Canadian Country Music Association Award winner, Bobby Wills, is no stranger to a hit song and has been charting in his native country for several years. While somebody with such success would usually tell a tale of a musical childhood and the recognition of a dream from the time he/she could walk, Bobby’s story couldn’t be any more opposite.
While he loved music his whole life, it wasn’t until he was backpacking in Australia after high school and was bet by a friend (for a whopping $20) that he wouldn’t get on the stage and sing in a bar. A few minutes later, and twenty bucks richer, Bobby was overcome with passion for something he never even considered as a career path. He picked up a guitar and started touring around Canada and playing bars. His first paying gig took place in a bar that can best be described as “so bad,” but it was there that he realized this was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
I discovered that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and it was because of how bad the venue was. . . . You know the venue was so bad and I was still happy. So, I thought “if my parents could see my right now, they’d die,” . . . but for me it was just a chance to get to play and sing.
Traveling to and from Nashville, Bobby also began to dabble in songwriting. In creating his own music, he developed a sound that he calls “traditional” with a touch of R&B and rock, enveloping the diversity that he hoped to achieve with his original work. In finding that unique blend, Bobby sought inspiration from those who he has always turned to musically — Garth Brooks and Keith Whitley.
If you can feel a song as well as hear it, that’s a winner for me. Both those guys have that ability to really emote, and whatever they were saying, I really felt it. And that’s music. That’s what it should be.
Inspired by these two greats, while also firmly having a grasp of the type of artist he wanted to be, Bobby released albums in 2010 and 2012. Man with No Past, his debut album, garnered four singles, while If it Was That Easy resulted in the release of four more (including three Top 25 tracks). Now, Bobby is working toward the American release of his third album, Crazy Enough, which became available in Canada in June 2014.
“Crazy Enough” is the most diverse record we’ve ever put out, sounds-wise. We really wanted to stretch . . . we wanted to make sure that we let the music do some other things, because my thing will come up country, it’s what I do. You know, we were really able to stretch this. We have some rocking stuff on there. The track that’s currently be pushed at radio now, “Never Didn’t Love You,” and that’s kind of pop more than anything. So, it’s a very diverse record and there’s stone cold country stuff on there too. So I’m very proud of the diversity of it.
“Never Didn’t Love You” was released as a soft release before Christmas and was then serviced to everybody, with a video, in January. Bobby expressed his excitement regarding the American reception, explaining that Great American Country even added his video the very first day it was provided to them.
It’s climbing the Music Row chart and getting some love from some of the big guys, so we’re hopeful that’ll continue!
While the success of a single and the response from fans and peers is something Bobby truly values, what brings him the most joy is simply being able to play music.
I just get to play music, so I feel like I’m already winning.
And, when it comes to his music, Bobby wants to make sure people understand just how much of himself he pours into his craft.
I wear my heart on my sleeve, so when you listen to the record, it’s all . . . I wrote all the songs on the record with a couple of buddies and a friend of ours and the songs are real and they’re about things I really experienced. I hope that, for that reason, people take to it, because it’s just real and it’s who I am. If you listen to the record, you can figure out who I am pretty quick.
If you want to learn more about Bobby, you can listen to Crazy Enough, as well as check out his website, Twitter, and Facebook. What I can tell you right off the bat is that he does, in fact, say “eh?” and when he’s in Nashville, he uses the hodgepodge term “y’all eh?”
Thank you to Bobby for taking time to introduce himself to our Country Music #CMchat community. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for this wonderful “Canashvillian”!