In order to put a name to WiL’s 5th studio album, he needed to find the right word or phrase to adequately describe his life’s journey since his days of playing covers. After all, this recording would be the sum of all parts since delving into music as his life purpose. Before that, he had been a very bad waiter and a chalkboard artist but, after a colossal break-in of his Vancouver apartment, decided to move back to Calgary. Soon after, an impromptu one-song performance at The Barley Mill led to a six year run playing cover tunes and a reputation as “that solo guy who breaks strings and packs bars.”
Realizing this was no way to make a career for himself, WiL used the skills he had learned playing covers to write eight songs which became his first album, Both Hands. The album led to a deal with EMI, three Western Canadian Music Awards, and a string of tour dates all over Canada and the US, touring with bands like Colin James, Xavier Rudd, Gomez, and Matthew Good.
In 2007, just after the release of the sophomore album, By December, EMI drastically downsized leading to an amicable parting of ways. The news may have crushed the hopes of many an aspiring musician but being the solo troubadour he started out as, WiL took the news rather well and decided to spend the next few years honing his skills as a performer and songwriter, releasing two more independent albums in the process and touring whenever possible.
By July of 2013, WiL had several new songs at the ready including Roam, which featured in the flagship video for Travel Alberta’s award-winning ad campaign called ‘Remember To Breathe’ with over 3 million views on YouTube. With a desire to produce the album himself, WiL enlisted the aide of studio engineer, multi-instrumentalist and owner of Poplar Sound Studio, Jayme Langen. They recorded the track, Hold Me On, in a 3-day recording session that cemented their collective wish to forge ahead.
The only thing left to do was find the funds to record the rest of the album, which was achieved using a crowd-funding platform called FANPUSH. WiL’s legion of devoted fans met and exceeded his funding goal in a matter of days, leaving WiL both humbled and inspired to write a few more songs, eventually settling on 11 tracks, all told. “These songs just came pouring out of me; they are some of the best I feel I have ever written to date and am so grateful that I am now able to record these songs and put the best of what we got on the new record,” says WiL.
“Labour of love? Yes, absolutely, and I’m proud of the outcome. Like my career there’s no certainty; of fame, of money, of anything really – I’m just in it for the ride (with my gal, of course). It’s bloody scary and thrilling, dark and bright, wondrous and wicked. It's a roller coaster ride. That’s why this album is called El Paseo – it means ‘The Ride’ in Spanish.”
El Paseo will be released September 30, 2014 through Cordova Bay Records.