Meet Baltimore-based alternative rock and pop artist, Will Sims, creates themes that focus strongly on both romantic and social relationships, and the difficulties faced in our modern society. His rich, powerful music reaches out to connect on a personal level while still maintaining infectious components that make his songs stick in your head. Read more here:
Lisa: Hi Will! Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Will: I started listening to music a lot in Elementary School. For my fifth grade talent show I sang along to karaoke version of ‘Iris’ by The Goo Goo Dolls. I had no idea what I was doing and I know there’s video footage out there somewhere of it (which I must find and destroy.) Growing up I used to sing in the basement while I would do chores and I’m sure it drove my family crazy. But it wasn’t until my senior year that I picked up a guitar and started practicing religiously. I taught myself with the help of a few books as I was never a fan of lessons, they always wanted to start from scratch with what they thought was important. I just wanted to play music.
After I graduated in 2007 I got my first job working in a bakery at a warehouse club. It wasn’t til early 2008 that I thought about starting a band. I thought I would just play guitar, but when I finally got a group of people together, we needed to figure out who could sing the best. So we decided to take turns singing to determine who would/could fill the roll. I went first and sang a little bit of a song and everyone decided that I was the one for the job (without anyone else even attempting it.) But once it was decided I really tried to give it my all.
Lisa: I loved your single “Amber Eyes.” What inspired you to write it?
Will: A girl, of course. It was one of those times I met someone and knew I probably never had a shot but was infatuated anyways. The song is about the excitement you feel when you first meet someone that really gets your heart pounding.
Lisa: You say it was inspired by INXS, and David Bowie’s Let’s Dance record. How much are you influenced by these artists?
Will: I love a lot of songs by both acts. Originally the song had a little bit of a darker vibe but then my producer helped take it in a fun direction. The groove and attitude of the song really reminds me of songs like ‘Need You Tonight’ and ‘Let’s Dance.’
Lisa: What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career?
Will: Probably how difficult it is to make it a career. I’m not a prodigy when it comes to playing music in any regard. But I hope that my songs can find and connect with people on a level that the songs I listened to growing up connected with me. The hardest thing is reaching that audience. On a positive note, I’m always surprised by the level of excitement I receive when people hear me play, whether it’s with a band or solo with an acoustic guitar. I always try to put my heart and soul into it and never treat a gig like it’s not worth my time.
Lisa: What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Will: Like a lot of up and coming artists, I also have a day job that takes up a good bit of my time. Finding the balance of time and finances to keep things moving is always the biggest challenge, but I’m willing to do it whether it equals to the smallest or biggest success.
Lisa: What is your favorite song you’ve written so far and why?
Will: The interesting thing about writing music is your favorite song is always changing. When I was working on my first record ‘May Never Be Forgotten,’ ‘Will You Remember?’ was always my favorite song. When I was working on my album ‘Lovesick,’ my favorite song became ‘Our World is on Fire.’ There’s other songs I’ve recorded now that are now my favorites but I don’t want to spoil the surprise of those songs just yet.
Lisa: Do you enjoy recording and production? Where was your last song recorded?
Will: I love the recording and production process. I have approached songs a lot of different ways that offer challenges to the producers and myself. Sometimes I come in with a basic idea and the producers help me turn it into something amazing. Other times I come in with a very specific idea that I want to create and they help me bring it to life exactly how I envisioned it.
My most recent single ‘Everything Will Work Out’ was recorded at Evermore Sound in Orlando, FL. I was in town for a work event, and decided to use my days off to hit up some local recording studios and see what I came out with. We did do some additional work to it after that session but it was still an exciting adventure that was a great experience.
Lisa: How do you go about writing a song? Do you have a melody in your head and then write the other music for it?
Will: I am lucky that I have been able to write songs in a lot of different ways. Sometimes I get the vocal melody and words in my head and build the music around that. Sometimes I get a musical idea that I work on then add lyrics to later. In some cases I’ve had a fellow musician bring me a musical idea that’s finished and I develop lyrics and melody to it after the fact. There’s no real way I prefer more than the other.
Lisa: What is your biggest musical challenge?
Will: Musically, I always wish I could play more instruments fluently. My strength is playing rhythm guitar and singing. While I can play drums, bass, and piano, I don’t do any of them well enough to justify doing them myself in the studio. I know so many talented musician though that it really is a joy to call up friends and see what they bring to the table.
Lisa: Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Will: I’ve never worked with anyone I absolutely dreaded. I would work with almost anyone I’ve worked with since starting out. I usually bring people in based on the idea I’m working on and who I think would help bring the song to life.
One of my main producers Tony Correlli is one of the best musicians and writers I’ve ever worked with. Band mates and collaborators such as Joe Ruggiero, Patrick Sise, and Jeff Gardner have all brought great parts to every song they’ve worked on. There’s so many to name but those are some of my go-to guys.
Lisa: What can we expect from your upcoming album?
Will: My next album is going to be called ‘Myeras,’ and will feature some heavier songs than I’ve released as a solo artist. I would describe most of the songs as Hard Rock and there’s some songs on there that I’m so proud of that I can’t wait for the world to hear.
Lisa: At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
Will: Songs can hit in a lot of different ways. I hope people can connect with some songs in a way that is cathartic and healing. Some songs I hope they rock out to and it helps them through the day. Some songs I hope will help them chill out at the end of a long day. And every now and then I hope they indulge me in my journey to keep making what feels right to me in the moment.
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