An acclaimed musician with a reputation for writing from the heart, Bobby Wills is best known for two things; his signature cowboy hat and a diverse musical personality — combining a classic country sound with a toe-tapping, dynamic twist. A consecutive 2013 - 2014 Canadian Country Music Association® (CCMA®) Male Artist of the Year nominee, and 2015 CCMA® Songwriter of the Year nominee (for the single “Never Didn’t Love You”), with the release of his third album Crazy Enough, Wills musically shifted gears, exploring a heavier country sound. The album features an array of tracks blending an intense mixture of rock-inspired country songs featuring an attack of the senses with fuller percussion and a bevy of string instruments, complemented by his signature melodic harmonies and intimate lyrical storytelling. In April 2015 he released his single, “So Much For Taking It Slow”, which quickly became the Mediabase #1 most added at Canadian country [radio] the week April 14, 2015. In January 2015 Bobby inked a new deal with American based, boutique full service record label Willing Nashville. In addition, he continued to tour throughout Canada including joining Chad Brownlee’s nationwide When The Lights Go Down Tour in March 2015, and a performance in his home province during the Calgary Stampede. Rounding out a jam-packed year, Wills released his latest single, “Won’t You Be Mine” to Canadian country radio in October 2015.
From the new 10-track album, the debut single “Crazy Enough” locked in as the Mediabase #1 most added at Country [radio] the week ending Feb. 4, 2014, and peaked at #13 on the BDS chart. Additionally, the video hit the Top 10 on CMT. Pushing the musical envelope, the featured track is a departure from his previous sound, introducing an edgier angle with greater instrumentation and party-anthem lyrics, “I don’t back up and I don’t back down...I’ve never been a play it safe kinda guy, so if you’re thinking about calling my bluff, I ain’t all the way crazy, just crazy enough.” The explosive single blends acoustic and electric guitars, paired with hefty drums.
Having spent countless hours in studio completing his new album over the last few years, Alberta native Wills was also the proud recipient of numerous additional accolades including winning the 2013 Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA®) awards Rising Star title, as well as successively taking home two Alberta Country Music Association (ACMA) Male Artist of the Year awards (2012 - 2013). In addition, he was the recipient of 2015 Western Canadian Music Award nomination for Country Album of the Year presented by Dauphins CountryFest (for his single “Crazy Enough”).
Collaborating once again with Walt Aldridge and Mike Pyle, on an annual writing trip to Galiano Island, British Columbia in the summer of 2012, the new album was conceived with an ocean view. Shares Wills, “I feel it is important to step away and focus when writing, clarity comes from such solitude and committed concentration. My music, I guess like most artists, is a true extension of myself, and telling such stories takes time. Creatively this is my most diverse record to date.” The trio also collaborated on the second single, “Never Didn’t Love You” which peaked at #11 on the BDS country spins chart, and as previously mentioned, has since received a 2015 CCMA® nomination. Bobby’s third single, co-written with Patricia Conroy, and produced by Michael Pyle, “Undressed” is a romantic ode to the sacred intimacy of enduring love and palpable passion. The single peaked at #13 on the BDS chart, and the respective video for the single was shot in the California dessert.
In contrast to the first single, “Something There” is a lyrical memory reflecting on the invisible connection between lost lovers and the release of “what-if’s” haunted with warm memories. Showcasing Wills’ signature vocals, the track highlights his new sound layering deep instrumentation with electric guitar solos and chorus filled harmonies. Shares Wills, “We all have that person that remains in our heart and mind long after a relationship has ended, this song explores such memories.” A fusion of sound for fans old and new, tracks “That’s Why I Pray” (celebrating protective familial love and faith) and “The End Of The Day” (a tribute to his wife and commitment to his family) harken back to Wills’ earlier work, lyrically inspired by the love of his family echoed through his enchanting deep voice.
A committed philanthropist, as part of the 2nd annual Oh Canada Cocktail Party to benefit the Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Wills performed during the 2014 Golden Globe® Awards weekend in Los Angeles on the stunning Roof Garden of the exclusive The Peninsula Beverly Hills. Human rights activist/producer/director Kweku Mandela, a grandson of the late South African activist and former president Nelson Mandela, joined actress/comedienne Catherine O’Hara and comedian/director David Steinberg on the host committee for the new national museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Wills will donate all proceeds from iTunes downloads worldwide (between January 2014 through December 2015) of his hit single “Show Some Respect”; 50% of the proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights and 50% will be donated to the Shoah Foundation.
A FACSCINATING JOURNEY TO A MUSICAL FUTURE...
Some people are born with a special talent, perhaps even a musical soul. Adopted as a baby to a family in Calgary, AB, no one knew what an impact his biological DNA would have on his life path. "My dad was a huge country music fan," he says of the man who raised him, "so that's where I get my love of it from, but no one ever played music in my family when I was growing up.”
Following a spontaneous dare while traveling in Australia, and an unexpected phone call, the course of Wills’ life would literally change forever. "We were at an open mic night and my buddy bet me $20 that I wouldn't get up and sing with the band, so I did," Wills says of the Australian trip. "I sang "The Dance" by Garth Brooks and there was a reaction from the crowd that I didn't anticipate. It was amazing. I'd always poked around music but I'd never put any real effort into it, so I started to learn to play guitar while I was over there."
Returning from his world travels, he received a call from the adoption registry learning his biological mother had registered to request contact (as had he), quickly resulting in their first meeting. Wills could not have anticipated the artistic genealogy he was about to discover, including five siblings and a musical streak a mile wide that ran throughout his biological family. "The first night I visited my biological father, we sat up all night listening to records. We both shared an affinity for a great lyric, and it was then that I realized 'this is real. This is in my blood. This isn't just a crazy dream I had; this is part of who I am.' It really crystallized for me then. This journey solidified my love of music and aspiring passion to pursue this love on a professional level.”
While he got to know his new family Wills also started pursuing music more seriously, performing at open mic nights, touring Canada playing country music in a bar band, and preparing to record demos in Toronto with Juno-nominated country artist Thomas Wade. In keeping with his commitment to playing and writing country music he started splitting time between (his home base) Calgary and Nashville. Falling in love with music, he invested years in perfecting his craft and released his debut album Man With No Past in 2010. He also received wide acclaim throughout the 2013 country music awards season with the release of his second album If It Was That Easy (2012); an album which included two top 10 hits, CCMA® Single of the Year nominated “Show Some Respect” (which peaked at #8 on the BDS charts) and “Somebody Will” (which peaked at #9 on the BDS charts).
Who is Bobby Wills - what would you ask if you could?
When I grow up I think Im going to be a race car driver #StillDeciding