dope I would put it on that playlist. I had only 14 spaces so each time a new one went in another one would have to leave. It made you realise which tracks you really loved.
Do you enlist the help of others to assist you in choosing? Me and Chris Bond (the producer) did sit and do a final check and work out the perfect order but no one else.
Do you have a favourite track and if so, what makes it so special? Warn you. I wrote it after a girl dumped me and told me to get a real job. At the time I was still broke and homeless so to end up getting on my debut was a special moment.
How long did it take you to make this album? To me I feel like I’ve always been making this album and I still am.
You are playing a few festivals this summer including Victorious Festival in August, are you looking forward to these sets? What do you like best about the festival sets? I love festivals because theres a mix of fans and people who have never heard me before. And I get to do the same after my shows hang out with friends and fans and go discover some more new music
As you know, I was at your headline show at Omeara and I thought it was sensational, how did it feel being up there on the stage in front of a room of people all there to see you? I always love the headlines and I love the fact that every show the crowd grows bigger and stronger. I still cry like a baby when I hear people sing my songs back at me
Will there be a tour coming up? yup. Where will I be going? I don’t know. When? I don’t know. But it’s happening.
Matt will be at Victorious Festival this August Bank- https://www.victoriousfestival.co.uk/buy-tickets/
CIGARETTES AND CITY LIGHTS IS OUT NOW https://mattwills.lnk.to/CACL